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Choosing the best web designer

When Should You Fire Your Website Designer
By Ajay Prasad (c) 2009

Your online business is not a wild crazy idea, but a source of income. Trust the right people to design your website. Your 17 year old nephew may be able to create your website or you can get a free one from several services...they might even be kind of pretty. In my research and experience, less than 2% of businesses that have websites have planted the seeds to online success. Many of them are your competitors.

The problem is web designers' focus on the technical aspects of the site. They don't have a clue how to build a website that makes you a ton of money, drives floods of traffic, and gets you top placement on search engines.

Why Do You Have a Website?

The reason you have a website for your business, no matter what business you are in, is you want to rake in bundles of cash. Maybe not now, but definitely later, it should be bringing returns on your investment.

Your Website is Like Your Business

Make sure that your web designer owns a successful online business and knows how to run it.
Your sole purpose in having a website should be to use it as a marketing and communications tool. It is not there to be pretty. It should not be there to win awards. It is there to make you money. Even if you have a better product or service than your competitor, the one who attracts more prospects and customers - wins! Being the best at marketing is all that matters.

Marketing Online Is Completely Different Than Marketing Offline

All of the tools, techniques, communication, etc. in the online world are different than those offline. A very common mistake is to think because it works offline you can just put it on your website! It's important to realize the reader of offline copy thinks and processes information in a different way than someone reading online copy. What works offline may be a complete flop online.

They are two different worlds. For example, online marketํng REQUIRES you to know how to get your site ranked high, very high, in the search engines like Google and Yahoo....so you routinely appear on the first page for the optimal search terms for your business.

Of course, this assumes you know how to find the optimal words for your business, your marketplace, your niche, etc. Just so you know, the "include all words" strategy has proven to be a total failure.

And, most designers and businesses do not know that SEO (search engine optimization) is not SEM (search engine marketing). If you do one and not the other, you will probably be very discouraged with your results.

Studies have shown that you need to be on the first page of search engine results to get enough people coming to your site. SEO and SEM are not optional for online success - they are mandatory!

Improve your ROI: Only Work with People Who Know Website and Online Marketing

When you are planning your financial future, you hire a financial planner or an attorney who specializes in that area of law. When you want plastic surgery you don't go to a podiatrist, unless you want to end up with your nose looking like a foot.

Did you know that 99% of web design companies don't know how to create online sites that actually market your products or services?

You need people who can help you with how to create "hot" products or services that your customers really want.

You need people who make it possible for you to have a "money tree" business. People who can produce money like it grows on trees. People who have the communication skills to capture the attention of, and "cash the order" with, your customers. Online or offline. (That means using multiple marketing channels and starting with the lowest cost which is online!)

You need people with real world experience as well as online experience that can combine the two for the benefit of...YOU. No one has the time to learn everything about their business, the internet, marketing, copywriting, finances and so on. That is why...

"The price of ignorance is paid forever!"

Successful entrepreneurs value all the real-world experience they can get. Where do they get it? By surrounding themselves with a team of experts, who can provide the knowledge, guidance and successful experience for a wide variety of businesses.

Always Remember Your Website is your Marketing Machine

It is all about driving people to your website. This is more than "being found" for the right search terms. This is about having a comprehensive strategy that links your offline and online marketํng together to create leverage for your business and to get maximum results.

You need to be sure your online partner can:

• Create a site that entices visitors to convert from information seekers to paying customers
• Generate a stream of online and offline leads
• Show you what functions of your business can be automated to save you dollars...and put those savํngs to good use...getting more customers
• Show you the secrets of capturing information and how to utilize it for easy access and follow up
• Show you how to make more sales with your existing customers
• Help you set up marketing campaigns that get real results and build customer loyalty
• Help you use marketing with email ethically and effectively

Seriously, if your web designer/dungeon master/graphic Zulu cannot do ALL of these things and more, FIRE them now. You are wasting time and money. And time is often worth more than money.

Test, Test, and Test Some More

If you really want online success, or even offline success, then you must understand the importance of successful marketing testing. It is Crucial.

Businesses that are wildly successful with their offline and online strategies are always rabid about testing and knowing how and what to test.

Track and Measure... Correctly

You want to know everything that is happening on your website, or not happening. All of that testing will do you no good if you are not measuring and tracking all of the data associated with it.

Here are some of the tracking measures you should be talking to your web designer/builder about. In fact, they should be talking to you about these things. If you have to bring them up, you are already in trouble, with a capital T.

• How many visitors are coming to the site
• How many of the visitors aren't visitors (i.e. spiders, crawlers, etc. from search engines)
• How many visitors are new vs. old
• How long does each visitor stay on your site
• What does each visitor look at
• What graphics, words, pictures, etc. are generating the most responses
• Which search engines are getting you the best prospects
• Where else are your customers coming from
• How many pages does the visitor look at
• What are your website rankings
• How much money have you made from the average visitor
• Who are your biggest money-making customers
• If you use PPC, is it working and paying for itself
• Which links are bringing your visitors and are they converting to customers
• And so on

This is not a comprehensive listing, rather, it gives you an idea of how many things you could or should be tracking when it comes to your marketing online.

If you are like most people, you are thinking "there is no way I could remember all of that, much less do it." You would be right. Remember, that is why we all need a team of experts around us to do the things we either don't know or don't have time for.

But, if you use these kinds of tools and tracking you will join the 1-2% of successful online businesses. You do want to make money with your website, right?

It is simple; your website should bring in more money than it costs to maintain it!

Some Final Thoughts

Today, you must be ONLINE with a WEBSITE to be successful. Research has shown that people are abandoning the yellow pages and many other 'traditional' forms of advertising. The internet is the #1 SOURCE for information on virtually every topic or subject you can imagine... and still growing rapidly.

It is as it has always been - survival of the fittest. Those businesses which combine their offline and online strategies to maximize their effectiveness are going to survive and thrive. The others will die. And in these times there will be more deaths than usual. You see it, the 'for lease' signs appearing everywhere, the 'announcement' each week of another big business failure, the empty spaces in office buildings.

The key to lasting success is to create lasting value. Turn transactions into relationships. In fact, the last sentence may be the most important and valuable one you read.

About The Author
Ajay Prasad is founder of Global Marketing Resources LLC, a co. that runs a number of ecommerce websites under it's umbrella. Ajay's functional expertise includes website strategy, marketing management, business development, consumer research, market analysis and strategic planning. GMRWebTeam is an Orange County Website Design company that aims to develop an overall website strategy for your site.



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