Don’t expect the builder to be the architect too

Building a new website for your business is not something you’d want to do any more frequently than moving offices. It’s a much bigger job than is often appreciated, and will probably require more time and money than you might think.

The biggest mistake I see small to medium size companies making is to start off by looking for a website designer. Unfortunately, most of these people, including the most talented ones, are a combination of graphic artist and computer programmer. They will be exactly what you need, when it comes to implementing your plan. The problem arises when you go to them without a plan.

Website designers don’t understand your market, and they may not even understand business-to-business sales in general. And nor should they need to, if clients do the website planning properly.

Of course, a good website design company would facilitate the planning. But as I’ve mentioned before, the website design business has been sent by clients on a race to the bottom when it comes to costs. Including a robust planning stage into the exercise would increase a designer’s quote significantly, so the stage can get skipped. Perhaps we should not be looking for a “website design company” but a “website design implementation company”.

As a good analogy, think of it like building a new house. I’d bet if you asked a builder if he could just build a house, without working to any plans, he’d say: “Of course – I’d just do it like one I’d done before.”

Would that be what the owners wanted though? “I shouldn’t think so”, he’d admit, “but I could give them a choice of a few examples, and they could pick a favourite.”

Alternatively, you could employ an architect to get exactly what you wanted. And the nice thing about website design is that if you understand your company’s sales and marketing process, you can be your own architect.

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