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So which is it: "Good enough" or "Good enough never is"?
Over the years I've appreciated how often my dad was right, and there is certainly a time to do it right. There is however, a time for good enough too (there is also a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant and a time to reap - but that's a different topic).
This is true for companies as well as individuals. Companies go through transitions in their life cycle when investing on infrastructure makes sense, and other times when it does not. Early stage companies in particular may take an approach of 'good enough' when they are printing their first set of business cards and brochures. A good quality printer and a trip to Staples can outfit a bootstrapping business with the initial materials they need to do business. We still print brochures ourselves since our usage is rare and we continue to change the look and refine the message.
Website Design Options
Building a website for your business presents you with some similar choices. A website is a prerequisite to participate in any Internet marketing activities. If you don't have a website yet (and some statistics put the population of small business without a website at over 50%), you can hire some one to build a professionally looking site for you. If you're not ready to take that plunge however there are a number of options available to build it yourself. Certainly one path is to learn the tools of the trade - but being able to use FrontPage doesn't make you a web developer anymore than swinging a hammer makes me a carpenter. Sometime a little bit of skill is dangerous, whether it be with a web development tool or a hammer. (Ask me sometime about the time I took down a piece of molding and had half the wall come with it.)
An alternative to building a website from scratch is to explore the plethora of hosting companies with tools to help you "build your site in 5 minutes". I've looked at a number of these prefab websites and some are quite good. Are they as good as what a professional developer could do? No. Are they good enough? For a young company without an Internet presence, the answer is a resounding yes. A few words of caution as you look at these tools.
Understand your domain name options. Stay away from providers that only offer domain names like "yourcompany.theirname.com". This makes you more difficult to find, and worse yet, locks you totally into their solution.
Look for offerings that allow you to use design wizards to start, but use HTML editors to fine tune.
Remember that using a wizard does not absolve you from the responsibility to write good content. No wizard in the world can make up for bad website copy. Be sure you spend the time to ensure that the site reads well, is free of spelling errors and typos, and is logically put together.
The clear advantage of these tools is they get you in the game easily and affordably. As your company's Internet marketing transitions from its initial experimental stages to a larger part of your marketing mix, you may find that you outgrow the wizards and templates. Going through this transition may signal the time to spend additional money on your web infrastructure. After all, as I've gotten older I'm more likely to call a professional carpenter to come do the job right rather than attempt one of my 'good enough' projects.
Bob Rentsch is a marketing consultant at Vista Consulting LLC ( www.vista-consulting.com ) and brings over 20 years of experience managing marketing and development organizations. Bobís background includes extensive experience in strategy development, marketing communications, sales support, direct marketing, advertising and media relations for a wide variety of companies. In addition to his consulting work, Bob is an adjunct faculty member at Quinsigamond Community College and devotes time to youth sports as well as other volunteer activities in the Worcester, MA area.
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