Ah the internet: the great promise of bigger and better things to all businesses and people. Where one can make a fortune in a day, become a sensation in the time it takes to “go viral” (see? Buzzword!), and generally expand your horizons from the area that you can physically access to all over the world as fast as you can say “generation c”. I know that for some of you reading this, the idea of this is second nature and that the very voice in which I am writing this sounds “old”, much like a textbook talking about what the promise of dial-up internet and the ability to “instantly message” people really means.
But, this is by definition (see the title) an introduction and we have to start somewhere, so we start at the beginning.
This isn’t really the beginning, since you will find more entries on the site below that talk about subjects more in depth than this, but at some point, an introduction is needed.
This is the statement that you have made at some time over the past few weeks in order to get you to this point. You may not know why, how, or what everything else will entail, and that’s alright; you don’t need to know that now (but you will). For now, you only need to know what you should already know, and that’s a good thing. Or is it? Knowing what you already know means that you have to make sure you are being entirely honest with yourself, and you have to have a way to make this as clear as possible or you are going to wind up wasting your own time, energy, and money getting to where you want to be.
Lying is a tough word to use; it’s not that anyone is intentionally lying in these explanations, but not being comfortable verbalizing your needs or telling yourself you are looking for one thing when you really want another falls under the same category.
So know what you want. Some things you should know before starting down this road include:
Be as prepared as possible with these, and you should be more equipped to interview potential providers and read their proposals. Even if you think you have an idea of these, write them down and be as exact as possible; you might surprise yourself.
A web developer or web designer doesn’t instantly know what you want. There, I said it: we do not know what you want. We can make educated guesses, we can offer a broad enough explanation of what we will do, and if we have been doing this long enough we can even ask enough questions to get a good idea of what you might want so that our proposal comes across as if we partially read your mind.
But this isn’t accurate and there is an easier way to get exactly what you want: just tell us. Lay out your budget, your goals, what you have now, and what you are looking to have at the end of this. Use the points listed above as a guide and you are off to a good start. Most of us have been doing this long enough that we can tailor our project for your list of requirements. The extra benefit of this is that you end up knowing right away what each designer/developer will be offering you right out of the gate.
You may not be going into this with the idea that your company will maintain a blog, or have a Facebook page, or run a Twitter account. Despite this, if might be in your best interest to do these things; a designer/developer can help you make these decisions and let you know if there are any other methods you may be overlooking to drive traffic to your site and ultimately to your business.
A search engine such as Google is eclipsing yellow pages and print media as the number one method that consumers find a company. Last year’s studies done on this trend showed this shift, and as more and more of “generation c” begin to become your potential consumer, these numbers shift even further. Your website will be the single most important piece of marketing your company will do.