Recently I was at a meeting with one of my maintenance clients and as we were discussing what projects needed to be completed on the website in the next couple of months, my Client shared with me that one of their goals was to become completely self-sufficient. This is a strange thing for a consultant to hear. The last thing you want is a client to say is that they are working towards no longer needing you, but if that was all I heard, I wasn’t listening. Website ownership is changing and good website professionals will listen and adapt.
A little background info on this situation. My Client is a manufacturer who sells wholesale to retail outlets. They have a 5-year goal to sell direct to consumer, because, obviously, they can make more money selling their products at retail prices. Two years ago they were approached at a trade show by a vendor who was the specialist in their product area in launching online stores, in fact, many of the show attendees had online stores with this vendor. So they decided to go with the vendor, since they were experts in their industry.
Two years later, they had spent thousands of dollars to get the store up and running and had not sold a single product from the website. Even worse, they were still paying. The Vendor hosted their site and owned the software, so they were paying hundreds each month just to keep the store front open. Then they came looking for Cybervise, because the backend of the store was so complicated, their staff could not figure out how to load their product inventory and they were losing money because they could not get their seasonal inventory online for people to buy. Not to mention, in order to make an update on the homepage, the only way it could be done was to notify the vendor and their queue for changes was always weeks long.
So you can see why Autonomous Website Ownership would be a goal.
When deciding what website platform to go with, think about autonomy as a goal before you signup. Here are some points to consider:
- Do you own the software? There are advantages to having a hosted solution, where you use the vendor’s software and have an ongoing monthly fee. However, you are tied to that vendor, if the relationship goes bad, you start over somewhere else.
- Don’t forget to demo the backend of the website too. If you want your staff to maintain the site, make sure the backend tools included with your site are something you can use. Is there support for your staff with these tools? Will someone train them to use the tools when the site is launched?
- How accessible are your website files? If you wanted to update your website, could someone on your staff do it. Or if you brought in marketing help, can they get access to your files. What if you needed to upload a lot of new info fast? How can this be done? Or are you required to circle back to your vendor every time you need something?
- What happens when the contract ends? Can the website be moved to a new vendor? If not, how do you retrieve your product info or pictures out of the current site? Can the content be exported or converted to another platform?
For our Client, we helped them migrate to a new platform that their staff is now using on a daily basis and that allows Cybervise to use our time with them to strategize how to grow their business with this website. Would you like to hear more? Just sign-up for a free consultation.