Louise has a Website for her salon. She hired someone to build it a couple of years ago. And she paid good money for it – money she doesn’t feel was well spent. In other words, she’s not happy with her Website.
Over the course of the last two years, she’s grown tired of people commenting on her Website. As many others have, the Web designer in her business networking group has recommended that she have someone ‘fix’ her Website. As he puts it, “Your Website is your public image on the Internet. It should reflect the professionalism you bring to the services you offer while drawing potential clients in from the Web.”
But, fixing her Website isn’t that easy. The first problem, and the one the Web designer in her networking group quickly came up against, is that her Website was built on some obscure software few of the Web people she’s met have heard of, let alone have worked with.
Some Web designers have shown a willingness to try fixing her Website but Louise can’t find her original Web designer and she doesn’t know the account information so other Web designers can get in and work with her Website. And, the last time she did speak with her original Web designer, he expressed a ‘reluctance’ to share her account information.
So, now, Web designers tell her that her only real option is to start over – to build a new Website. Considering the money she’s already invested, this is very discouraging news. She feels as though she’s being asked to throw good money after bad. Instead, she trudges along with a poor Website and tries to convince herself that it doesn’t really matter; “At least I have a Website.”
Bobbi Baehne, with Think Big, Go Local, a McHenry, IL, based marketing company that also provides Websites for businesses, has considerable sympathy for Louise.
“I’ve met a lot of business owners like Louise,” Baehne said. “No one wants to hear that their investment didn’t work out as well as they had hoped. Unfortunately, unless we have access to their Website account, there isn’t much we can do for them. But, I would say, ‘better no Website than a bad Website.’”
For those who aren’t in Louise’s predicament, Baehne had some recommendations to help avoid such trouble:
- Use a trusted Web designer with a good reputation and some history – someone who won’t disappear shortly after they launch your Website.
- Get a contract and insist that it include a provision that you will receive all account information as ‘your’ property. As Baehne put it, “It’s unconscionable that a Web designer would withhold someone’s Website account information. That’s part of the Website. It belongs to the owner of the Website.”
- Insist that the Website is built on software that is widely available. The most widely used choices are WordPress and Google’s Blogger.
- Make sure your Website will be mobile friendly. This should be a given today, but don’t take anything for granted.
- Most Web designers will offer hosting and site maintenance, which can be money well spent. However, the site should come with basic SEO built in, not as an extra. For instance, and just for starters, meta-tags should be included with all images.
- Don’t forget the content. Some people go to a Web designer, describe how they want their Website to look, but, when asked about the content, they suddenly realize they hadn’t given that much though. Good content will include a proper call to action, strong headlines and subheads, and will include a proper use of keywords.
- Insist that your Website can include a blog where you can post fresh content on a regular basis (this is not a problem with either WordPress or Blogger).