Websites are like Gardens

Running Away From HomeI lost a customer recently and that really bothers me. A small vendor of woman’s accessories, the customer bought a website from Net Solutions last year. She wanted an eCommerce site and she wanted to keep costs as low as possible. She used PayPal as her payment gateway and I designed her site, set up the pages, wrote and added text, added the items into her shopping cart and got her site launched.

After the site went live, she indicated that she did not like the flow of the PayPal system and requested that I change it. I tactfully informed her that I could not change PayPal’s processes even if I wanted to. I am not convinced she believed me. She never did anything with her website, nothing ever changed. After several months she pulled all the products off her site and now she’s canceled her site and her domain name. I feel like I let her down because her site wasn’t as successful as she wanted it to be.

One thought led to another and I thought about many of my clients and the misconception that a lot of small business owners seem to share, “I have a website, where are my customers?”

A website, especially one that’s as easy to use and maintain as a ProFusion Ultra IS website, is a fantastic marketing tool and when used correctly, can bring in new customers to your business, helping it grow and thrive. Unlike a phone book or print ad you can add all the color you want at no additional cost. Websites Are Like GardensAdd additional pages, video, forms, photos – things to make the website easier for your visitors to interact with your business easily, quickly and often – with no waiting for publication dates.

It doesn’t end there however, to be an effective marketing tool a website must be kept sharp, up to date and fresh. It’s like a garden, it’s never done. Ignore it at your own peril and like this customer did weeds will grow and choke the life out of it. It will languish with the millions of other websites, never found because no time was taken to keep it fresh and updated – no reason for search engines or humans to visit or ever come back. This is the main reason why Search Engine Optimization is so important for your website – it keeps your site from becoming just another pretty face among the millions of other pretty faces in Cyberspace. Use your website like the tool it was designed to be, keep your site sharp and up to date so you can reap the rewards it can offer you for years to come.

Even though I can rationalize why my client canceled her domain and took down her site, I still hate losing her as a customer.

2 thoughts on “Websites are like Gardens

  1. Becky Raney

    Nice article. I think that having samples of how things work is imparative so that the customer understands and knows what to expect. Giving the customer options to- makes it seem like more ingaging and fun so the customer can understand the pros and cons. The profusion e-cart module, always seems to need to be modified. I hope in the new upgrade, you guys can consider having several shopping cart modules to choose from. One of the biggest complaints I see with any shopping carts, is that you have to confirm through it seems like 4 windows before you actually can check out.
    I hope you can find a module that would be easy quick and not clunky to add the value of the shopping cart.

  2. Bob Reynolds

    Becky,

    I would like to address a couple of the items you posted in your comments:

    All ProFusion Products have specific functions and are designed to work together. Each has limitations in their “off-the-shelf” configurations. Different modules have different levels of user-definable modifications that can be made. And each can be customized to fit a specific look or client’s needs. But not all customizations can be done using the standard administrative functions of the applications. Some customizations need to be coded by a developer familiar with the Ultra IS in order to fit a specific layout or customer need.

    Shopping carts by their very nature can be difficult to set up, challenging for the business owner to manage and difficult for a shopper to use. By design, we have chosen to limit some of the flexibility in setting up our ProFusion EZCart to allow a typically business owner (without a technical staff at her disposal) to be able to set up and begin using the cart with a minimum amount of input. We have found that by following shopping cart best practices, we are able to provide an easy to use, easy to set up cart that serves a variety of purposes from allowing people to register for classes, to ordering products or services to downloading products using the same basic cart functions. As with all of our modules the cart can be customized to fit any client’s specific needs but was developed to allow the vast majority of small businesses the ability to add shopping cart functions to their existing Ultra Internet Solutions sites and get up and running with a minimum amount of set-up.

    Please note that any of the following are options for any Net Solutions North America client or prospect:

    We are happy to offer a demonstration to any client who would like to see our products in action before they purchase. We can also provide example sites, usually in the clients industry where they can see the product in action. Finally, if they want to get in and click the buttons themselves, we are happy to allow potential clients to use our demo sites, simply email us and we will provide the login details to a demo site with the modules that the client wants to use.
    We offer monthly demonstrations on our ProFusion Products line, we would be happy for anyone to join our demonstrations and learn how to use our products for free. You can register for the demonstrations here: Webinar Training Videos
    We have training manuals available for our products including the shopping cart located here: ProFusion Ultra IS Training Manuals

    Our experience has taught us that most customers do not want to “play” with a demo site. They do have very specific questions about how things work and want to be assured that their application will work they way they want to do business. All ProFusion Products dealers also have a full complement of Ultra IS applications and add-on modules so that they can set up and demonstrate specific function to their clients.

    It is our responsibility as a web application development company to be clear and honest with clients from the first contact. This is why we offer a published price list, which is the same for all our clients. We then explain how the standard application can be used to meet their needs, or what customizations they should expect based on their specific needs for their website and/or ecommerce store. Providing we articulate clearly what can be done with a standard application and standard modules, and what a customization is right from the start, clients are receptive to making changes to meet their specific needs.

    Ultimately all of our products are constantly in a state of modification based on client feedback. Our applications would not be as easy to use or as flexible as they are without client feedback on how the product should work. We evaluate each comment and determine if the recommendation is universally beneficial and should be implemented or client specific and what to do with that recommendation. We are forever grateful for people like you and your staff who are willing to provide constructive feedback on how we can improve our application. Without client feedback, our products would not be where they are today.

    Please also be aware that we are accepting comments for our 4.0 enhancements on this blog thread as well.

    We certainly welcome more feedback, and look forward to working with you in the future.

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