I read a fascinating article recently about the mistakes to avoid when negotiating really big deals. Apparently one of the greatest errors is to start talking about the substance of a deal before agreeing on the negotiation process that will be followed. The article goes on to make this simple recommendation: first agree on the process, then negotiate the substance.

The same is true for building your company website. Before you and your agency start talking about what should go into the site, you should first agree on the process that will be followed to develop the site. Process, then substance.

In my experience the world of small business websites is a wasteland of half baked and ineffective work. Just in the past two weeks I have spoken to four owners, each with ongoing website issues. One has not looked at his website for five years; another is cluttered with dormant social media buttons and the other two have been under construction for over a year. A mess really.

Building a website is like any construction project. You first plan it, then you build it. If you start by laying bricks too quickly, you don’t make any progress.
Here are some tips for when building your company website:

  • There is no such thing as a finished website; you should always improve it, refine it, and update it.

  • Hardly any website gets built from scratch these days; most rely on an existing template – ask your agency to show you the template that they will be using.

  • Instead of focusing on whether the price for building your website is cheap or expensive, rather focus on whether it will be effective or not in achieving your business goals.

  • The difference between a great website and an average one is not in how it is built, but how it is designed. How the site looks, matters a lot.

  • The biggest job in getting a website up is not with the agency building the site, but with you, the business, who should be supplying the content.


And my most important tip. Never think that building a website is easy or quick or like going to the shops to buy a roll of toilet paper. The process is by nature intensive, involved and requires your personal attention.

Ultimately an effective website will grow your business, but make sure you approach it exactly like you would building your dream house: with careful planing and constant involvement.

Image credit: Flickr