Eulogy for the “One & Done”
Web design is dying.
Web development is gasping for air.
The days of one (wo)man shows of websites are gone.
Sure, there’s the *eh hem* “budget conscious” clients that want piecework for a song. Cheap, easy sites, usually in WordPress or Drupal that some intern or staff member can maintain with ease and a weak password. I’ve got these clients. They are some of my favorites.
More and more I’m getting phone calls and finding sites that just don’t work. Broken forms, outdated copy, links to oblivion. When examining the problem in the site root folder it is rarely just technical, IT IS FEAR. IT IS MISTRUST and it is understandable.
Some company has paid some marketing firm a few thousand dollars plus a monthly fee for a site that has problems.
The story is the same:
-The management team or individual is terrified of the website.
-Some firm made huge promises that could not be delivered on because:
1. SEO is ongoing and can get pricey quick. It takes real expertise to do right, lots of time and dedication to quality.
2. No one was tending the store. The monthly fee just offset development costs to reduce sticker shock. 3. There is no actual maintenance happening.
4. Bad development or design.
5. No Beta Testing. This is eve-il and happens all the time.
-The recession hit and everyone ran for cover.
Trouble is: without quantifiable goals for a website, you’ll never measure the site’s success or failure. Without someone to check, monitor or analyze even basic analytics tools, (think ), what’s the point?
There are very few individuals, even marketing professionals within an organizations to ask aloud: “What is the point of this site?” What is the point? Well, that’s a whole other blog, stay tuned. The first question I ask is: “What do you need the website to actually do?” It opens the door to practical questions of objectives and creates accountability.
Why am I grabbing my shovel and editing my business cards? It’s time to bury the freelance run website firm. It takes a village to birth and raise a functional website. Truth is, for a truly great site it’s all about the marketing. I say this as a Web
Site Designer/Developer. Your best bet for a cost effective site:
-Open source CMS (think WordPress) with a professionally modified responsive theme.
-Professionally written content, updated frequently.
-Great professional quality pictures (death to stock photos!).
-Security measures to offset some of the security risks of open source code.
-ANALYTICS!!! Interpreted and integrated by a professional.
-Social media integration, be friendly, be useful and most of all offering something worthwhile to your peeps.
-Play with the site. Try to break it. Entering in weird info. Test the forms.
-Pay to maintain the site. Request monthly reports with a checklist. Know what you’re getting.
These are GENERIC recommendations for the small to medium business and start-ups. I’m looking forward to the onslaught of infuriated freelancers, not anxious for an early death. It’s true, those of you out there that are really good, doing one aspect of the website on contract or in house, you will likely live to doodle another day.
I’m putting the hucksters, jargon whisperers, hacks and over promiser’s/under deliverer’s on notice. Your jobs are going to India. Good riddance. In fact, many of you already contract off shore labor to keep costs low. You get what you pay for, I know I tried it once, it was a disaster.
Build a team or specialize. That’s what I’m doing.
In the meantime, drop me a line. I’ve got work to do.
*Shudders* Hire a photographer. It’s worth it.