The Basics of Using Your Website As a Business Asset
A Time Stamp Summary of the First in a 3-Part Series

How often do you think about your website?  The message from this discussion on the Small Business WebTech show came through loud and clear.  Your website is one of the most important assets of your business.

The details were supplied in an All Star  discussion by our All Star Panel members +Ammon Johns , +Mary Iannotti , and +Mike Bayes facilitated by hosts +Gina Fiedel , +John Moore , and I.

Following is a time stamp summary and index of the show.  To view any part that especially interests you, simply click on the time.  For mobile users, move the slider to the desired time.

00:02 - Introductions

4:06 - How this series on using your website as a business asset came to be

6:05 - +Gina Fiedel  introduces the topic for today's show:

It takes a shift in thinking to view your website as a business asset. In the creation of your website and identity development, you also need to know how best it's going to serve your customers, not just your business.

10:16 - +Ammon Johns  - The potential of a website is like a blank sheet of paper.  The only limitations are the ones you set yourself.

12:44 - +Mary Iannotti  - Your website needs to join your business operations. Think of it as an employee.  Give your website some goals.

15:10 - +Mike Bayes  - Your website is a digital manifestation of your business.

18:20 - What exactly is a "business asset"? How would you define it?

18:50 - +Bill Slawski  gives a personal example of how his website created career opportunities for him.

20:58 - +Ammon Johns - Everything in your business is either an asset or a liability ...  A website is a conversation that you can be having 24/7, all over the world.

22:38 - +Mike Bayes - Assets are either appreciating or depreciating. Your website can be your greatest appreciating asset.  It's one of the toughest assets to manage but the pay off is so big.

23:42 - +Tanya Lumere  comments with her usual "cut to the chase" wit :)

24:13 - What are the problems and risks of using a proprietary service that sets up your website for you for "1 low monthly fee"?

25:06 - +Mary Iannotti  - Make sure you can get your data.

26:07 - +Gina Fiedel - Lack of portability is reckless.

27:37 - +Mike Bayes - The "free"sites just make you look bad.

28:44 - +Ammon Johns - Your website is a chance to represent everything about your business worldwide. Give that the respect it deserves.

29:48 - +Farinaz Parsay  comments that technology and business itself can be challenging, but "…having a business on my website is like a dream".

30:19 - Exploring the idea of ownership and your website

31:00 - +Bill Slawski gives an example of the importance of your domain name.

32:06 - +Ammon Johns  - There is incredible value in a domain name. Exact match domain names sound bargain-basement.

34:13 - +Mike Bayes  - The number one challenge for small to medium business owners is budget - understanding how much money they should invest.

Mike's recommendation: -You need to invest every penny you can into your web presence because it can be such a great asset.

35:52 - +Gina Fiedel - We [as web developers] can work in phases. If a company can work collaboratively with their web developer and determine what all the different pieces are and what the potentials are, then it can be phased if the budget isn't there.  You don't have to do everything at once.

37:10 - +Ammon Johns  - There's only 1 correct answer to that [how much you need to spend on a quality website]. Everything you can …Because it is an appreciating asset.

38:26 - +Jason T. Wiser  comments that it depends on what the site is for…brochure, lead gen, e-commerce, or content

39:00+Julie Holberg comments that when people do not understand the "nuts and bolts"of online… they avoid it or put it on the back burner.

39:28 - +Bill Slawski  comments on the value of open source platforms to reduce cost.

40:28 - +Mike Bayes  - A website budget needs to include SEO and promotion, not just the website itself.

41:03 - +Gina Fiedel  - In thinking of your website as a business asset, you have to have an understanding of what is unique to your company… This also makes it hard to make generalizations about costs and pricing.

42:18 - Thoughts on Content Management Systems (CMS

42:43 - +Ammon Johns  - WordPress is the most recognizable template in the world. Most of the time small businesses are better off starting with a static HTML site of 5-15 pages.

46:02 - +Ammon Johns - It's not just your website but how you reach out and how your reposition yourself. Your website is never "done".

47:30 - +Bill Slawski  comments that your website is the center, your hub, where all the thoughts and ideas that you share come from.

49:34 - +Gina Fiedel - The business is informing the website you're going to create, and then the website begins to inform the business, creating a continuous loop between the business and the way the business is operating - and the site and the way the site is operating.

When your website is launched, really that's just the beginning.

50:23 - How do you keep your website fresh and alive and vibrant?

50:46 - +Ammon Johns  - One word: relevance

51:56 - +Mike Bayes  - Web designers need to talk about how the company wants to grow the site; what else do you want to do with this?

54:43 - +Ammon Johns  - The kind of business you have and what resources you have dictate a lot of this. You need to be realistic.

55:39 - +Mary Iannotti  - Web designers/developers need to ask questions such as:
How do you plan to use the site to help your business grow?
How do you plan to bring people to the site?
How do you plan to bring the site into your sale process?

56:31 - +Gina Fiedel  - It goes hand in hand with knowing who the customer is and the customer persona.

1:00:24 - +Ammon Johns  - This is not just a small business issue. When you select a web developer based on price you will get more of a specialist who only knows their one area.  You will need to be able to fill in some of the skills yourself or bring in another expert.

1:02:16 - +Mary Iannotti  - If you don't do your due diligence about how you're going to use the website when you're building it,  you're going to end up investing in one that doesn't suit your needs.

1:04:46 - +Mike Bayes  - Bring in the best people you can to help you with your website… Big thinkers, great people…

1:05:51 - +Gina Fiedel  - A big part of our job [as web developers] is education. The ideal set up is a healthy collaborative relationship, client to developer. We need to be constantly educating each other and asking questions.

Huge thanks to our All Star Panel, our ever-so-special co-host +Gina Fiedel , and of course, our own +John Moore !  Not to mention our fabulous audiences both in person and online.  Thank you all!

Posted by +Marilyn Moore for +RightStart Websites

#websitedevelopment #smallbusiness #smallbusinesstips   #SmallBusinessWebTech  
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