Better Than the Rest- Hiring Specialists
There is a great book that I strongly recommend you read- although short and sweet, it packs a powerful message- do what you do best. FOCUS on do what you do best. Soar with your Strengths. It starts with a little fable about the Animal School, and how the squirrel's teachers decide he needs to spend more time learning to swim, since he's already good at climbing.
We as humans seem to think we should be good at everything; if a child excels at drawing but struggles with math, we tend to give them more tutoring in math instead of nurturing the artistic talent. That struggle to be good at everything comes at a price. We often block ourselves from truly excelling at something by thinking we have to be able to handle every task involved with it.
Specialists Do What They Do Best
I had a plumber come out to the house last week to find out what was causing the dark stains on the ceiling. He found a leaky vent pipe in the attic and fixed it. That didn't help me with the existing damage to the drywall in the ceiling, though. Just because the leak caused the ceiling problem and the plumber could recognize the problem, it didn't make him qualified to fix drywall. He was able to fix the source of the problem, but not everything it impacted.
When it comes to your website, it pays to find professionals who do what they do best. We are becoming a culture of "one-stop-shops"; we want to pick up our prescriptions, dry cleaning, movie rentals, milk and eggs in the same place. Why not? It saves time.
With web professionals, it's a lot harder to find a one-stop-shop; even large multi-disciplinary firms have weaknesses. Most companies- from one-person setups to huge conglomerates- have a focus and a selling point; something they do better than most or all of their competition. There might even be many things they do well. But chances are there are some tasks they handle out of convenience, simply because people have asked them to take care of it or it's another source for profit. That doesn't mean they know how to do it right.
Outsourcing is a Smart Option
Companies that recognize their weaknesses and strive to give the most value to their clients often outsource work to qualified professionals. However, sometimes it's simply outsourced to more inexpensive labor.
Find out if your web professional is outsourcing all or part of your project; if they are using trained professionals they are likely to use that as a selling point and a benefit. No matter whom they use, the results reflect on their company.
Can You Do It All?
If you work on your own website, assess your own strengths. Does your site look great but lack compelling copy? Does it show up well on the search engines? Are you a little lost when it comes to ideas for getting more sales or making your site more useful? Some of the professionals you might consider hiring would be:
Often asked to do anything and everything for a site, from planning and implementing to marketing, most designers are really best atů designing.
A good design can make or break your site, so it pays to hire someone who understands your style, your goals, and understands the basics of web site usability.
This professional is the most-often overlooked member of the team. Many people decide to "save money" by doing the writing themselves, because after all, anyone can write, can't they?
This error is often compounded by poor SEO advice. Suddenly, a page that was just mediocre moves to terrible as keywords are stuffed into every sentence.
A good SEO copywriter can write copy that sells AND ranks well and typically, the investment in good content is repaid over and over throughout the life of the site.
Search Engine Optimizer
SEO isn't rocket science, but if you don't have time to learn it and keep up on what is going on with the engines, you are often better off hiring an SEO. Editorial (or organic) rankings are a powerful marketing tool and much of the "old" advice out there simply doesn't work anymore (if it ever did!)
If you are a do-it-yourselfer, consider hiring an SEO simply to consult with you on a regular basis and make sure you are headed in the right direction.
PPC is one of the fastest-growing and highest-ROI marketing channels available today. Even small businesses can take advantage of PPC and simply run until their budget is met.
To ensure you are getting the most out of every click, consider hiring a PPC manager to set up and monitor your campaign- more often than not, the money they save you will pay for their fees several times over.
Link Building Specialist
You can't rank well without links! Getting those links is a time-consuming process that can literally eat up hours of your day for very little results.
Consider hiring a professional link builder; they know the most effective places to get your links and can save you hours of ineffective work.
For custom applications and other programming needs, consider looking outside your web designer, who may have enough basic skills to do what you need but can't manage the long term growth of an application. Building an app right from the beginning is a lot less expensive than tossing it out and starting over later.
- Usability Analyst
When things just aren't going as well as you expected, you should consider a usability analysis. Usability analysis typically covers marketing, desirability, technical, and mechanical issues of your site and can uncover obstacles that are keeping your customers from finalizing their purchase.
- Statistical Analyst
A thorough review of your webstats can tell you a lot about your site; where visitors are coming and where they are leaving, how many pages they view, and at what point they abandon the shopping cart among other things. A detailed review of several months of web statistics can point out opportunities to improve as well as major obstacles that could be tripping your visitors!
Often one of these specialists can recommend other professionals if you need them. Our plumber was used to seeing drywall damage and gave us a referral for a drywaller instead of offering to fix the damage himself.
Articles, newsletters, and forums are great for learning the basics of successful websites but often their greatest use is in helping you to know what to look for in a professional. If your livelihood depends on your website (or you'd like for it to) know when to get professional help. The cost of a professional is often far less than the revenue you lose by not hiring them.
Focus on those things you do best, and hire others who are the best at what they do to make your site really succeed. After all, if you are a squirrel, shouldn't you be perfecting your climbing skills instead of learning to swim?
Scottie Claiborne is the Web Marketing Strategist for Right Click Web Consulting and the facilitator of the Successful Sites Newsletter. She is a speaker at the Search Engine Strategies conferences and the High Rankings Seminars as well as the administrator of the High Rankings Forum.
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