Why Business Owners Must Take Web Design Into Their Own Hands

I dare anyone.

Go Ahead Punk. Tweet My Day.

And I mean ANYONE to challenge me on this one.

.Web and Graphic designers; those artsy and creative folks follow ONE of two objectives when you hire them to design YOUR website or blog.

  • They either follow their muse or
  • They look to please the guy signing the check.

More times than not, designers are looking to please the buyer; the business owner paying for the web design services.

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So how can a Web Designer ensure his design is accepted and the client is happy?

The Web Designer will include a lot of owner-ego content.

You know what no one wants to buy? Your ego. But your Facebook friends would love to read this, so Facebook the ego.

They do this by including the picture of the owner, the name of the owner, the accomplishments of the owner, etc.

They do this because it works.

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We all love seeing ourselves in “print” and we all love having our egos stroked. But THAT is not going to make YOU any sales.

We are not trying to develop a cult of personality here. We all know how that ends.

Your website/blog should be about one thing and ONE THING only.

The viewer. The visitor. The prospect. The potential future customer. Ok, that’s like four things bet they’re all the same.

Call it what you will, the focus of the website MUST BE on the visitor.

People visiting your website are alien visitors. They are scared and are not sure what to do. Make them feel welcomed. G ahead. Google Buzz the Alien. You know you want to.

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This is why business owners MUST take the direction of the design into their own damn hands.

Did you know that you can learn how to deploy a website that looks better than 90% of garbage you see on the Internet and deploy it over the weekend?

It only takes a few hours to learn WordPress fundamentals.

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It only takes few hours to learn the necessary components of what’s needed to bring a website online (domain name selection, local test bed, domain hosting, WordPress theme selection, etc.)

These are just fancy names for simple procedures every Internet citizen will have to learn eventually.

Why not now?

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I’m here to teach you all these things, and if you’re really stuck you can always get little bit of help from someone who understands.

How many websites have you paid for?

How may have you deployed yourself?

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi :-)

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  • JJ

    Hmm. Really? I honestly never even thought about that. Of course, our new business … uh… thingy… was designed by a website person thingy. It’s not up and running yet, but when it is… I want you to have a look and see if it really is marketed more toward us than to the visitor. (We tried really hard to do it the right way, which is marketing toward the viewer, but now I’m REALLY curious to see if we pulled it off. First ever, maybe? ;] )

    PS. This new website is going to take some getting used to. It’s very innovative, but my non-tech-savvy-don’t-know-crap-about-anything-with-buttons personality is rather left in the dust. It took me two minutes just to figure out how to read an article, and that was because I was too busy being awed by the layout. Haha. I. am. an. idiot. gah.

    • http://diyblogger.com/ Dino Dogan

      thnx for the “innovative website” comment…did you notice that pictures are actually links to post to twitter and facebook? I havent seen anyone do that and I dont understand why? I think its a cool idea since everyone reads picture captions…why not use it to make them tweet….

      anyways, it remains to be seen whether its effective or not…but it sure is fun :-)

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  • http://twitter.com/joannaciolek Joanna Ciolek

    If I simply “followed my muse” I wouldn’t get anywhere in web design business. Our clients are not idiots. They understand usability & they want their website to attract more clients not serve as an ego boost!

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      I want your clients lol. Thats awesome and thats the way it should be. Its just that I come across so many sites where that simply isnt the case.

      • http://twitter.com/joannaciolek Joanna Ciolek

        Many times they’re simply old websites, designed before the focus shifted from “let’s have something pretty” to “let’s have something useful”. Or, the sites are built by owners themselves (GoDaddy Website Tonight anyone?) who have no clue what they’re doing!

  • http://www.hanelly.com hanelly

    Death to egoartistical designs. Honestly? This post is a must-read for any designer who argues that their artistic expression must lead the way. The site must serve a purpose, and that purpose is likely not to promote the artistic ability of the designer, unless of course it is their portfolio site and in that case they can do whatever the hell they want.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      What I would like to see is web designers leading the guy signing the check and telling him that the most important thing is the visitor …you cant go wrong if you design the site around the visitor.

      • http://www.hanelly.com hanelly

        Oh, you mean do their job??

      • http://www.hanelly.com hanelly

        Oh, you mean do their job??

  • http://www.creativeflavor.com/ext/blog Janna Polzin

    And right there you’ve outlined one of the biggest “battles” between designers and their clients.

    First, you, Mr. Dino, are assuming that most people are as tech-savvy as you. I can tell you, most people aren’t! My colleague talked to a woman just last Friday who didn’t know what a browser was, but she wanted us to create a custom e-commerce website and mobile application for her, then couldn’t believe that our quote was over $1000. I tell you, we run into people like that ALL THE TIME. It’s heartbreaking. There’s no way they could even set up a simple WordPress blog.

    Second, we’re very lucky that most of our clients really do get it. They know who their audience is. They know the value of their product/service. They understand the value of the website. They understand a bit about usability. They have already done a lot of legwork before they talk to us by collecting and organizing content and laying the foundation for a sensible architecture. These are the companies we love to work with. We don’t have spend an obscene amount of time educating them about website best practices or what email is.

    Then there are the rest who despite your best efforts, still insist on a Flash splash page. Yeah, really. In the last month someone actually asked how much we charge for a Flash splash page. After I picked my jaw off the floor, I let her know that’s outdated and we strongly, strongly recommend against them as users hate them and they serve no purpose. We lost that client. LOL But we put up our last Flash splash page in 2003 and just aren’t going back!

    Anyway, yes, I somewhat agree that people/businesses should give serious thought to their websites and how the audience will use them. Design is collaborative and iterative and the best designs rely on a lot of feedback from the website stakeholders. But, there are also those who just don’t/won’t get it so they must put their trust in someone who does.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      thats a lot of really great points….I did assume that people reading this would have some technical savvy ….but I believe you when you say that you encounter people who dont know their browser from their elbow.

      Sad indeed…

  • http://www.realityburst.com Eugene

    I don’t think that business owner’s should stop using designer altogether, but they ABSOLUTELY need to learn the basics at the very least. You don’t need to be tech savvy to learn how to register a domain and pick a wordpress theme. Then play around with plugins and widgets and the like. Then you at least have a baseline to work from.

    I have personally used a designer for one of my websites before. And I had him develop a custom plugin. But I knew exactly what I wanted from him. Could I have eventually figured out how to do it myself? Maybe. Probably. But I knew that it would take some time and I didn’t want to wait. And I also knew that I could tell him EXACTLY what I want because I did have the experience.

  • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

    I see a dare, I must accept.

    I don’t believe that business owners are necessarily the right people to handle their sites at all.
    I don’t believe that the marketing department ought to either.
    Nor do I believe that it’s the role of the design team.

    I believe that the content, design, and control of the site ought to be handled by the guys who are elbow deep in human contact every single day, the guys on the front line making the money, the ones who cop the complaints and hear the praise first – the sales team.

    Unless of course you are a solopreneur, in which case, you’re MAD not to handle your own site…. at least to begin with, pay a designer to add the bells and whistles, and set up a funky custom wordpress theme – but handle what goes on the site yourself!!!!

  • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

    I’ve got another two cents to add to this – personally, while I think most designers are awesome, creative, fantastic people, very few of them know ANYTHING about marketing.
    Much less marketing online.

    It only takes a glance over their portfolio to see non-converting sites, poorly structured ads (albeit beautiful) and business cards that are obviously designed to be pretty, but not functional.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      I agree with your comments…the dudes on the front line ought to handle design + solopreneur WOULD be crazy not to learn few tricks of the trade…

      It’s a really fine line between beauty and function…the factor everyone always sez they consider but most sites look like it wasnt a consideration at all, is the audience profile.

      For example. @dancristo:twitter and I had tried to create an original design for Triberr based on specific and unique function Triberr performs, but our early attempts were terrible. Even now, the site is OK, but far from perfect. Tho, to be fair, neither of us is a designer, but we do drink our own coolaid :-) We are solopreneurs on the frontline who are handling the design.

      Since our audience are bloggers who spend A LOT of time on twitter and facebook, we want to move the interface towards standards established by those two platforms. If you start scanning those two sites from the top, you will notice A LOT of similarities.

      G+ took lessons from Facebook with their design. They basically structured everything very close to Facebook and created 0 learning curve.

      Anyways..I could go on and on about this….but I will conclude with thnx for stopping by checking out one of my oldies but goodies :-)

  • http://Studio-7C.com Dagi Cueppers

    Here’s the thing about websites: To create a successful one, you need more than tech savvy and great design. Ideally, you develop a marketing strategy that is aligned with your business plan, an online strategy based on your marketing strategy, and then a strategy for your website based on the online strategy.

    Once the strategy for the website is in place, (and that includes content, purpose and message of each individual page, structure, navigation, corporate identity, tonality, style, target audience, points of contact, keywords, on-page SEO, Unique Selling- and Advertising Proposition…) there is nothing wrong with having a designer who really is just a great designer, do the design. Getting to that place is where the business owner is needed. And a lot of business owners, (I actually think most of them) need a marketing professional to help them get to that place and develop a solid marketing-, online-, and website strategy.

    Just my 2 cents because I agree with you, Dino, that there are too many websites that make no sense whatsoever…