By Blake DuBose and Mike DuBose
“How did I ever get myself into this mess?”Who in the private or public sector has not had that painful thought? We sometimes develop partnerships based on first impressions and early conversations, only to face costly nightmares later!
Of all the horror stories we have heard since starting our family of companies in 1981, many complaints (and regrets) surround technology, especially Web design. The following comments were made by angry readers and customers who partnered with unethical, unprofessional Web companies:
The technology field is similar to other professions in that customers can easily be pressured into paying for overpriced, ineffective Web services. Because there is no licensing authority to certify Web professionals, many consumers who rush to select a Web designer without conducting a thorough investigation end up with the wrong one.
How should I begin the search for good Web designers? Perform all of the following cautiously: inquire with friends, colleagues, business owners, and non-profit staff; contact Web designers listed at the bottom of appealing Websites; consult the Yellow Pages; and search the Internet (for example, Google “Columbia SC Web Design”). As in any field, Web companies’ philosophies, ethics, work quality, knowledge, experience, financial security, pricing, and customer service vary significantly. Solicit proposals from several Web businesses to find the best fit for your needs. Before making a final selection, check with your local business bureau to see if there have been complaints filed against the business.
What should I look for?Competent Web companies that create great Websites will often have these characteristics:
Also, look for a company whose staff members:
Your project is a substantial investment, so read written bids and contracts carefully. Agreements should be mutual and must be more concrete than a simple handshake.
Expect to wait in line for quality companies that focus on a few customers at a time. It is best to select a turnkey company to provide all Web services so there aren’t “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Your Website reflects your organization, so don’t rush the process. Depending on your objectives, a realistic timeline to field test and put your Website into operation is 60 days. Updates take less time.
The bottom line:The more work you conduct up front to select a great Web design company, the less frustration and loss you will experience down the road. You want a professional Website that works, draws clients, and generates profits; a customer-driven Web company whose staff exceeds your expectations; and competent Web professionals who will support you and your Website well into the future.
Remember: you get what you pay for!
© Copyright 2010 by Blake DuBose and Mike DuBose. All Rights Reserved. You have permission to forward this article to a friend or colleague and to distribute it as part of personal or professional use during the year 2010 in its full content with all credits to the author. However, no part of this article may be altered or published in any other manner without the written consent of the author. If you would like written approval to post this information on an appropriate web site or to publish this information, please contact Katie Beck at Katie@grantexperts.comand explain how the article will be used. We appreciate you honoring our hard work and we try to accommodate any requests in a timely fashion. Shorter versions of some articles are available upon request.
Blake DuBose is a graduate of the Newberry College School of Business and is president of DuBose Web Group.
Mike DuBose has been in business since 1981 and is an instructor with the University of South Carolina graduate school. He is the servant leader and owner of three debt-free corporations, including Columbia Conference Center, Research Associates, and The Evaluation Group. Mike has completed his book The Art of Building a Great Business. For more helpful articles, visit his non-profit Website www.mikedubose.com.