There are now many services that allow you to build your own website.  It is cheap and not that difficult.  But will the site be any good?  Will it work for you?

If you believe that 80% of success is just showing up, maybe it will.

Sure new technology lets people build the site themselves, but is there a compelling message or is it just blather?  Is it just a cacophony of crap?

Advertising is currently running for Realtors explaining the benefits of using a professional agent to sell your house.  The tag line is “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Calling on a professional is a given in some areas of business and life.  More and more we are becoming specialists because the sophistication and skills required to do many jobs is beyond most of us.

Car maintenance, for example, used to be something everyone did.  Who couldn’t change their own oil or spark plugs.  Now few of us do.  Cars became more complex and it is quick, affordable and far less risky to have it done by a specialist.

So what would a professional do in developing a site that an amateur wouldn’t?

We start with a strategy.  What do people think about your company or product and what do we want them to think?  Who are your target audience?  (Hint: They are not your spouse’s friends who may see and comment on the site.  They are also not “everybody.”).

What do you or your product promise to do for your target?  Why should that target believe you?

Once you have these questions answered, you begin development of the concept of the site.  Not before, but after you have these answered.

With this in hand you come up with an interesting idea or theme to run through the site.  Give it some personality and interest.  “Just the facts, mam.” doesn’t create interest.

Then you can go to Godaddy, Word Press, Joomla, squarespace, and many others and have at it.  These can be limited in what you can do and vary in levels of sophistication.  But this is an exercise on the cheap.

Without the skills of a professional marketing communications person, you can put your sweat into the project and see if you have any talent.  Just remember, the site will be seen by the entire world and your business’s reputation is resting on it.

For many people, this means playing it safe and putting up a cheap-o website.  While it qualifies them as having a website, it doesn’t do much for their business.

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