Why The Computer Guy Shouldn't Build Your Website

The following is a fictional story which in reality occurs every day.

Linda and her partners have decided their business needs a web presence. Now comes the big question: Who can build it for them?

Who do they know who has experience with the internet? Maybe John, the computer guy, can do it. He is the one they call when the office network goes down or one of their computers give them problems. So Linda dials the number for John.

John has worked with computer hardware and networks for a long time. Having been laid off a year ago, he was thankful for Linda’s offer of some part time work. He decided to boldly take the job. Why not? After all, he has a blog and has dabbled with web design. And frankly, he needed the money.

Weeks later, John presents Linda with a web site but Linda is shocked because it was not what she had imagined. The site looked like it was built using a template from the 1990’s, which in “Internet years” is about 40 years behind the times. When the partners tried to find their site like visitors would, the site was nowhere to be found. When questioned, John had no satisfactory explanation why it wasn’t listed in the search engine pages.

The characters and the story are fictional. Sadly, similar stories play out like this every day. This doesn’t mean everyone who “knows computers” is automatically bad at web design. The reality is, to build a web site that looks good and functions well, you need a mish-mash of skills or group of people with different skills. You need someone who can code well so that the search engine robots will be able to locate your content easily. You may also need good graphics. Even if the design is minimalist, attractive graphics will be needed at some point. And, to get your site found online, you need people who know how to build incoming links, optimize each page, and all of that good stuff that’s called search engine optimization, or SEO for short.

Each of these aspects can be very intensive and require special skills and tools. Someone who is an expert at fixing computer hardware doesn’t necessarily have these skills. It is like asking the average pharmacist to do brain surgery. They know about medicine but are not qualified to operate. It works the same way for web design and that’s why the computer guy shouldn’t build your website.

So how do you find the right people?

Talk to fellow business owners who have web sites that work. Don’t just rely on eye candy and attractiveness. A beautiful site is no good if people can’t find you. Do a search. Visit the top listings. If you see what you like and they are coming up often in the search engines, contact the owners and ask them to refer you to their web design company. Remember home-grown talent. Seek out local companies and check out their portfolios.

Keep in mind, the Internet changes all the time. What worked a mere 5 years ago may not work today. When you find a company or designer who has been in the industry for a good length of time and is still keeping up with the latest and greatest, you’re on the right path.

Comments


AJ Wilcox

I completely agree, Lynette. People who are good with computers are a natural fit for learning how to code websites…but definitely not fully equipped to handle a company website with no previous experience. Web design is a crazy business with tons of client interaction. It’s best to go with someone who does it on a consistent basis and works through problems regularly – that way when problems pop up on your site, you aren’t slammed to a halt while they figure it out.

Dan Garfield

Bob, no one is saying that “the computer guy” can’t ever build your website but that just because someone knows “about computers” doesn’t mean they are great web developers and great designers. I know a lot of developers that don’t know anything about design and there are plenty of “computer guys” that don’t know anything about development.

The point is that you shouldn’t make the assumption. Your guy has a portfolio which already puts him outside the realm of this blog post.

Bark

Hey “Bob” no one was talking about web developers who work for a company called “Computer Guy” ya noob alert.

Webermedia

Kind of like not having the house painter pick the color.

Bob Agoglia

noob maybe, but got some exposure! Anything we can do for anybody please give us a ring. Our number is on our site.

Business Review

I am agree.Alaska Computer Guy provides services in-home or office with free pickup and drop off service when necessary for the convenience of our customers.Alaska Computer Guy is a locally owned IT support company which provides a host of services … You shouldn’t have to tear down your computer and move it across town to get it working again

Kristin Cooke

A client of mine hired a top design agency to rebuild their website. It was beautiful. But it was impossible to find. Their ranking dropped from #12 to nowhere to be seen on the first 20 pages of rankings. The problem was that the award winning posh design agency was just getting into the world of website design. Yes, it totally rocked visually. But it broke all the other rules. All the text was in image files, etc. My client went out of business last year.

anthony

Hi Kristin,
Sorry to hear your client went out of business!
However, unless they were absolutely dependent on their website for all of their business needs, then I assume that they went out of business through bad management, cashflow problems, or changing market needs which they were unable to respond to in time, if at all!
And, if they were absolutely dependent on their website to avoid going out of business, I am sure they would have invested extra money in its redesign to keep their business afloat!
Websites are a necessary aspect of doing business nowadays for many businesses, but they are usually secondary to other aspects of your business, and in many cases are still actually somewhat superfluous for many businesses, contrary to what we in the web design end like to believe.
In fact, I know of many businesses who do very well without them and the extra hassle and financial outlay they involve.
And I’m involved in the web business 😉
Anthony

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