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Meeting Business Website Requirements

Fig 6. Typical Web Agency Team

Team of web developers

Websites by Design

The scene above is typical of a large web agency. A project manager, designers, developers, copywriters, search specialists. A great mix of skills, if you can afford them.

Most businesses would not choose to do so. They turn to a local web designer, or try to build a website themselves but in both cases, they must remember that the skill mix above may be required.

A proportion of web designers hold broad talents but others are mainly digital designers, producing modern media. Still a highly skilled role and fine in an agency, where they are supported by wider experience but as a sole contractor, not ideal.

Fulfilling The Purpose

When business owners hire a developer, or decide to build their own website, they often believe that getting the site built and live is the task. They set aside the fact that a website is a business tool, which needs to be suitably configured and deployed.

A live website is a useful step. The web address can be added to stationery, emails, newsletters, vehicles, spread by word of mouth. This may pay for itself but still neglects opportunity.

A website will not appear for useful terms on Google by itself. Local listings such as Google maps need the right approach, as do technical updates and content addition. Paid listings on Google are a possibility but a high proportion of people don't click on them.

Search and marketing requirements should be considered at every stage, not least as the site is being built. The common principle that they are an add on, the website can be created, then passed on to be optimised for search, is a real error.

The same can apply to whether a site is able to cope with short and long term business plans. We could go on and build more barriers but there is a straightforward answer.

Combined Knowledge

The input of web designers, or business owners who have taken time to learn to build a site, should not be devalued. Simply seen in the right context and used in an appropriate way.

Whether a business is seeking local, or national success, they are both knowledge based. Neither are they currently in place for a number of businesses, as the survey data clearly shows.

We must accept the reality that many businesses are not even on the web and more who are, fail to meet their own needs. This costs wealth, jobs, a business can go if they are unable to compete.

Independent web developers need to expand their knowledge, as do business owners. In a sense responsibility is with the business, to see they have the right skills on board. Either sourced in one place, or combined to good effect.

Sourcing Information

Suggesting businesses magically inform themselves and find the right help is still a problem. If they knew how, they would be doing so, yet we know they are not. Neither do developers generally set out to do a less than perfect job.

Information and knowledge need to be distributed, encouraged. Before looking at how everyone involved can help achieve this, we should expand a little on current website needs.

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