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The first question I ask every new client is "Why? Why do you think you need a website?"

When making the business case for spending money, in any arena, or pursing a new market, the first question we ask ourselves as business owners is (or should be) "Why". To often the answer we return with is, "because someone else is doing it" and when it comes to developing your online visibility, that is too often the case.

Why do you need a website?

Recently, I asked this question of a new client and he was caught off guard. It wasn't a question that he had considered. But after a few moments of intensive thought, he responded with a well-reasoned, thoughtful response. At that point, he began to consider how visitors would become engaged in the site, what message would be delivered, and how he and his partner would use the website as a sales tool. He began to visualize what the site would look like and how clients would navigate the site, the information that would be included in the site, and how it would be constructed.

Stephen Covey said it best when he said "Start with the end in mind."

Not every business type needs a website. It's true. How often do you Google gas stations in your area, visit their websites, and then make decisions on whether to pump gas at Jimmy's Gas Shack or Cordova's Feed & Fuel? While a web presence is critical, even for gas stations, websites are not necessarily the answer to increasing business, profits and growing the customer base. In the case of gas station, a highly concentrated effort for listings in Location Based Social Networks is a more worthwhile investment as opposed to building out a website with amazing Flash videos of tires being aired up.

While website designers are a dime a dozen, a great website developer is worth his/her weight in gold. They are less interested in creating a cool looking website, and will instead work with you to develop a conduit to successfully achieve your business goals. In order to do so, we will always ask you the question:

Why do you need a website?

Eric Tompkins
iDesign Web Solutions

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Comment by Eric Tompkins on September 14, 2010 at 5:13pm
Steve,
You are correct. Websites are about a dime a dozen these days. Fortunately for my business, a large percentage of our clients are those that made their website a "no brainer" and purchased a website that fails to deliver results. The adage "you get what you pay for" certainly holds true with website design & development.
Comment by SteveVox on September 14, 2010 at 3:50pm
It's so cheap to have a web site. I think it's a no brainer no matter what type of business you have.
Comment by Justin Lukasavige on September 14, 2010 at 2:04pm
Great points, Eric. I just got off the phone with someone who is building a website. I pointed out how it would be helpful to focus on determining his brand and a 3-year vision and he had never thought about it before.

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