TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT

How to get a new web site ...

This BLOG is based on numerous conversations with people about their experiences in acquiring a web site.

Requirements First!

It is not a good idea to do a web site just because your competition has one - that may be a motivating factor, but it won't really yield much success. It is much more important for you to consider what the "site" or "web application" needs to do for you! Here are a few "rules" to follow before you start calling potential vendors about your site:

  1. Write down what the web site should "do" without using technology terms.
  2. Use ideas you see on other web sites, but be sure to apply those ideas to your needs.
  3. Think about your potential clients ... what will they be looking for when they come to your site.
  4. As for your home page ... consider this ... if you only have 10 seconds to tell a potential client what they need to know about you, what would you say?
  5. If one of your clients or potential client come to your site what questions might they want answered?
  6. How will people find out about your site?
  7. Can you break down the various requirements and prioritized them so that if money becomes an issue you know what you can live without.

By clearly mapping out your requirements it is far more likely that you won't be "sold" on a site that doesn't really meet your needs. It also allows you to clearly measure differences between vendors based on how they address your needs.

Ownership is Important

There are some things about a web site that you MUST handle yourself ... becasue it is your site. If you outsource these things the result will probably not be what you were hoping for.

  1. You should control all of your content - don't let someone else put words in your mouth.
  2. You need to register your own domain name - setup your own account with a registrar like GoDaddy.
  3. You need to have your own hosting account - you can't really do this until you select a developer because there may be requirements for the hosting company to meet based on the sites functionality.

A few things about vendors

Here are some things you should probably know about vendors and how they might impact your site. They are not all the same, and some will be better suited to help you with your needs.

  1. Designers - some vendors are excellent at design the work they do will be beautiful, but may not be very functional. On the up side your clients will be quite impressed with your site, but on the down site graphics don't do very well on search engines, and sometimes what your site does is more important that how it looks.
  2. Developers - Web developers are all about function, so your site will end up very functional, but it may not have the visual appeal you require.
  3. Template Sites and Content Managers - In order to provide sites at a VERY reasonable rate there are vendors that provide template sites and content managers. Basically what this means is you pick a pre-done design and then insert and manage your own content. On the up side this is an extremely inexpensive way to get a site which is great for some organizations. The down side is that in the fiercly competetive marketplace you may need to control the design as well as the content to make sure your site visitors stay with you
  4. SEO & SEM Vendors - these guys are really good at getting your site exposure on the internet through the various search engines. This one is tricky because your success with your site may depend on search engines, but a site optimized for search engines is probably not nearly as appealing to people. You also have to be careful because it is much easier in this field to make promises that can't be kept. (SEO - Search Engine Optimization, SEM - Search Engine Marketing)

Emmaus Road Productions is a group that focuses on Development and Design by having staff that have strengths in both. We really don't do any template sites, although we have recommended them numerous times because it was the best fit. As far as SEO we can help, but bear in mind that this can be a real "money pit" - so be careful!

Well that should help you get started on your pursuit of a good web site. I hope this helps ...

Recommendations

“Randy is very detail-oriented and pationate about his work. The products he has produced for my company have been second to none.” -Jason Biggs

 

“As a developer that constantly interacts with web services, Randy is an absolute dream to work with. He is the kind of guy that know the importance of each role and strives to work in a way that always benefits other members of the team. I would recommend Randy to anyone looking for an experienced .NET developer.”
Jacob Williams

 

“Randy Krueger, founder of Emmaus Road Productions, has always been and will continue to be HIWAAY's number one recommendation for companies that are looking for web site development, database applications and template site work. When I refer my clients to Randy, I can rest assured they are being handled in the utmost professional manner. Over the years, HIWAAY's customers have had nothing but glowing testimonials of the web site development and work flow process of Mr. Krueger and Emmaus Road Productions. I would not hesitate to send any business, small or large, to Randy and Emmaus.”
Ches Allen

 

“Randy is a very knowledgeable and effective developer and consultant, and I highly recommend his services. The icing on the cake is that he's also just a nice guy to be around. For me integrity and trust are the deciding factors for whom I choose to do business with. Randy has both of those covered.” -Shane Ellis

 

“I have worked with Randy in numerous web and software design applications. He is currently working on two projects with us now. (3/08) He brings tremendous knowledge and creativity to the table. Randy is one of the most reliable and easy to work with people in the field. He will stay after and issue until resolved and not just quick fix it. He is honest enough to tell you like it is, diligent enough to work through your project to help you know exactly what you need and want and then make it happen.”
Ken Headley