Talking with Michael Rosenfeld reminded me of a slogan I saw once for a home repair contractor, “I finish up the jobs your husband screwed up.”
Rosenfeld is in the fix-it business too – not for websites per se, but for his clients’ entire web marketing approach. That usually means starting from the ground up, beginning with the business strategy and ending with a web presence that’s geared toward accomplishing business goals, not just garnering more “hits.”
It’s a comprehensive approach, but he says he’s almost used to the fact that a significant percentage of his business comes from calls to “fix my website.” According to Rosenfeld, “Those calls usually come after clients have invested a lot of time and money building several unsuccessful sites.”
As the Managing Partner of Web Connection, he betrays a hint of professional frustration as he notes that “the strategy behind any website is key to its success. We often find, however, that strategy is often ignored or not well understood. It’s where we start with our clients, and we find that approach can make all the difference in the success of a site.”
According to Rosenfeld, there are four legs that successful sites stand on – strategy, content, design, and marketing – and “it pays to pay attention to each one of them,” he says.
What’s the business goal? Rosenfeld has an entrepreneur’s instincts about what motivates people to action, and he uses those instincts to inform every aspect of the website user experience in alignment with his clients’ business goals.
Writing effective copy for websites is a specialized skill that relies on a combination of marketing and sales savvy, awareness of search engine optimization techniques, motivational effectiveness and an ability to set just the right tone, according to Rosenfeld. He says It also helps to be able to work closely with web designers and developers.
Sure, your site’s gotta look great. But beyond the dazzle, does it guide the viewer seamlessly? Does it make it easy to make the sale or other action you want the viewer to take? Great design should work in tandem with a solid strategy and well-written, strategic oriented content, Rosenfeld says.
Is your site strategically conceived, written and designed to get noticed by search engines? Have you considered how to “goose” your rankings? Algorithms (for determining who gets to be first) change on a regular basis. Are you prepared to keep up to maintain your position?
“Potential clients are surprised when they meet us sometimes,” says Rosenfeld, who’s been in the website development business since it started to explode in use in 1994.
“We’ll start talking business strategy and notice a quizzical look on their faces. They thought they were just hiring a web designer. Once we explain the importance of having both a business strategy AND a design strategy, that quizzical look goes away fast.”