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Who made my site?

By August 4, 2011August 8th, 20112 Comments

I get asked this question a lot because some people assume that I made my own website. While I had a lot to do with the content, I turned to professionals for design, structure and the actual creation of this site (much as I advise you to do). There are loads of people that you could ask for help from, for example you could choose Cefar or even but there are many others that you could also use.
In my book is not about how to design a site, rather it’s about how to think about your site, regardless of what you do, your audience or the purpose of your site. I speak about what makes a good, usable, effective site, not how to actually design and build it.

So, let me directly answer the question and then elaborate on why. Local Traffic Builder is the company that made this site. I went with them because they really listened to what I was trying to accomplish and they have the skills and background to take my ideas and make them even better. Are they the only ones who do quality work? Of course not, but it’s hard to find a company that understands design and marketing. Most are good at one or the other, not both.

This is a WordPress site?

We went with WordPress for the Content Management System (CMS) capabilities. It’s not a template but and it doesn’t look and feel like it’s a blog. The site design is totally custom, not a template. That’s because a template is only as good as the content and the people who use it. A real designer can be limited by a template. Non-professionals need templates (that are designed by professionals) to give them a starting point.

You use lots of templated sites every day. Facebook is a template. LinkedIn is a template. Most of the ads you place online are templates. What’s good about a template is that it helps you have structure and let’s the content be the focus, not the template. You don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the Facebook template until they change something. You just interact with the content. A well done, custom site should be what we all have. That said, I know that a lot of you make and manage your own sites, so templates are a good starting point.

How much is a better website?

Don’t shop by price for your website solution. Do you want your customers shopping for your service by price? I doubt it. What’s the potential return of a better website? More contacts and more business. If the value of that additional business is more than your investment in a better site, then you’re losing money if you don’t do it. That’s why I often answer the question “How much does a new website cost?” as “Less than the business you’re losing by having the wrong one.”

I’ve known Brian Lawrence co-founder of Local Traffic Builder for almost 20 years. He was actually a client of mine when I was selling WeddingPages ads. Now I’m a client of his. His partner Vanessa kept telling me how much fun it was to design my site. When I asked her why, she said it was because I knew what I wanted, unlike most people who go to their web designer with no clue what they want.

I love working with Vanessa because she and her team take my ideas and make them better. For instance, I love how all of the testimonial photos are black & white, while my photos are color. It’s a subtle, but brilliant way to show which content is mine versus the words/photos of others. This is why you should look to work with a website designer who understands marketing, not a programmer and not your 16 year old nephew.

Who’s in control here?

While this site has an easy CMS backend, I still rely on the Local Traffic Builder team to make many of my changes. It’s not that I can’t, it’s that my time is better spent working on getting more business, not tweaking my site. That’s a mistake a lot of small businesses make. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. You don’t want to spend your time saving a dollar only to miss the opportunity to make hundreds or thousands (see my post You Can’t Save Your Way to Prosperity). I regularly hear wedding pros complaining about the bride who thinks she can do their service better than a pro (the DIY bride), yet those same businesses have no problem trying to do the work of a professional website designer (while they have no training other than being comfortable with computers).

That said, having a professional design and create your site could allow you the flexibility to make your own updates and changes, unlike many of the restrictive sites that require programmers to make your changes. With the exception of major changes, those days are over. This hybrid approach (professional,  user-friendly design) is probably the right solution for most small businesses.

So, there you have it. Look around. Take in the design cues. If we’ve done a good job you’ve been interacting with my content without really thinking about the navigation. You’ll just be taking in the content and hopefully taking some action (buying a book, seeing where I’m speaking, contacting me about speaking or consulting). If you want to know more about Local Traffic Builder, visit their site. Tell them Alan sent you. If you want to know how I can help you, regardless of your website designer, email or call me, 732-422-6362.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Liz Lantigua says:

    I just saw on your website that your book can be obtained on Kindle. Can I obtain the sample
    (Table of Contents and first few chapters) available on Kindle books before I decide to purchase it? I want to make sure it’s what I am looking for. Thanks! Liz

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