Okay, I’m not going to drone about the usual stuff you are likely to find online when you Google this topic. You know, points like “failing to customize your theme”, “forgetting to make your business site responsive”, “not implementing a good SEO strategy”, “poor navigation”, “using too many pop-ups”, blah, blah, blah…
I’m not trying to demean the validity of these points. It’s just that the Internet is riddled with them, and I have no intentions of adding to the clutter. So instead, I will take you on a journey through the various mistakes many of our clients (typically small and medium businesses) make prior to approaching Macaulay Gidado to build their web presence.
In fact, when you mind the mistakes I’m going to elaborate on below, you automatically avoid many generic pitfalls like the ones mentioned above.
No business is an island
Yes, a bit of a cliche. A bad one at that. But some of our clients, like many other businesses out there, started out thinking they can go it alone. Trust me, even if you were a genius entrepreneur highly skilled in copywriting, web design, and web development, going it alone is still a bad idea.
Why? Because you need objectivity. Subjectivity would only produce a website that appeals to you mostly. You need input from people less emotionally attached to your business. People that can give you the hard truth.
You’ve got to ask yourself. Why does my business need a website? It goes without saying, but you most certainly are trying to reach a certain demographic. Should your business website then be built to appeal to you or that demographic?
Let me know your answer to that in the comment area.
Shop for value, not trinkets
Many of our clients were comfortably knee deep in this pitfall. One would think that coming to us meant they had figured out why their cheap-looking websites weren’t delivering the desired results. But no, most of them came with the same pathetic budget that funded the mess they were in. It was like doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a better result each time.
God, I want to scream. These things drive me crazy.
Okay, let’s face it. When you see a cheap website versus one built with value in mind, you just know it. There’s no debating that. Not saying you should throw all your money at copywriters, designers, and developers—um, hello 🙋, please throw your money at me. It all depends on what you want to achieve with your business website and whether your resources can accommodate that goal. In other words, go for cost-effective.
Yes, there’s a big difference between “cheap” and “cost-effective”. The latter has value written all over it. And that’s my recommendation. That and the saying, “When you want to do something, do it well.”
Vision & strategy need each other
When building a website for your business, vision and strategy should be at the core of everything. They address the questions: “What do I want to achieve with this business website?” and “How is this website going to help me achieve those goals?”
These two questions, if addressed properly, will determine what goes into the copy, design, and development of your business website. Unfortunately, a good fraction of our clients came with half-baked goals. Well, fortunately for them, we like to be thorough at Macaulay Gidado. So we typically start by getting them to ruminate on their visions. Then we work with them to develop a working strategy.
I have to say, there’s a great satisfaction that accompanies knowing we have helped a client solve a dire problem. Here are more stuff to consider when setting up your website.
Being responsive goes a long way
Not referring to making your business website responsive, but that’s also highly important. So what the hell? What a turn of phrase.
Anyway, I’m talking about being responsive as a client. Imagine how frustrating viewing a mobile unresponsive website on your smartphone can be. That’s how working with an unresponsive client feels. Makes me want to pull hair out. It basically cripples the progress of the project. If this passage inspires you to become a responsive client going for a responsive website, then good job to me. Now, time to go congratulate myself with a cup of Malagasy coffee.
Still here 🙋. Will get the coffee when I finally visit Madagascar.
So my fellow businesspeople. When you hire a professional—me, of course—to build your company website, remember that talking about your business is a good thing for the project. Every business is unique. While there are similar businesses online from where the professional can source info and inspiration, the last thing you want is for your website to turn out just generic or worse, a replica. Certainly you want the content, design, and other features to zero in on pertinent aspects of your business you want to convey to your audience.
The bottom line is: you want to hire me to build your website? You must be ready to make out time to discuss, really discuss, your business.
Don’t leave your assets behind
At Macaulay Gidado, we have what we call a handover document. Basically, this is a comprehensive documentation of all tasks completed under a particular project, all login details, and a linked DropBox folder containing all files and data generated throughout the project development process. As soon as the client has approved the completed project, we close the contract by passing the handover document to them.
The unfortunate truth is that the majority of clients we have worked with in the past didn’t ask, much less expect, a handover document. They typically imagined that all they needed was the finished product–that is, the link to their website, thus forgetting that:
- They would need to take control of their hosting, domain, and other accounts, change the login details, and update their payment details so that their subscriptions can renew automatically.
- By leaving their assets behind, they are leaving themselves open to extortion. This is how some developers hold people’s websites hostage.
- They need access to the raw assets that make up their branding identity.
The list goes on and on, and it’s pathetic. Please, if you are a business, never leave your assets behind, no matter what the project might be.
Phew! I think I’m done emptying myself. Now let’s hope that someone listened. Please do let me know what you think in the comment area. Would greatly appreciate your feedback.
Thanks a lot.
This article also appeared on Macaulay Gidado Medium publication.