Your Website: Are you being penny wise and pound foolish?

A Common Website Mistake

Website - Penny wise

This is often the case when it comes to a sales or service professional website.

Let me share a recent story with you.

It’s a story that almost any sales or service professional can relate to.

A couple of months ago, a new client contacted me to do some work for the company.  One of the items that clearly needed to be corrected was the website.  It was too long, too laborious and too text heavy.

When the attention span of a website visitor is the equivalent to a gold fish (9 seconds), a text heavy website isn’t going to cut it.

Some back story:  This client had contracted with a graphic designer about a year or two earlier.  Like most graphic designers, they gave my client a pretty picture for the logo and a generic image for the website.

Then a web developer created their website using HTML.

For this, the client paid a very hefty price – somewhere in the neighborhood of $7000.

Fast forward to today.

Today, we’re starting at the beginning.

1. Beginning with a Positioning

We’ve crafted a positioning that will help the company stand out from its competitions.  The previous website had no positioning.

2.  Understand the Objectives of the Website

The days of a static website are long gone.  Today’s website has to deliver leads, subscribers, fans.

3.  Reinforce the Positioning through Website Copy

Website copy will be infused with the new positioning as will the calls to action.

4.  Reinforce the Positioning through the Images and Graphics

5.  Move the website from HTML to WordPress

We’ll be using WordPress because it will give the client more flexibility moving forward.  While the client may not see the need to make changes to the website right now, they will in the future because things change.

Better to pick a platform that is almost as simple as creating an email then to be saddled with an expensive HTML web developer for the rest of your natural life.

6.  Make it Responsive

While the client believes her audience will only be viewing her site while they’re in their offices, her template will be mobile ready because, well, things change.

7.  Designed to meet objectives

My client wants to make her phone ring and to capture email addresses.  The first page will be a landing page where visitors will be encouraged to do just that.

So, what’s the problem?

The problem is my client feels as if they are throwing away the initial investment. They want to salvage the existing site.

The client is correct.  The initial investment was a waste.  What was created, didn’t work.

It is a perfect case of penny wise and pound foolish.  The more money that is invested in this website, the more difficult it will be to let it go and do it right.

Are you being penny wise and pound foolish about your website?

If so, how can you avoid making a similar mistake in the future?

First, we have to know why this happens.

As the saying goes: 

Whose fault is it?  Is it the graphics person, the web developer or the client’s?

Unfortunately, many clients assume that a graphic designers or web developers are also marketers.

They are not.  Some may have some good marketing instincts, but they are few and far between.  Most are skilled in their particular discipline only.  While their output is used in marketing, it is not the same as being a marketer.

It is the marketer who analyzes the market and crafts the strategy.

It is the marketer who evaluates the competition and finds a hole in the market for you to exploit.

It is the marketer who gives the necessary direction to the graphics and web folks so they can produce their best website output for the client – output that has a focus and an objective.

Graphic designers are happy to sell you great looking graphics that do nothing for your company.

Web developers are happy to sell you website that locks you into using them for as long as you pay them.

Marketers give your business, your website FOCUS.

Marketers are not in the business of designing graphics.  They’re in the business of telling graphics designers what to communicate in the images.

Marketers are not in the business of doing code and creating complicated websites.  They’re in the business of explaining exactly what type of site the client needs and how it needs to present information to the desired audience.

What is the solution?

If possible, work with a seasoned marketer.

What you don’t want to do is put your most valuable online asset – your website – into the hands of someone who is not a marketer and find yourself in the same uncomfortable spot as the client I described.

How to know if they’re a real marketer? 

You may want to begin by understanding how to spot a Marketing Pretender.

Then you’ll want to ask the right questions and listen really hard to their responses – questions like these:

  • Who do you believe is my audience?
  • What do they care about?
  • How might you position my company in light of the competition and my objectives?
  • What examples of websites have you created that are similar to my market?
  • What are the results of these websites (e.g. number of daily, monthly visitors, number of subscribers, the number of sales derived from website visitors, etc.)?
  • Are YOU creating the graphics or are you farming it out to 99 Designs?
  • Will I be able to make changes to the website once it’s created or do I have to depend on YOU for any changes?

If you hear vague answers or they try to use tech talk, keep on looking.  A really good marketer will speak to you in terms you can easily understand and, if necessary, they will be willing to argue with you to do the ‘right’ thing.

They will be transparent with you about how the graphics and website will be created.

Once you find your seasoned marketer, be sure to give them all of the information they’ll need to do a really good job for you.

If it is not possible to hire a seasoned marketer, then you are going to have to take the bull by the horns and do it yourself or guide your graphics and web people.

You’ll need to answer the above questions and make certain that the graphics and the website clearly positions you in your market and addresses your objectives.

After all, you don’t want to be like my client and find yourself being penny wise and pound foolish.

Your Turn

When is the last time you upgraded your website?

Did you do it yourself or did you have it created?

How might you do it different in the future?




Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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