Web Development – it’s not like building a shed

Web development - it's not like building a shedI recently read a great blog post on sub-standard web developers and how to avoid them. If you’re looking to get a website developed I’d suggest you have a quick read of this: Beware Web Developers Who Know Nada!

As a web developer myself I find it incredibly frustrating that I’m constantly losing web development work to graphic designers who know nothing about marketing on the web. Does your business really need a piece of online art or does it actually want to see some return? As I see it there are only two things that matter – 1) are people finding the site and 2) is it giving them what they came for?

My other bugbear is that web development is as its name suggests “developmental”. It’s not a one off bit of work – build it, take the money, next. To be really successful, a website needs to evolve to meet the needs of its users so requires an ongoing cycle of analysis, review and redevelopment. This doesn’t have to mean lots of expense or contracts. It just means stopping every once in a while and thinking about what is working, what isn’t working, how many enquiries are you getting, is the number going up or down?

If you’re serious about making money on the web, you need to be prepared to put a lot of work in yourself, not simply farm it out, and work closely with a  web developer who understands what your business needs from your site.

What is a website visitor worth?

What are your visitors worth?When looking at investing money in trying to get more visitors to your website you need to first work out what a visitor is worth to you.

So, how do you work it out? Well, to do it at a basic level is very simple. Choose a time period to analyse – the last 12 months, last 3 months, last 30 days, etc. Now, in this period see how much profit you made and how many visitors your website got. If you’re using a web stats package, unique visitors is the figure to use here. Simply divide the number of unique visitors by the profit and this will give you a mean profit per visitor. You can use this as a basis for spending on gaining more visitors.

Whilst more visitors means more profit you shouldn’t just look at boosting traffic but try to actively increase the value of each online visitor. If a visitor becomes more likely to buy from you they become more valuable and investing money in attracting more visitors then gives you better value for money. So, as well as your traffic you also need to try to improve your conversion rate. The conversion rate is simply the proportion of visitors who buy. There are lots of things you can do to boost your conversion rates but that’s for another day…