Although you know you need a Web site for your company, the economy
stinks and funds are tight. Really tight.
So I'm going to advise you to do something that may seem illogical:
Use a qualified, experienced pro to design your business site; this
will immediately save you time and effort. More importantly, in the not-so-long
run it's also going to save you money. An effective site pays for itself
within a very short time, even if it costs more upfront. A poorly-designed
one will simply eat up your money, and then virtually die.
One example: A site I proposed for a Jerusalem orthodontist was more
expensive than other bids. But shortly after launch, the completed
site already had good rankings in search engines. And visitors directed
the site were greeted with credible, easy-to-navigate. The result?
Within weeks of getting online, the clinic acquired a new patient --
out about it only because its site ranked well on Google. It doesn't
take many new patients to completely reimburse the owners for the cost
of their site; and then the site continues to work for you "for
Be aware that, willy-nilly, a site powerfully brands its organization
or company. Sites that look amateur send a clear message: "This company,
which can't afford professional design, has serious cash-flow issues." Probably
not the image you're trying to project to potential customers, clients
For a credible site that will quickly "earn its keep", contract
an experienced designer with a good portfolio and impeccable references.
Make sure that the designer is proficient in:
- Optimization for good ranking in search engines
- Accessibility for a wide variety of browsers and computers
- Site promotion, and, if required
- Logo design (for print as well as Web applications)
Also, ask the references about their experience with the designer's
development process. Was it:
- Completed on schedule and within the proposed budget?
- Did the designer offer constructive advice about aspects that might
not have been originally considered?
A designer who meets all these qualifications will not have bargain-basement
prices. So what? An effective site is among the most cost-effective methods
of business promotion. Compare the price to that of print ads, Yellow
Pages listings, or a direct-mail campaign.
A quality site can accomplish
far more over a longer period of time while reaching a much wider
sector of your target audience.
Also, calculate how much a hard-working site can immediately save you
in terms of wasted expenditures and time. Do you constantly field phone
calls requesting the same basic information? Put this info online. Do
you mail out reams of documents? Think of the savings on printing, postage
and time that could be obtained by offering these as downloads from your
What about site maintenance? Should you try to economize there by doing
updates yourself? Well, let me offer an analogy:
I'm probably capable of doing routine car tune-ups by myself. I have
access to Auto Depot, and am not mentally or physically handicapped.
So why do I contract a mechanic to do the work? Laziness? Fear of getting
STP oil in my hair? I have too much money and want to waste some?
No. I delegate this work -- to a qualified, experienced professional
-- because doing so saves me time and money. He completes the
work in a fraction of the amount of time, due to his experience and state-of-the-art
equipment and space. Even more importantly, while he attends to routine
matters he also trouble-shoots.
Example: During the last tune-up, he noticed an electronic problem that
would have prevented the airbag in the passenger seat from inflating
on impact. I would not have identified this problem myself, and certainly
wouldn't have been able to solve it. Yes, this added to the cost of the
tune-up; but it was a vital, lifesaving service, which was dealt with
immediately and competently. Excellent value for money.
In a similar way, letting your designer update your site can be worthwhile.
Okay, maintaining the site professionally is unlikely to save any
it can help prevent some common complications:
- "Breaking" the existing site
- Ruining the site's search engine rating via uninformed submission
- Investing so much time in mastering software that you neglect
your primary responsibility to the site, which you can't delegate
to a designer:
continually writing additional content that will benefit the
site's visitors, and maintain (or improve) the site's search engine
But if you're determined to do it yourself, here are a few tips:
- For sites that don't include Hebrew text, Macromedia's new program
called "Contribute" makes editing existing pages virtually foolproof,
and it costs less than $100.
- Exercise caution before using FrontPage to edit a site, unless
that is the program which was used to create it. Simply opening a
FrontPage can add to and alter the existing code, with unpredictable
- Back up the existing site on your own computer before attempting
to edit it!
- Err on the side of caution when trying to improve your search engine
rankings. Over-zealousness can work against you or even result
in having your site banned.
Bottom line, you need to budget wisely. So ensure that your hard-earned
money and valuable time are invested in a site that will really benefit
-- and certainly not harm! -- your company or organization.