By Braden Walker
Web Director, TXAD Internet Services
In my last article I gave five questions to ask any web company that you are working with. Now its time to look at why these questions will essentially make or break your website and possibly the majority of your marketing strategy.
The first question is, “Does this web company focus primarily on my industry?” I’ve already spoken about the importance of working with someone who knows the campground industry. The biggest issue you are going to run into is that if your site is not setup correctly, if it isn’t attractive, if it doesn’t hit all those buttons that campers and RVers are looking for, you will have possibly lost a customer. I’ve dealt with quite a few campgrounds that are ranking well in the search engines, but their website is not meeting the needs of their potential customers and so they lose out because their site visitors leave and go somewhere else.
The second question is, “How many clients does this web company have that are like my business?” I just recently was dealing with a client that had their website redone by someone who doesn’t have a site of their own and has never worked with the campground industry. If the company you hire doesn’t have a site of their own, do yourself a favor and end the conversation. How can someone who builds websites for others be taken seriously if they don’t have one of their own? If they don’t see the importance of having their own site, how can they take your site seriously and deliver exactly what you need.
The third question is, “Is this web company staying up to date with not only the web industry, but also my industry?” There is a reason that we as a web company spend so much to go to industry shows, and that is to keep up with what is going on in the industry and to make connections. We make strategic partnerships with industry leaders and stay on top of what is important. You are not going to get that with just any web company. It is incredibly important to know that the company you are dealing with has a history and knows what works in your industry.
Let me give you another recent example of a website rebuild gone awry. A campground hired an individual, not a company, to rebuild their site that has had no experience in this industry. The rebuilt website looked 10 years older than the current site and didn’t meet current standards and eliminated a ton of pictures that the original site had. This is bad news. If you want to appeal to site visitors, you don’t eliminate pictures, you increase the amount of quality pictures and video.
The fourth question is, “What is the company’s reputation?” Reputation is important. It will hopefully lead you to the best people to work with. This leads back to questions two and three and you can find reputable companies by looking at their work and talking with their clients. I’ve seen so many campgrounds be taken advantage of because this question wasn’t asked and researched. Take a look at the top industry websites and look to see who built them, ask for references, get to know who you are dealing with so that you get exactly what you need.
Lastly, question five is, “Are they educating and trying to help the industry they are working with?” This plays into all of these questions and can easily be seen by anyone. The companies that are working hard to educate their clientele, to help them make great decisions and are following through with what they promise is what you need. This is the line that separates the companies who have a lot invested in your industry and your success and those that don’t.
Let me finish by saying this, your web presence is incredibly important this day in age and you need to take it serious if you want to compete. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your website is your 24/7 sales person. If you invest properly in this tool, you’ll reap the rewards, if you don’t then you won’t. Its time to stop looking at websites as something anyone with a computer can do.
It’s time to stop taking the cheapest route by giving the responsibility of one of your most important tools for business to a friend’s kid or the lowest bidder. If you want to increase your business and continue to grow, you need the help of an industry expert to give you the tools to do that. Its an investment that will pay for itself over and over throughout the years.
Braden Walker is the web director for TXAD Internet Services. He can be reached by calling 877.518.1989 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.