Speaking Geek: A Business Owner's Guide

PublisherSol Minion Developmenthttps:https://assets.solminion.co/logo.svg?mtime=20200915165531&focal=nonePublishedcustom developmentsoftware developmentapplication developmentsmall business

So you're a new business and you need to establish your presence online. Or perhaps you've been in business a while and your online identity could use a bit of an upgrade. But where do you start? It can be intimidating talking to someone about your Web site. It's your livelihood and outsourcing the creation and/or maintenance to someone else that may or may not understand your business is known to cause heartburn until trust is established.

When searching for the right person to establish or reinvigorate your digital branding, it's important to know what to expect.

1. BE READY TO PARTICIPATE IN A CONVERSATION.

Building a Web site or developing custom software (whether it's a Web or mobile app) requires some pretty specialized skills. Good developers spend their days mastering these skills, but we aren't experts at every business. As a client, you should be prepared to answer questions about the challenges you would like to address – whether it's a marketing or operational and what your goals for the site are. The more we know about your business and how it works, the more likely the solution will address your specific problem.

2. GET THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE JOB.

There's a difference between a Web designer and a Web developer. If you're trying to solve a marketing or branding issue, a designer is well-versed with the artistic side of the Web. If you're trying to solve some kind of operational challenge with technology, a developer will be a better choice. They can create (and deliver) the customized software you need to manage your business operations. Most reputable firms will have both designers and developers available for your project, but if you're trying to choose a freelancer, this distinction can be very important for your project.

3. GET MORE THAN ONE PROPOSAL.

As with everything, it pays to shop around. Talk to more than one person. Some developers are a jack-of-all-trades and can work on any kind of site and others might be very specialized and only do ecommerce sites or only marketing sites. If you can find one with a niche, it might save you some money and get you something the others couldn't give you. Design can be very subjective, so it's important to find a designer or firm that produces sites that are visually appealing to you. Review the portfolio of any individual or company you're considering and see what you think of their past work. If they don't have a portfolio you can view online, see if they can provide you with a couple recent sites they've produced.

4. CHEAPER ISN'T ALWAYS BETTER.

Sure, you can probably get a great marketing (“brochure”) site for $250 to $500 that updates your presence online, but there are probably a dozens or more sites that look remarkably similar. Not to mention, if your challenges are operational, that brochure site doesn't do you any good. However, if all you need is a basic online marketing brochure and the similarity to other sites on the Web isn't a priority for you, then it absolutely suits your needs and you should go for it. Just like any job interview, get to know your candidates and don't be afraid to test them by bringing along a tech-savvy colleague that you trust. Make sure the person you select for the project understands you and your project.

Keep each of these points in mind as you seek to out the right firm to modernize your marketing plan and your project is sure to be a success.