Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Question I Often Get Asked

As I'm building my website design business, I've been talking to a lot of people and one of the most common questions I get asked is "why should I hire a professional to create my website?"  Many people want to know what sets a professional from their friend who has an interest in websites or their neighbour who knows the basics.  That's a fair question.  There are a lot of people out there who advertise their services and at first glance when it comes to the price it does look appealing.  

But here is my answer to "why should I hire a professional website designer?"

You Get What You Pay For
If you want a site that looks fabulous no matter what device it is viewed on and makes use of the most modern tools, you need to hire someone who invests in their skills and not only stays on top of, but ahead of, trends.  And with that comes the old adage, you get what you pay for.  Someone who is constantly upgrading their skills and who uses the latest technology (and thus has to buy the latest programs, gadgets, etc) isn't going to be able to afford to work for you at minimum wage.  Like any business, their rates have to not only cover their cost of living, but also cover the overhead.

This is becoming even more important as more people are accessing the internet on their mobile devices than are accessing it from desktop computers or laptops.  If your website is not coded properly it will not appear correctly on all devices and this will become a major problem for you.  This is also the reason why I no longer will create websites that are not "responsive" in design, meaning they display graphics and text according to the device that is being used.  Yes it's more programming hours at first, but imagine how you'd feel if you knew half the visitors to your website were leaving because they were unable to view the content.  That is sadly the case for many websites right now.

There Are People Who Will Bail On You
I wish it wasn't the case but I can't tell you how many people have approached me, frantic for help, because their webmaster left them high and dry.  Sometimes in the actual sense that the person quit with little notice and didn't provide them with what they needed to get someone else to take over; but often in the sense that they got in over their head and started a project they couldn't finish correctly.  Then they bailed (or were unable to do anything) when everything went downhill.  

Programming a website can be complicated and if the person doing the work isn't comfortable with that level of programming, the results can be disastrous.  I love getting new clients and helping people achieve their goals, but I really dislike getting a new client because they were messed over by someone else.  Not only is it unfair to the client, but it gives a bad name to the industry.

Bringing Visitors Back Isn't A Thing Of Chance
Professionals know how to bring visitors to your website using things like search engine optimization, but just as important, they know how to make a site into one that people want to visit time and time again.  I'm involved with one website right now who gets just as many return visitors as they do new visitors and for what they do, the amount of both is impressive in my opinion.  And here's the secret: it wasn't anything too costly or complicated that turned their visitor trends around.  It was all about knowing why people were coming and knowing why they would want to come back.  You might not know the answer to that, but believe me, if you hire the right person they will and you will reap the benefits.  

Don't believe me?  Want to put this to the test?  Contact me and for no charge I will do an analysis of your website and give you a few tips to help you out.  If it works and you want to hire me, great, but I'll leave that up to you.  I just love helping people make their websites into tools that actually work for them!

Turn Around Time & Availability 
Someone who does websites on weekends or after hours might be able to give you a lower rate, but they also aren't going to be able to make themselves available to you like a full-time professional could.  When you hire a professional doing websites is their job and it's what they have chosen to invest themselves in.  Those kind of people aren't usually the kind to make you wait for days to have your site updated or the kind that won't pick up the phone when you're calling because there is an emergency.  If you have a website that is essential to your business, church, or organization you're going to want someone who makes your business their business and is committed to making sure your site is accessible and accurate at all times.

Final Thoughts
While I could use this space as a great opportunity to promote my business, I'm not going to do that.  Instead I'm going to encourage you- if you rely on your website as an essential part of what you do, please do yourself a favour, save yourself headaches and hire a professional.  A professional who can not only program a website that works for this moment in time, but who has the vision and knowledge to be able to create a platform for you that will attract new visitors and keep previous visitors coming back time and time again!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Learning To Stand Still

"If there's a road I should walk
Help me find it
If I need to be still 
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever your will
Can you help me find it?"

Sidewalk Prophets - Help Me Find It

Our lives move at a very busy pace and I've noticed that if I'm not careful my decisions can move at that same pace.  Maybe it's because if something is happening it makes me feel better than if I'm in a standstill, I don't know.  But what I am learning is that often there's great value in doing nothing about a situation and instead allowing ourselves to stand still for a moment or two or more.

In his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan wrote:

“I wrote this book because much of our talk doesn’t match our lives.  We say things like, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”  Then we live and plan like we don’t believe God even exists.  We try to set our lives up so everything will be fine even if God doesn’t come through.  But true faith means holding nothing back.  It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His promises.”

I don't want this to be me.  I don't want my life to be about trusting my backup plans instead of trusting God.  Or even worse, I don't want to have my life so figured out that I leave no room for God to take care of me or lead me.  After all, following Jesus should be just like that- following Him.  Not expecting Him to follow us wherever we decide we want to go.

So right now I'm standing still.  I'm making the choice not to jump ahead and figure out this section of the road by myself.  Instead I'm going to be still, wait, and not move a muscle until I know that I'm walking where God is leading.  Because what a tragedy that would be to reach the end of my days and find myself anywhere but right next to Him.

Friday, March 01, 2013

The Bible

I don't often get that excited about tv shows, but there is one series I can't wait to see: The Bible.

Roma Downey, start of Touched by an Angel and her husband Mark Burnet, the guy behind Survivor and Shark tank, have worked together to put together this 10-hour mini series that tells the story of the Bible from start to finish.  Through this series they attempt to tell "the grand sweeping embrace, the love story that is the Bible."

The series premiers this Sunday at 8 pm on the History Channel and will re-air Monday nights on Lifetime.