The Top 5 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Hiring a Website Producer

After years of creating websites for friends, family, and business owners, I’ve come to notice several big mistakes that people (especially business owners) make when they start creating a website.

Often times they have mis-hired and the project is not only way past deadline, it’s also progressing at a snails pace.

This is where I step in and fix the situation (which usually means we have to start over from scratch).

The Result: The business owner wastes a lot of time, money, and worst of all, they experience tremendous stress worrying about the whole thing for several months (or years).

I’ve written this article to help those business owners about to embark on the journey of web development, in order that they may find their experience fast, efficient, and inspiring rather than slow, unorganized, and hopeless.

Below I outline the 5 biggest mistakes that business owners make when hiring a website producer.

1. They hire the slow, inexperienced, local freelancer, instead of the fast, efficient, global team leader.

What is the biggest reason for a web project to slow to a screeching halt?

Why do some web guys seem to just drag the work out over months?

Let me take you into the world of the slow, inexperienced, guy next door.

A freelancer will meet with you and review your needs in a website and say “Yeah, I can do this for you, no problem.” They will then start the project and make some progress and everything will seem to be going smoothly.

Then, as more of the site comes together, the guy realizes a few things:

  1. He underestimated how long it will actually take to create this website and now he is working for less than he planned.
  2. He came across some technically challenging issue in the site that requires something even more time-consuming than regular web work…Learning New Code!

Now his motivation to work on the site drops like a rock in water, since he not only has to work at a lower rate, he now has to invest his personal time and mental energy into learning something new (that he probably won’t use on any future projects).

What does he do?

He does what anyone would in his situation…He Procrastinates!

He takes on new jobs. He avoids that project for as long as possible because it literally hurts to even think about.

What’s the solution?

It’s to have hired the fast, efficient, global team leader in the first place.

What advantages does the global team leader have over the local freelancer?

The biggest and most important advantage to the global professional is his ability to leverage outsourcing (when appropriate) to cut costs, get more done in less time, and access a worldwide network of highly-skilled knowledge workers, all without breaking a sweat.

The global professional works with not only with his own clients (to understand their needs in creating a website), but also in collaboration with other skilled professionals from around the world.

This means he has developed a higher level of organization, resourcefulness, and professionalism.

If you’re new to outsourcing, let me break it down for you.

Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of knowledge workers (programmers, designers, marketers, researchers, legal aids, assistants, copywriters, telemarketers, ghostwriters, etc) in places such as Ukraine, Romania, Argentina, Indian, Brazil, Canada, United States, England, and more, all competing for the chance to serve your needs.

They are about as skilled as Americans (in some cases they are better or worse) yet they work at a fraction of the cost (we are talking 50%-70% less), and they live by their reputation (aka, by how satisfied you are with their work).

Throughout the past 10 years of creating web sites, I’ve transitioned from being the local freelancer, to the global team leader by developing and launching my own venture; a social network for students and teachers to share and publish their online research (called iBreadCrumbs).

This project has taken several years of planning, implementing, testing and refining.

Through this time, my partner Reuben Fine and I have hired many small and large teams to assist us along the way.

Think of it like taking one project and splitting it into many small parts, then hiring a professional (or team of professionals) to complete each part.

We’ve hired professionals to help us with programming, graphic design, public relations, bug testing, copywriting, user interface design, legal contracts, administrative support, marketing, research, and more.

We’ve been able to create a large scale web application at a fraction of the cost that start-ups typically spend, and with no employees.

As we continue to build and market this venture, I still do a limited number of web jobs for clients.

Since I have so many resources at my finger tips, I’m able to complete many webjobs simultaneously, utilizing this network of skilled knowledge workers and proven technology systems, and still charge less than the slow local guy.

(If you are interested in creating a website, contact me at (562) 858-9901).

This brings us to our second major mistake by business owners…

2. They stick with the slow, inexperienced, local guy because they’ve invested so much time and the site is “almost” done, instead of cutting their losses and hiring the right professional to complete the job.

Although this is related to #1, it deserves its own mention since it’s so common and disastrous.

As if it weren’t bad enough to hire the wrong person, now the business owner endures the prolonged suffering of the project that never ends!

Deep down the owner knows he mis-hired, now its just a matter of overcoming the additional pain of admitting his mistake and starting over.

It’s like taking off a band-aide from a painful wound; do you want to do it fast or agonizingly slow? Either way its coming off.

Look, if you picked the wrong guy, don’t beat yourself up. It happens, you’re human.

It’s ok.

Right now you have an opportunity to start over, from wherever you are.

If you’re guy is taking too long, give him a firm deadline and tell him you’re walking if it’s not done by then (it helps if you haven’t paid for everything upfront).

Don’t be afraid to let go and start over. It’s a very empowering feeling to let go of the mental weight of a stressful project.

This brings us to the third mistake that business owners make…

3. They hire a web designer who’s good at being “creative” rather than a website producer who’s good at building a profitable and engaging website.

Let’s face it, some web designers are more like gifted artists than savvy business professionals.

They can make exquisitely beautiful web sites that nearly take your breath away (of course, they charge a premium for this as well).

The thing is, many business owners don’t need a beautiful website…they need a profitable one.

Aside from some artistic industries (such as photography, graphic design, film making), having a beautiful website does not directly translate into profit for the business. In fact, most industries have an entirely different set of requirements for being profitable.

The specific factors for making a successful website really depend on the type of business and how a web presence fits into the company’s overall marketing strategy.

Key success factors include things like:

  • User Interface Design – This is the process of walking a visitor through an experience on your site rather than just dropping them into a mess of options (which can overwhelm them on a mental level). User Interface Design is all about making sure your site is easy to understand and navigate through.
  • Copywriting/Salescopy - Websites are not just about throwing up information and hoping the customer calls you. It’s about speaking directly to their needs, connecting with them on an emotional level, and letting them know how your product or service is going to make their life easier. This is where successful salescopy comes in, so you can change visitors into prospects and then into customers.
  • Marketing/Relationship Building – This is all about giving away valuable information to the visitors in exchange for their email address, then following up with an automated personalized email system that builds a relationship with them and keeps drawing them back to your site.
  • Search Engine Optimizing & Marketing – This is all about showing up in the top 10 in Google’s search results for industry specific keywords. This one factor can make or break a website (especially if the site is not built “search engine friendly”).

As you can see, there’s a lot more to creating a successful website than simply making it look nice. Your best bet is to find someone who understands these components and can walk you through the steps to creating a successful web strategy.

Now, those who aren’t aware of these factors will make the next mistake…

4. They start the project without having a clear idea of what they want in a website.

This one is pretty much a no-brainer yet I still see business owners do it all the time. They think it’s time for them to create a website so they go out looking for someone to make one yet they lack a clear idea of why.

They often seem to think that the web guy will figure out the entire web strategy for them.

As it turns out, we’re not mind readers (darn, I know), and the clearer our job is, the faster we can get exactly what you want finished and sent back to you for your final approval.

Business owners that jump into a project without a clear idea of what they want, run into 2 serious risks:

  1. Slowing the project down to a standstill
  2. Making too many costly changes midway through the project.

Without a clear direction for a website, the project will drift along like a sailboat lost in the middle of the ocean, instead of being the speed boat racing from the mainland to the tropical island paradise in the blink of an eye.

Website producers don’t want to make your important business strategy decisions for you. Remember, you understand your customer best, you must shape your web strategy to fit your market.

The other part of this is making too many changes. Too many big or small changes can drive up costs like you wouldn’t believe.

The Reason:  Once a site’s in progress, changes that would have been painless if handled in the planning stage, become disastrous midway through the project.

Once information systems are set up, changes can add a level of complexity that can drive any website producer nuts.

This doesn’t mean you need to know all the specific technical details of what you want. All you need to have is a mental picture of how you want the site to look roughly (perhaps provide some example competitor websites) and a description of how you want it function (ie, a visitor enters their email here, this pops up, they then click the menu, etc).

Simple planning like this can speed the project along and save you lots of time and money (not to mention, headaches).

This brings us to our last major mistake…

5. The business owner subconsciously believes in a strategy that says “if you build it, they (their customers) will come” instead of implementing a targeted and engaging online marketing strategy.

This one is a bit more subtle yet a big one, especially with the baby boomer generation.

For some reason, they have this notion that simply creating a website will tap them into this marketing pipeline known as “the internet” that will magically funnel hundreds of targeted visitors daily to their website, leading to many sales and happy customers.

The Reality:  Most websites need to build a web presence. Aside from large corporations that can launch a website in days, most sites need constant marketing efforts to grow (especially in the beginning).

New marketing channels such as social networks, video networks, mobile communities, search engine advertising and publishing, blogging and more, can fly right over the head of a business owner who’s inexperienced in terms of creating a sustainable online marketing campaign.

These types of strategies depend on what product or service is being offered through the website, the business owner’s budget, and other factors.

The Main Idea:  The website producer should explain the reality of the situation beforehand, so that the business owners expectations are grounded and practical.

This way they have a good idea of the kind of time, money and energy that’s needed to accomplish the their goals.

Conclusion

Now that you’re aware of the pitfalls, use this knowledge to find a skilled website producer (one who knows the business aspects of creating a website, not just the technical aspects) and create a successful extension of your business (or start a new one) with the support of a web professional who will guide you in the right direction.

If you’re currently looking for help creating a website and this article sparked some energy in you, then I invite you to contact me to see if we’d be a good match in getting your web project off and running.

You get the benefit of having your website created by a website producer who’s also a business owner/entrepreneur. To view some of my own ventures, click the New Ventures tab at the top. If you’re ready to start or would like more information, please call me at (562) 858 9901. I can work in person or via telephone and email.

Clients

Recent Clients:

portfolio_kdikio_smallKdikio Vintage is a website featuring vintage jewelry and accessories, and forums for fresh fashion ideas.

The site features an e-commerce store, an interactive blog, a photo gallery,  slideshow front page, and several other features, all within the business owner’s control.

This site was done for a quarter of the cost that other web developers had quoted it at, and was finished in about 3 months.

Previous Clients:

the tech hero clients

Companies I have worked with:

the tech hero worked with

Contact

562 858 9901

New Ventures

Below are some of my own personal ventures that I, along with my partner Reuben Fine, developed and still run today.

.

Turnkey Flyers Real estate flyer templates

Turnkey Flyers offers a print quality real estate flyer template package for agents and brokers.

The package contains 9 professionally designed print-quality templates, each of which come in 3 formats: MS Publisher, Photoshop, and JPG.

Simply download the package and create professional real estate flyers in minutes for the rest of your real estate career.

TurnkeyFlyers.com was developed to simplify the property marketing process for the real estate agent, saving time, money and effort.

iBreadCrumbs is a Social Network for Researchers to Share Recorded URLs, Track Websites, Review Notes Online, and Encourage Online Collaborative Research.

iBreadCrumbs.com is a recording toolbar for your web browser. Similar to what a DVR does for tv, iBreadCrumbs.com records all the web pages you visit while you research. Save, review, and share your research with friends or colleagues.

iBreadCrumbs allows students, researchers, and professors to organize the world’s data into narrow research “breadcrumbs” or click-streams.

References

“I pretty much made each of the top 5 mistakes Rey mentions when hiring a web designer and went months past my deadline for launching my site. It was so difficult finding someone to just get the job done. Then I found Rey (the tech hero!) who handled everything quickly, honestly, and professionally. I told him exactly what I envisioned and wanted for my website, and he laid out what each thing was going to cost me and how he would go about creating it. He was so straightforward, I kept waiting for the catch, but there wasn’t one! He just listened to what I wanted and did everything he could to do just that.
I was very new to running a business and Rey was so helpful answering any question I had with what may work best because he knows what it takes from every aspect from design to programming to entrepreneurship, even to marketing… This man knows his stuff! Rey honored the price he gave me from the beginning without question. Once you start working with The Tech Hero, you will be surprised how smoothly your website will be created!”

-Kristen Dikio, Owner of KDikio Vintage

The Top 5 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Hiring a Website Producer

After years of creating websites for friends, family, and business owners, I’ve come to notice several big mistakes that people (especially business owners) make when they start creating a website.

Often times they have mis-hired and the project is not only way past deadline, it’s also progressing at a snails pace.

This is where I step in and fix the situation (which usually means we have to start over from scratch).

The Result: The business owner wastes a lot of time, money, and worst of all, they experience tremendous stress worrying about the whole thing for several months (or years).

I’ve written this article to help those business owners about to embark on the journey of web development, in order that they may find their experience fast, efficient, and inspiring rather than slow, unorganized, and hopeless.

Below I outline the 5 biggest mistakes that business owners make when hiring a website producer.

1. They hire the slow, inexperienced, local freelancer, instead of the fast, efficient, global team leader.

What is the biggest reason for a web project to slow to a screeching halt?

Why do some web guys seem to just drag the work out over months?

Let me take you into the world of the slow, inexperienced, guy next door.

A freelancer will meet with you and review your needs in a website and say “Yeah, I can do this for you, no problem.” They will then start the project and make some progress and everything will seem to be going smoothly.

Then, as more of the site comes together, the guy realizes a few things:

  1. He underestimated how long it will actually take to create this website and now he is working for less than he planned.
  2. He came across some technically challenging issue in the site that requires something even more time-consuming than regular web work…Learning New Code!

Now his motivation to work on the site drops like a rock in water, since he not only has to work at a lower rate, he now has to invest his personal time and mental energy into learning something new (that he probably won’t use on any future projects).

What does he do?

He does what anyone would in his situation…He Procrastinates!

He takes on new jobs. He avoids that project for as long as possible because it literally hurts to even think about.

What’s the solution?

It’s to have hired the fast, efficient, global team leader in the first place.

What advantages does the global team leader have over the local freelancer?

The biggest and most important advantage to the global professional is his ability to leverage outsourcing (when appropriate) to cut costs, get more done in less time, and access a worldwide network of highly-skilled knowledge workers, all without breaking a sweat.

The global professional works with not only with his own clients (to understand their needs in creating a website), but also in collaboration with other skilled professionals from around the world.

This means he has developed a higher level of organization, resourcefulness, and professionalism.

If you’re new to outsourcing, let me break it down for you.

Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of knowledge workers (programmers, designers, marketers, researchers, legal aids, assistants, copywriters, telemarketers, ghostwriters, etc) in places such as Ukraine, Romania, Argentina, Indian, Brazil, Canada, United States, England, and more, all competing for the chance to serve your needs.

They are about as skilled as Americans (in some cases they are better or worse) yet they work at a fraction of the cost (we are talking 50%-70% less), and they live by their reputation (aka, by how satisfied you are with their work).

Throughout the past 10 years of creating web sites, I’ve transitioned from being the local freelancer, to the global team leader by developing and launching my own venture; a social network for students and teachers to share and publish their online research (called iBreadCrumbs).

This project has taken several years of planning, implementing, testing and refining.

Through this time, my partner Reuben Fine and I have hired many small and large teams to assist us along the way.

Think of it like taking one project and splitting it into many small parts, then hiring a professional (or team of professionals) to complete each part.

We’ve hired professionals to help us with programming, graphic design, public relations, bug testing, copywriting, user interface design, legal contracts, administrative support, marketing, research, and more.

We’ve been able to create a large scale web application at a fraction of the cost that start-ups typically spend, and with no employees.

As we continue to build and market this venture, I still do a limited number of web jobs for clients.

Since I have so many resources at my finger tips, I’m able to complete many webjobs simultaneously, utilizing this network of skilled knowledge workers and proven technology systems, and still charge less than the slow local guy.

(If you are interested in creating a website, contact me at (562) 858-9901).

This brings us to our second major mistake by business owners…

2. They stick with the slow, inexperienced, local guy because they’ve invested so much time and the site is “almost” done, instead of cutting their losses and hiring the right professional to complete the job.

Although this is related to #1, it deserves its own mention since it’s so common and disastrous.

As if it weren’t bad enough to hire the wrong person, now the business owner endures the prolonged suffering of the project that never ends!

Deep down the owner knows he mis-hired, now its just a matter of overcoming the additional pain of admitting his mistake and starting over.

It’s like taking off a band-aide from a painful wound; do you want to do it fast or agonizingly slow? Either way its coming off.

Look, if you picked the wrong guy, don’t beat yourself up. It happens, you’re human.

It’s ok.

Right now you have an opportunity to start over, from wherever you are.

If you’re guy is taking too long, give him a firm deadline and tell him you’re walking if it’s not done by then (it helps if you haven’t paid for everything upfront).

Don’t be afraid to let go and start over. It’s a very empowering feeling to let go of the mental weight of a stressful project.

This brings us to the third mistake that business owners make…

3. They hire a web designer who’s good at being “creative” rather than a website producer who’s good at building a profitable and engaging website.

Let’s face it, some web designers are more like gifted artists than savvy business professionals.

They can make exquisitely beautiful web sites that nearly take your breath away (of course, they charge a premium for this as well).

The thing is, many business owners don’t need a beautiful website…they need a profitable one.

Aside from some artistic industries (such as photography, graphic design, film making), having a beautiful website does not directly translate into profit for the business. In fact, most industries have an entirely different set of requirements for being profitable.

The specific factors for making a successful website really depend on the type of business and how a web presence fits into the company’s overall marketing strategy.

Key success factors include things like:

  • User Interface Design – This is the process of walking a visitor through an experience on your site rather than just dropping them into a mess of options (which can overwhelm them on a mental level). User Interface Design is all about making sure your site is easy to understand and navigate through.
  • Copywriting/Salescopy - Websites are not just about throwing up information and hoping the customer calls you. It’s about speaking directly to their needs, connecting with them on an emotional level, and letting them know how your product or service is going to make their life easier. This is where successful salescopy comes in, so you can change visitors into prospects and then into customers.
  • Marketing/Relationship Building – This is all about giving away valuable information to the visitors in exchange for their email address, then following up with an automated personalized email system that builds a relationship with them and keeps drawing them back to your site.
  • Search Engine Optimizing & Marketing – This is all about showing up in the top 10 in Google’s search results for industry specific keywords. This one factor can make or break a website (especially if the site is not built “search engine friendly”).

As you can see, there’s a lot more to creating a successful website than simply making it look nice. Your best bet is to find someone who understands these components and can walk you through the steps to creating a successful web strategy.

Now, those who aren’t aware of these factors will make the next mistake…

4. They start the project without having a clear idea of what they want in a website.

This one is pretty much a no-brainer yet I still see business owners do it all the time. They think it’s time for them to create a website so they go out looking for someone to make one yet they lack a clear idea of why.

They often seem to think that the web guy will figure out the entire web strategy for them.

As it turns out, we’re not mind readers (darn, I know), and the clearer our job is, the faster we can get exactly what you want finished and sent back to you for your final approval.

Business owners that jump into a project without a clear idea of what they want, run into 2 serious risks:

  1. Slowing the project down to a standstill
  2. Making too many costly changes midway through the project.

Without a clear direction for a website, the project will drift along like a sailboat lost in the middle of the ocean, instead of being the speed boat racing from the mainland to the tropical island paradise in the blink of an eye.

Website producers don’t want to make your important business strategy decisions for you. Remember, you understand your customer best, you must shape your web strategy to fit your market.

The other part of this is making too many changes. Too many big or small changes can drive up costs like you wouldn’t believe.

The Reason:  Once a site’s in progress, changes that would have been painless if handled in the planning stage, become disastrous midway through the project.

Once information systems are set up, changes can add a level of complexity that can drive any website producer nuts.

This doesn’t mean you need to know all the specific technical details of what you want. All you need to have is a mental picture of how you want the site to look roughly (perhaps provide some example competitor websites) and a description of how you want it function (ie, a visitor enters their email here, this pops up, they then click the menu, etc).

Simple planning like this can speed the project along and save you lots of time and money (not to mention, headaches).

This brings us to our last major mistake…

5. The business owner subconsciously believes in a strategy that says “if you build it, they (their customers) will come” instead of implementing a targeted and engaging online marketing strategy.

This one is a bit more subtle yet a big one, especially with the baby boomer generation.

For some reason, they have this notion that simply creating a website will tap them into this marketing pipeline known as “the internet” that will magically funnel hundreds of targeted visitors daily to their website, leading to many sales and happy customers.

The Reality:  Most websites need to build a web presence. Aside from large corporations that can launch a website in days, most sites need constant marketing efforts to grow (especially in the beginning).

New marketing channels such as social networks, video networks, mobile communities, search engine advertising and publishing, blogging and more, can fly right over the head of a business owner who’s inexperienced in terms of creating a sustainable online marketing campaign.

These types of strategies depend on what product or service is being offered through the website, the business owner’s budget, and other factors.

The Main Idea:  The website producer should explain the reality of the situation beforehand, so that the business owners expectations are grounded and practical.

This way they have a good idea of the kind of time, money and energy that’s needed to accomplish the their goals.

Conclusion

Now that you’re aware of the pitfalls, use this knowledge to find a skilled website producer (one who knows the business aspects of creating a website, not just the technical aspects) and create a successful extension of your business (or start a new one) with the support of a web professional who will guide you in the right direction.

If you’re currently looking for help creating a website and this article sparked some energy in you, then I invite you to contact me to see if we’d be a good match in getting your web project off and running.

You get the benefit of having your website created by a website producer who’s also a business owner/entrepreneur. To view some of my own ventures, click the New Ventures tab at the top. If you’re ready to start or would like more information, please call me at (562) 858 9901. I can work in person or via telephone and email.

Clients

Recent Clients:

portfolio_kdikio_smallKdikio Vintage is a website featuring vintage jewelry and accessories, and forums for fresh fashion ideas.

The site features an e-commerce store, an interactive blog, a photo gallery,  slideshow front page, and several other features, all within the business owner’s control.

This site was done for a quarter of the cost that other web developers had quoted it at, and was finished in about 3 months.

Previous Clients:

the tech hero clients

Companies I have worked with:

the tech hero worked with

Contact

562 858 9901

New Ventures

Below are some of my own personal ventures that I, along with my partner Reuben Fine, developed and still run today.

.

Turnkey Flyers Real estate flyer templates

Turnkey Flyers offers a print quality real estate flyer template package for agents and brokers.

The package contains 9 professionally designed print-quality templates, each of which come in 3 formats: MS Publisher, Photoshop, and JPG.

Simply download the package and create professional real estate flyers in minutes for the rest of your real estate career.

TurnkeyFlyers.com was developed to simplify the property marketing process for the real estate agent, saving time, money and effort.

iBreadCrumbs is a Social Network for Researchers to Share Recorded URLs, Track Websites, Review Notes Online, and Encourage Online Collaborative Research.

iBreadCrumbs.com is a recording toolbar for your web browser. Similar to what a DVR does for tv, iBreadCrumbs.com records all the web pages you visit while you research. Save, review, and share your research with friends or colleagues.

iBreadCrumbs allows students, researchers, and professors to organize the world’s data into narrow research “breadcrumbs” or click-streams.

References

“I pretty much made each of the top 5 mistakes Rey mentions when hiring a web designer and went months past my deadline for launching my site. It was so difficult finding someone to just get the job done. Then I found Rey (the tech hero!) who handled everything quickly, honestly, and professionally. I told him exactly what I envisioned and wanted for my website, and he laid out what each thing was going to cost me and how he would go about creating it. He was so straightforward, I kept waiting for the catch, but there wasn’t one! He just listened to what I wanted and did everything he could to do just that.
I was very new to running a business and Rey was so helpful answering any question I had with what may work best because he knows what it takes from every aspect from design to programming to entrepreneurship, even to marketing… This man knows his stuff! Rey honored the price he gave me from the beginning without question. Once you start working with The Tech Hero, you will be surprised how smoothly your website will be created!”

-Kristen Dikio, Owner of KDikio Vintage