Real SMB IT: Web Site Development, Wrong On So Many Levels

February 23, 2010

A post titled; Why Doesn’t My Web Developer Call Me Back? at Smallbiztrends

The post basically states that if you are a small business and hiring solopreneur Web Development firms, good luck in getting any future service from that vendor.

You know, what we can cynically call a tail light warranty. (As long as you can see my tail lights, it is under warranty!)

The argument in that post being that while building a new web site for you can be profitable for your vendor, doing the minor content changes afterward won’t be profitable enough for them to be worth the effort.

That is wrong from both sides of the client – vendor relationship

If you are a solopreneur doing Web Design work, use a content management system (CMS) or easy template. Make it part of your sales pitch that your customer can do their own minor content changes. If your customer still prefers you to do it, you have a fast and profitable way to do it your self.

If you are hiring?

For SMB’s that hire Web Design firms, if you think that the money you paid to create the web site entitles you to free upgrades every three weeks, screw your head on right.

If you recently had the brakes done on your car, do you feel that your relationship entitles you to have them do all other maintenance for the life of your car??

Umm, no

First, don’t expect free maintenance. Negotiate a reasonable fee if you want the developer to make those changes. This fee can be different if you supply the content yourself, versus if you expect your contractor  to actually create it.

Second, your contract with your development firm should include a method where you can make basic content changes yourself. Are you having a sale this month on your widgets or services? Why do you need some one else to update that content for you? there should be a template or content management system that basically says: type it here, click there and it is done!

Then the only time you would need your contractor is for structural changes to the site.

If you cannot change one tiny piece of content on your web site, your developer has failed, and you fail too.

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4 Responses to “Real SMB IT: Web Site Development, Wrong On So Many Levels”

  1. elliotross Says:

    Thanks for dropping by!

    As you state: “let the designer do the updates” that word ‘let’ is different from being ‘forced’ to have the designer do the updates!

    I would also argue that any SMB that waits 6 months to do an update on their web site has already failed.

    I agree with your hourly rate point – if you visit the referenced link though, what it states is that designer has no interest, and no profit in an hourly rate to make it worth doing –


    • True what you say about waiting 6 months to update a site (that they’ve already failed). But that, from my 11 years of doing web design, is exactly what most small businesses do.

      No matter how much I tell them that they shouldn’t just leave their site sitting there, most find it just too much to bother with. They’re intimidated by the technology, SEO. They’ve seen too many moveies and TV shows where someone creates a site and the next day the site owner is rich.

      • elliotross Says:

        Ahh too true!

        It is a marathon – not a sprint!

        And thanks for popping by again!


  2. There are many reasons that it may be better for a web site owner to let the designer do the updates. Contrary to what is implied, not all changes to a web site are as simple as “type it here, click there and it is done!”

    If a site has trickier, unique functionality (slideshows that work in unique ways, accordions, etc.) it can involve more than a simple “type here” option.

    And if the client only needs updates to their site every 6 months, they may find it better to pay someone an occassional hourly rate, rather than invest in a CMS that would rarely get used.

    It’s not all so cut and dried.

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