You finally decide your company needs a new website, but you have no idea who to call. You check the yellow pages, Google web design, ask friends and family, and you’re still overwhelmed with all the choices. Who do you call when your brother-in-laws sisters boyfriend will do the job for $500. “We Are Web Sites”, the best web shop on the internet, will build your site for $2,000 and, “The Interactive Agency” down the street wants ten times that amount for a website and an integrated marketing campaign.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an online expert who knows all the new technology or you know about this “World Wide Web thingy” that’s kind of cool, picking a company to build your website can be a daunting task. In the following article I will explain some of the key differences between a web shop and an interactive agency and what you should expect from both.
Your Brother-in-Laws Sisters Boyfriend
Don’t do it! No really; don’t do this. After months of stress and frustration (because the basketball game with his buddies was more important than working on your site) you will end up with a website that looks like, well, you paid $500 to your brother-in-laws sisters boyfriend to build. Remember your website is the face of your company to millions of online people. Is this the image you want to portray?
The Web Shop
There are several different types of web shops. There is the design centric shop, the technology centric shop and the canned – just add your own copy and pictures and have an online presence today – type of shop. With the design centric shop your site will look great. It will portray exactly what the designer thinks of your company. With the technology centric shop your site will have all the bells and whistles whether you use them or not, and with the canned shop you will be forced to form your site around their cookie cutter solution.
No matter which of the three “web shop” solutions you choose there are several constants you can be sure of. Your business needs, determining who your consumer is and what they are looking for, search engine optimization, and your overall marketing plan will not be considered. Now, I’m not saying these are bad designers and programmers. They are probably great at what they do. What I am saying is that they either don’t have the time, desire, or knowledge to create the true online tool your business and your customers deserve.
The Interactive Agency
The interactive agency approaches websites as an extension of your entire marketing plan. They focus on your brand, and integrating your digital marketing campaigns into your overall marketing plan. The starting point for any interactive agency is learning who you are, learning your competition and, understanding your consumer. The second step is information design. Interactive agencies take what they learned in the first step and organize it in a way that creates straight forward navigation, and presents information on your website to best meet your consumer’s needs. This is the heart of a consumer centric website. For a detailed look at consumer centric websites watch for my next blog. Step three consists of the actual site design and build. Interactive agencies utilize a team of highly skilled designers and programmers to create your website. The design team creates an aesthetic, yet simple to use, look and feel focused on keeping the consumer engaged. The programming team takes into account consumer usability, accessibility and, search engine optimization. When complete your website will pass all validation testing, and will be well guarded against common hacking practices.
The job of the interactive agency doesn’t end with completion of your website. Your Website is only the beginning, the creation of what should become the backbone of your entire marketing plan. Now it’s time to look at, among other things, social media, pay per click campaigns, banner ads, email campaigns, product specific micro sites, personalized URL’s (PURLS) and, integration of digital marketing into traditional marketing efforts. The interactive agency is never far away. As your strategic partner they will routinely review, test and recommend upgrades to ensure it remains up to date, relative in search engine results and, in compliance with the latest best practice recommendations.
So now you understand that yes, anyone can build a website but to get the most out of your marketing efforts an interactive agency is the best solution. To find out how your business could benefit from using a full service interactive agency call Force 5 today at 574-234-2060 for send us an email at [email protected] to schedule your discovery meeting.