Pooh Pooh Web Pros at Your Peril

Now that you have thought a bit about goals and plans for your web presence what’s next?

I recommend a fearless inventory of your commitment, skills, and time available.

First, the will. Have you been thinking and talking about moving forward with your web presence for some time, but have yet to actually get anything done? That should tell you something. Ask yourself, “what’s the holdup” and be honest about how you answer.

If you know that you are technologically challenged, don’t delude yourself into thinking that you will handle setting up your blog all by yourself unless you are strongly committed to a large-scale learning project. If you are, great. Start by identifying the resources you will use to learn. Then determine how much time you can devote each day, and balance that with your timeframe for having things up and running. If there are disconnects, think again.

You can use template systems for websites and blogs to save time and money, but without customization templates are very recognizable for what they are–there are always tradeoffs. Customizing a template can offer a solid balance between originality and functionality, unless of course the customization itself is inept. You don’t have to spring for original designs to get the web presence you deserve, but it will save time, money, and heartache to have a technically competent person do the customization. It could be you…back to fearless inventory mentioned above.

What if it’s not you? Well, you can hire a web professional to create and implement an original design or to customize an existing template for you.

If you do, we recommend taking the following steps to protect your interests, save your money, and make the process go smoothly.

1. Know your goals, target audiences, market you compete in, your competition, and potential partners online before you talk to anyone. Be prepared to think about what browsers you use, how web savvy your target audiences will be, and what browsers they might use.

2. Make sure you own your business domain on the Web and have all of the hosting information and passwords in your possession at all times.

3. If you want to update the content yourself, make sure to let the web pro know to set your site or blog up with that in mind.

4. Find out how the update process will work and whether or not any additional software will be required.

5. Find out about training. Will you be on your own to figure out how to update your content, or will the web pro teach you how to use the system they set up?

6. Make sure that the timeline will work for you. Expect to pay more if you need things to happen yesterday, then understand if it is simply not possible to move as quickly as you’d like.

Finally, treat your web presence like the business tool it is. Don’t expect everything for nothing and remember that it is easier to work well with web professionals if you know your goals, constraints, budget, and timeline upfront.