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Merchandy Web Design
Tale of a Contractual Blindside?
We’ve seen it time and time again. A business contracts for a new website with a high-tech, highly skilled and impressive web design firm, spends $4 to $10K, and ends up with a beautiful, responsive, mobile friendly, fast, and custom-coded website. The business owner, managers, and employees/agents are thrilled with the look and feel of the new website, and existing and new clientele comment on its flexibility, its sharp visuals, how it stands out among competitors, how it ‘pop’s…
Now, the owner/marketing director, as well as all partners and employees whose roles depend on being able to make alterations to the website, begin to experience the challenges of instant message/email communication back-and-forth with the IT folks at one or both of these firms. Tech/IT people are well-known for their poor communication and customer service abilities, and all parties in the business begin to experience frustrations, delays, bottlenecks in the effectiveness of their work because of the relationship/communication deficit that exists between the company and the technicians who hold the keys to even simple/basic edits to the website.
The employees/agents, and often, if they stay connected & have an ear to the ground, the owner, begin to really wish they had thought more about the empowerment, communication, and human relationship ramifications of hiring that super-advanced web design company. Learned helplessness begins to set in in subtle, not-obvious ways, but gradually, it impacts the attitudinal health of your people. The culture takes micro-steps from ‘energetic actor’ to ‘victim.’
A Weary and Uninspiring Business Model
If you’ve been in business long enough, you’ve come to discover that a variety of tech and online companies have a predictable business model that tells the story above over and over. It goes like this:
Up front, they offer compelling, expert, advanced-tech services for a fixed, single-payment ticket price ($7,000 for a fully built out website, let’s say).
Service and communication may well be SUPERB during the sales and fulfillment stages, but once the website is done, you and your team discover that even for basic updates to your site, advanced programming competence is required.
It is only at this point that you discover the unfortunate (for your pocketbook) source of this business’s ongoing revenue: a sustained-until-the-end-of-time monthly fee for all updates/changes to what is technically your website. It’s a triple hit.
Triple Hit Part 1: The Illusory and Powerful Oz
First, access to simple basics of websites like hosting, registration, installed software, etc. are hidden behind a wall of ‘expertise’ that keeps your whole company culture in a learned-helplessness mentality—’it’s WAY too advanced for me to learn about; who even knows the logins?’.
Triple Hit Part 2: Death By A Thousand Unnecessary Support Calls
Second, any update or change is only possible by going through an IT person (renowned, of course, for their teaching/people skills…) with your web-design company. You’ve been through it… does ‘submit a new support ticket’ ring a bell? How about, ‘click here to enter queue for live support chat’? What about your panicked phone call for help being met with highly technical explainings of the issue (with airs of ‘you’re not very smart’), rather than a simple, “I’m so sorry that happened. Let’s get it resolved right away.” Ever spent an hour communicating in words something that you could have banged out in two seconds if you knew how to? How were your mental RAM levels after that conversation? What about your inspiration gas tank? Your ‘DAMN! We kick ass!’ metrics? Nothing like monotonous conversation with an ‘expertise’ gatekeeper to drain the life-batteries.
Triple Hit Part 3: Can You Feel the Neural Pathways Shrinking?
Third, changes as simple as updating text/images on what needs to be a living, dynamic website are only editable by the same support teams. Well, besides the creation of dependency and its life-energy, mental-acuity, and productivity death grips (government-office bureaucratic asinine-ness can be alive and well in your business, too), consider that your competitors who’ve taken the few minutes to learn a good CMS can now leverage conversion-rate optimization tools like heat mapping and AABB split testing with the click of a few buttons. That happened in the first few minutes of this hour. What’s that? What were your people doing? Oh, they’re still on the phone with your IT folks. What are they doing? Oh, getting an image resized for the promo that ends tomorrow… Can you feel their neural pathways shrinking further and further gone into mediocrity? There are smarter and less-smart sides of this divide to be on. Where is your organization? And why?
Single Ticket Price, My Foot
The single, fixed price tag promoted by such firms is certainly disingenuous, as there is near-100% certainty that a website that complex will make a small business depend on a paid IT firm indefinitely. It certainly seems at the very least to be inconsiderate that this isn’t pointed out during the sales process. And aside from the monetary loss of it, the company-culture result of this setup is disempowerment, cut-off-ness from learning and growth, unnecessary frustration, and productivity bottlenecks. That’s the opposite of where you want your team going.
We’re not haters. We have nothing against such firms, and there are reasons for going with an ultra-code-heavy, customized website. That being said, is such a setup (and its actual price tag of $1K to $3K+ per month unto eternity) what’s best for your business? In our experience, the answer is, ‘no’—way more often than not.
The sense of anxiety produced by firms that keep everything hidden and ‘too complex for you’ reminds me of the way professors at universities hide behind their ultra-high IQs and thereby relieve themselves of the courtesy/empathy that would otherwise make them actually explain things and be helpful and put others into the driver’s seat of their lives and understandings. It’s the total ignorance of web design, hosting, CMSs (content management systems like WordPress) that leads otherwise ultra-bright and endeavoring business owners to shell out $1500 a month for ‘web design, support, SEO, and hosting.’ Ever come across a business website that looks like it was built in the 1990s and ranks nowhere in search? Have compassion! It is likely costing some swindled biz owner that much every single month. It’s not their fault; they’ve been deceived into thinking having a website is an ‘experts only’ area; they tense up and say ‘no’ to a new web developer because of the anxiety that’s been so ingrained into them by the ‘it’s beyond your abilities’ posturing they receive every time they need to do a page edit.
The Solution for Your Team?
Wouldn’t it be nice to work with a web design team where the end result is a world-class website, no ongoing fees or ‘service’ plan, all the tools to make your web address alive and well, and increased competency in all things technical for yourself and every member of your team?
We don’t build a website and a dependency. We build a website and a growth-oriented relationship. We educate and empower teams to full competence in website updating/editing, and train/coach in the use of any and all tools that a business partner of ours is ready to try out. Our website build-out truly is a single, fixed-ticket price, and that includes face-to-face reviews and edits with us—Kris and Will. That’s right—we are real, live human beings. We live and work in Austin, and actually physically walk to our cars, get in, and bring our bodies to in-person, real meetings with our client-partners. Your website isn’t finished until you’re thrilled about it, and our pricing includes trainings for any / all members of your staff who need them. Most of our client-partners end up choosing to continue working with us to benefit from our other offerings, like search optimization, paid-search advertising, and social media marketing. But regardless of whether you sign on for these or not, our ongoing coaching and assistance keep your people growing in competency and competitive advantage. We’re running a special right now that includes two months of full-on search engine optimization work, complementary when you bring us on to build your new website. Click “get started” below, or reach out to us at 512-547-7162 or here.