My official title is Director of Direction. This begets everything from puzzled looks to full out belly laughs. I tell people I got this from working in the Department of Redundancy Department at my last corporate gig. Seriously, if you have ever worked at a large company, you know what I am talking about… we used to have meetings, to plan meetings, about what we were going to eat at future meetings. Although it was fraught with inefficiencies, it also had many benefits. One of them is having a team of people working on projects.
When I worked at AT&T in the video department, it was not uncommon to have all these people involved in a project; producer, director, writer, videographer, gaffer, hair & make-up, sound, lighting, production assistant, editor, audio editor/mixer, and a manager… not to mention talent! All that just to make a two minute video!
In this FREE Website tonight, do it yourself world, some people expect everything and want to pay for nothing. As a solopreneur, I see a wide range of budgets and expectations. There are packages out there that range from $199 to $499 or more for a complete website. There is a place for that $199 special, but chances are it's not as complete as some people imagine. You can't buy a $199 computer and walk back into the computer store and expect free tech support for life? Chances are you are not going to get updates, support, and services like training or other things that help your website get found.
I've seen inexperienced developers do websites for as little as $25 an hour (less in India). Most well trained experienced professionals (vs hobbyists) charge between $75-$150 (or more) an hour. If you are doing a simple website for an event, that $199 one may work just fine. If you are a serious business that expects to see a return on your investments, then you may need a bit more help. You can tell the difference between pulling out your cell phone and making a video, and one where a team of professional are employed to make it (and so can your customers).
What follows is the dream team of developing a killer website:
- Project Manager – This person manages all the aspects of the website or project and coordinates the use of one or more of the following people.
- Marketing Consultant – Someone who will analyze your market. They know the ages, income, and tendencies of your audience and how they may react to one or more techniques or technologies.
- Web Designer – The person who understand the navigation, usability, and methodologies to deliver your content in the most compact and technologically sound fashion for your audience.
- Graphic Designer – The person who designs everything from the logo, to the color scheme for the web. They also create or format all the graphic elements including buttons, pictures, banners and more.
- CSS Stylist – This person works with the web designer and graphic designer to implement color schemes, type styles and other technical visual elements of the website.
- Content Writer – This is a professional writer (often from the news or literary field) who understand writing for the web. That means they take readability in 300 to 500 words and include keywords that help your website be better served to hungry search engines.
- Photographer – Whether it's head shots or product shots, they provide key visual content for your website. They may also be a key provider of stock photography.
- Videographer – This can be anything from complete marketing videos to a consultant that helps you maximize tools such as YouTube, Vimeo and more.
- Programmer – A person who is a computer code writer who either creates functionality, modifies plug-ins, or creates new custom functionality for websites or cell phone apps.
- SEO Specialist – This is where the code behind the website is optimized and tested for search engines. They often work with the content writer to balance readability and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Google Specialist – This makes sure you are correctly added to Google Places for Business, Google Maps and Google Analytics. May also offer Google Adwords and Google Adsense.
- Social Media Specialist – Helps to integrate all your social media properties and create a strategy to increase website traffic and engagement. They may interact with the content developer and Google Specialist.
- Publicist/PR – Someone who can promote your website or blog to various media outlets (local and national), help get your website found by bloggers, directories and other back-link sources.
- Teacher/Trainer – Someone to teach you to use your new CMS (content management system) and how to update, maintain and build upon content marketing options. They may also teach your staff to make the most of your website.
- Tech Support – Help monitor and maintain necessary updates to web program software, and make sure that your website is up to date and as hack-proof as possible.
This is a limited and very concise explanation of what goes into a killer website. By “Killer” I mean one that has a measurable return on investment and continues to reap financial benefits by being updated and enhanced in the future. It's rare to find all of those skills in one person. Often one person can fill multiple roles, but sometimes it requires a team of experts.
In no way shape or form am I suggesting that every website needs or includes all of this, but each of these are important. Either the web person or company is going to do them for you, or your going to do them yourself. Every website is a living thing that will take support, upkeep, and TLC to continue to be successful!
Customers… We all like a deal… just have realistic expectations. If you have a tight budget, then expect less. Find someone who understands your needs and market, and will work with you to get where you want to be incrementally. Free stuff still costs you your time, so sometimes it pays to have a partner to speed things up. If you have the time to learn, troubleshoot, and recover from mishaps, then at least have a back-up person and plan when the mud gets too deep!
Suppliers… Be prepared to explain what customers can expect for your price or package. Some may be expecting a “Dream Team” for $199. I have had more than one customer disappointed because what I delivered was not what they were expecting. Ask questions, be clear what people are buying, and live to fight another day if the two don't match! I have found it helpful to have a base package with an à la carte menu of options like a writer, SEO, Social media and so on.
Did this post speak to you? All of us are a customer or a supplier at one point. Care to share your thoughts, feelings, like or opinions? We all appreciate it!