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by Barry Welford

Senior Money Memos

Websites - BC or SF?

  • Do you want a website?

  • Are you wondering what type of website you need?

  • Do you have a website that doesn't do much for you?

If you answer 'Yes" to one of these questions, then SMM can help you.

SMM does not design websites. SMM teams with you so that you can expertly commission the right website from a skilled web designer. With SMM you'll work within your budget to develop the most selling effective website. You will get maximum bang for your bucks. If you're concerned about a website, then SMM can help you in your decision-making.

The nature of websites

Clearly there are a wide variety of websites that can cost a wide range of prices. They are designed for a wide variety of audiences. Some include large volumes of text while others are filled with images. They may even display video files or podcasts. What you may be surprised to learn is that most people are dissatisfied with how their websites perform. In some cases, the owners are frustrated or even angry at what they spent and how little they achieved.

With such varied possibilities in websites, how can the best combination be selected? Surprisingly there is a key decision that must be made up front. There is one fundamental characteristic of a website that is of critical importance. There are basically two types of website. One type can be labelled as "business card" (BC) websites. The other type we will label "selling force" (SF) websites.

The BC website

The label BC for business code websites is almost self-explanatory. What are some features of a business card?

  • only seen by a prospect if you give it to them
  • can be impressive if done well
  • sometimes created by graphic designers
  • looks exactly the same to all
  • rarely seen by others

These same features also apply to a BC website. Such websites are often created by designers who only make this type of website. Sometimes they are entirely in Flash; occasionally they're in Frames; sometimes they're mostly images with very little text.

Some CEOs are impressed by such websites and select a BC website without realizing the implications. Sadly unless they check on how their website is performing, they may never realize that no one ever sees what they hoped would be so impressive. The key problem is that BC websites are almost invisible to the search engines. It is no consolation that, since such websites can be made by a large number of people, the cost of such a website can be minimal.

The SF website

The Internet has been a transforming agent on many of the ways human beings interact. Its supreme advantage is that it helps people make connections with one another. Many prospects will search for products or services on the Web. If a website is visible to search engines, then it may well be found in such a search. Once found, it should be constructed in such a way that visitors are immediately attracted to what is on offer and can navigate the website to find any information they need. This is complex since visitors may be using a wide variety of devices and Internet browsers to check out Web pages. A website that performs well is labelled a SF website for Selling Force website.

The features of a good SF website are as follows:

  • easily found through search engines
  • can be impressive if done well
  • always created by skilled web designers
  • good user experience for almost all visitors
  • has good visitor traffic
  • helps to create sales

In some ways a good SF website is similar to a sales representative. Such a representative needs to be contacting many prospects and then must be skilled in converting all sales opportunities into actual sales.

Building a selling effective website is not easy. There are many ways in which a website can be less than 100% effective. A skilled web designer understands the issues and knows how to apply effective solutions. Just as an illustration, a good web designer will use web design standards in designing the website, but will understand the anomalies introduced by the different versions of Internet Explorer. It is a false economy to select a cheaper web designer, who may not be fully competent. At best a certain percentage of website visitors will not be able to see the website as it should be seen. At worst the website will be unviewable in certain browsers.

When a BC website may be appropriate

If you know that search engine traffic will not be coming to your website, then a BC website may be appropriate. Here are some of the situations where this may apply:

  • a SOHO entrepreneur working in a very competitive field
  • a website that will be heavily promoted through advertising (either traditional or online)
  • a website whose fame will spread through Buzz marketing

A BC website is not inferior to a SF website. It may well be the most appropriate given the owner's objectives. Remember that the Internet gives access to the world. If you own a plumbing contractor company, then you are trying to be visible in your local area. Provided you have a minimal website (a BC website), then prospects may well find your website through a local directory. That may be a much more reliable route than hoping they would ever find your website in Google.

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Can a SF website be low cost?

Your products and services may well offer unique advantages to potential customers. For that reason, you would really like to have a SF website that can help you sell. Can such a website be done "on the cheap"? Remember that the website must be visible in the search engines and also help to convert prospects to customers. Those two requirements imply a website that is constructed with some skill.

This does not rule out a website that is constructed very economically, if you are willing to put in some effort yourself. A website that is based around a blog is particularly effective. The WordPress blogging software is freely available and is very user friendly. It may still be worthwhile to have a web designer create the template for the website, but thereafter you could develop the full website yourself.

Are there other minimum cost ways of developing an Internet presence?

If what you are selling is very novel, then it may be that your "website" can be very minimal. What you are hoping is that as friends tell other friends about your website then they will go there to find out more information. There are a number of sites where such minimal websites can be created. Here are some of the free ones:

and there are a host more if you search for 'free websites'. Usually they are free because you are accepting that advertisements will also appear on the website.

Decisions, decisions...

If you are uncertain how best to take a decision on what website will most appropriate, then SMM would be most happy to give you advice on this. Write us a Message today on what you're looking for without obligation.

Barry Welford

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Added to website June 20, 2007

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