DIY for Web Sites? Not if Success is Important.

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Although I originally wrote this back in 2002, I realized that much of it is still applicable today.  It’s about the general mentality of small business owners.  Look beyond the fact that it focuses on websites and apply it to Social Networking and Social Media.  I guess it’s true… the more things change… the more things stay the same.  Enjoy!
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I guess I missed a meeting, or at least the memo which says if someone can open software, type text, make links, upload a picture or two, they’re suddenly qualified to help you develop one of the most efficient and effective customer service and marketing tools available for your business or organization today – your web site.  (Here was my take on the term “Webmaster” back in ’05… Webmaster… Doesn’t Mean “Expert”).
  
Evidently, another memo I’ve missed encourages business owners to try and save as much money as possible by telling them to:

  1. Buy a program, and in no time at all, you’ll have created your very own business tool that will be just as effective as if you had hired a professional.
      
    or…
      
  2. Let your business be a guinea pig  for a “friend who can build web pages” because it’s cheaper than paying to have it done right.

So, it’s time to buy a new car.  You enter your favorite dealership, perhaps somewhere along the “World Famous Airport Motor Mile” and you kindly tell the helpful salesperson that you’re unhappy with your old car and it’s time to “upgrade”.  You’d like him to set up that brand new 2002 sitting on the showroom floor.  You also mention that you can only spend $500.00 and you’re going to maintain it yourself.  You know… your own tune-ups, filter and fluid changes, replace parts when necessary, etc…  Or maybe you have this “friend” who “knows about cars” who will help you when you have a problem with it.  I’m guessing that sounds just a little ridiculous.  Perhaps extremely ludicrous.
   
So, why is it, when it comes to the most powerful, efficient, and effective customer service and marketing tool available for your business today, business owners feel that they can take this approach and still remain competitive?
     
Have you ever found yourself in an unfamiliar city visiting a shop, or a familiar grocery store and you walk out glad you don’t have to shop there regularly because it’s unfriendly, run down, and unclean?
    
Does your web site have that same impression on visitors?  Despite the familiar saying, people continue to “judge a book by its cover”.  We all do it.
     
I remember the day… IF you had a web site, that was enough.  Those days were short-lived and ended sometime back in 1996.
    
Millions of people visit web sites daily.  They see the “cream of the crop” and the “bottom of the barrel”.  What are they thinking when they visit yours?  It makes a difference.
     
Your web site works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year.  That’s more loyalty, dedication, and reliability than you will ever get from an employee.  Try paying an employee “just enough to get by” and see how long it is before you’re looking for a new employee to replace the one who just left for “greener pastures”.
    
The same holds true for your web site.  If you think you can “just get by”, you may as well just add links from your web site to the web sites of your competitors… because that’s where all your traffic will wind up anyway.
    
There’s a reason Harvard University offers over 100 courses as requirements to obtain various degrees associated with Internet Technology, Web Site Development, Internet Marketing and more.  Prerequisites for some of these courses include advanced mathematics and computation courses.
     
Consider the following:

  1. Millions of web sites and billions of pages exist on the Internet today
  2. Rules, policies and procedures change
  3. Technology continues to advance and change

Do you really have time in your busy day-to-day schedule to try and learn a new career?  Can you really afford to have a novice experiment with your 24/7 marketing and customer service tool?  The answer is NO.  All you’ll be doing is wasting your time and your money.

Is the success of your business so inessential, your time so valueless, that you’ll sacrifice both while trying to learn a skill that has a nearly 10 year head start on you and your “friend”?

Written by William H. Wells III for local Monroe County, Tennessee Newspapers
Monroe County, Tennessee includes the communities of Coker Creek, Madisonville, Sweetwater, Tellico Plains, and Vonore.
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