From wanting to launch a knitting site, to running a marketing firm, Marketers from all sides of business came hear just what this month’s panel had to say. Newport Interactive Marketers’ wrapped up 2012 focusing on websites. What are the must-haves? How to save money on site development? What type of expert help do you need and can you afford it?
The panelists answered questions from those who’ve never had a website, to those who create websites professionally. Meet the Panel:
Senior Web Developer at Rubic Design + Interactive, John is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and holds a bachelor’s degree in web design and e-commerce as well as an associates degree in web development. John is highly skilled across all areas of website development and design: from server-side coding, to content layout, and site architecture. He comes to Rubic Design + Interactive from the advertising and PR industry where he built and maintained web solutions for national brands like CVSCaremark, Marriott International, and Dunkin Donuts.
Co-founder of Slocum Studio, WordPress architect, business development, blogger at MattReport.com, and inbound marketer. Helping others on the web.
Sean Walther is a freelance web developer and has been doing what he loves for almost 15 years. Recently Sean has been specializing in WordPress deployments, but has a varied history with many types of web technologies. Prior to his current freelance role, Sean was the CTO of a web development firm in Boston for 3 years. Sean is a graduate of Boston University, with a BA in computer science.
owner of Englund Studio. Founded in 2002 offering graphic design and illustration services, Englund Studio has since been the winner of both the Webmasters Award and the American Design Award for creative website design. Improving customer interaction and attraction through WEO (Web Experience Optimization) is a vital concern. Englund Studio has created custom websites, WordPress sites, mobile sites, blogs, and squeeze pages for customer lead generation. David is preparing to launch a podcast show called Marketing Differently.
Key takeaways from October’s Newport Interactive Marketers
- You get what you pay for. If you’re willing to pay more, you’re going to get more. So what is more: a more custom website, to a more involved developer who can plan for where your business is headed.
- Those with smaller budgets were able to learn about alternatives, such as website templates, which allow you to develop and update your own website, using a platforms such as WordPress. But be sure to purchase your own domain, such as NewportInteractiveMarketers.com.
- Another cost effective way of having an online presence without breaking the budget, would be working with a designer who can put together a basic website without any extensive plug-ins or features. Lindsay Logan from WOMA design, a Newport Marketer, talked about ways that she personally helps clients with this and how it is less costly than most options.
Website considerations BEFORE meeting with a developer
- Know your audience. What are they looking for in a website? Know the main draw of your audience and emphasize it in your website. Should that be the focus of your website that is easy to access on the home page.
- Bring a list of competitor’s websites and examples of the similarities and differences you want.
- It’s not what you want to see on the site, it’s what your viewers need to see. Do what’s best for your business & let web designers help you, after all you’re paying for their expertise!
- Come with a theme to start out. Panelists warned against free themes, like Theme Forest due to malicious or sloppy code.
Where do you want to be in two years?
- Don’t be afraid to tell the person your working with, your budget. If you have a smaller budget like $1,500 then maybe craigslist or WordPress is better for you. It’s important let them know these things and you can discuss the best options within your budget range.
- Designers, Developers, Marketers, SEO, and content strategists are all incorporated into the FULL process of designing a website: Keep in mind that this is what you’re paying for and discuss what each will be able to do for you. Know what you’re paying for and let them know what you want from them.
What sparked debate?
WordPress & Drupal
- Is WordPress good? Yes. Small budget? Go for it. Test it out. Use if for a year, higher income – then spend the money. Website = Virtual salesperson.
- WordPress does not have a great online ecommerce store, where as Drupal does.
- WordPress plug-in options: fantastic! Includes: Contact for 7, advanced custom fields, designer clients (extra forms on pages), WD Photo Kit, Contact 17.
- You always have the option to pay for it. Why pay for it when you can get it for free? Support! You get what you pay for.
- Web developer should have no excuse or at least a good reason not to have a WordPress up and running for you.
Audience’s questions answered:
Is the cost is going up or down?
The prices of websites have gone down because now there are free options to creating websites and many people are able to do it themselves with these options.
Why go local in choosing a developer?
Go Local! Meet with designers face to face and get to know the person that’s helping to develop your business. Also, be able to receive training on how to use and update the website! You want to know the where about of your developer, constant contact is key, especially when you’re paying for it.
What are the price ranges that our panelists are charging their clients?
They currently start looking at projects in the $1,500 as a starter. And average prices range from 5,000 to 10,000.
What is the value that developers add to the price?
The value that developers give to the price is time. They take care of it, maintain it, and spend the most time with the website’s construction and maintenance.
What are some key components a website should have?
- Blog OR consistently updated with content
- News Letter
- Email options but not a barrier to website, always keep your website accessible without effort by your viewers.
- Search Bar & Social Media Icons
- Should you have a feed of social media? Depends on whether or not you’re social media is a key part of your business and whether or not it is a good outlet that would be appealing to your customers.
- Definitely Images and Video – CRITICAL. Less reading and more media.
And remember, a website is a virtual sales person, so take your time and make sure it’s saying exactly what you want it to say!