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Old Dec 2, 2012, 01:31 PM   #1
redAPPLE
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Q: How To Convince People/Companies That They Need A Revised Website?

hi guys.

i got some youth groups and church groups (and small companies) that they obviously need a new website.

i mean sites still with blinking gifs, banners and the sites just don't look modern anymore.

obviously updating the website would cost money and how could one convince them, that it is needed? how could one convince them, that the investment is worth it?

how could i convince them that they need to revamp the site?

eg. the church group doesn't have that much money. would it be a good thing to ask the designer to create the groundwork (say the start page) and just change sections of the site, when the group is able to pay the designer(again)?

thanks for any info.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 01:51 PM   #2
fig
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Honestly, with most churches you're fighting a losing battle. You generally have two types, those that are super media savvy and already have folks doing their media and design, and those that have no clue and are stuck in 1996.

The latter group just isn't going to spend the money, they'll eventually update when they have someone within their organization who'll do it for free/cheap.

With small businesses you have a bit more of a chance but not much. Try showing them before and after examples and try to talk numbers, i.e. this company did X dollars more in sales or had X number more inquiries after updating their website and branding.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 04:15 PM   #3
manueld
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The question you should be asking yourself (and them) is why they need a new website. No matter how bad their site may look, if they believe that their website is accomplishing their goals then why bother changing it?

There is your argument for why they should update their site. While updating the design of a site may make it look "prettier" and modern, if you're not adding any value it's a waste to them. It's like putting lipstick on a pig.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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Location: Canada, eh?
In the end it depends on what the purpose of the site is, and what your relationship is with them. Are you the "door-to-door salesman" trying to sell them your own services? Or are you a member of the church concerned that your ministry isn't being as effective as it should be? There's a difference in how your opinions will be received, though if you are the former, it will help you if you can explain things in terms familiar to the latter.

For example, if it's a church youth group website, what is the purpose of the site? Is it to attact kids to go to the youth group? Kids are notoriously finicky about tech, and you could probably just gather a few kids' opinions (bonus points if those kids belong to said youth group). They'll be quick to point out if a site is lame.

Is it to inform adults? Should the site offer up-to-date calendars ("what's happening on December 7, 2012")? Photos from recent events? Does it do the job it's supposed to do? Is it convenient to use for the target audience? Those are the types of questions you want them to be asking themselves, not just "you shouldn't be using animated gifs".

You could also show some examples of the competition. Look up other church or youth group websites and compare them. Get them to ask, if I was new and looking for a group, does one site compel me more than another? How easy is it to find out how, where, when?

BUT, like the other posters have said, with churches and other charity groups, money is extremely limited and you're going to have a hard time getting them to spend money unless it is clear to them that there will be a strong payoff. I speak from experience, as the webmaster of a church type charitable organization. I do it because I'm free labour. I'm not the best web designer, but I can get a basic job done. I would love to have a fancy Flash site done by someone with way more design talent, but I just can't justify the cost. I suspect virtually every other charity group is the same way. Either they've got a relationship with a paid provider already, or they do it in-house because it's free.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 02:24 PM   #5
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When you figure this out, write a book and you will make millions.

I create a quick mockup of their 'next' site. Find the business owner (probably the hardest part) show them what they currently have and what they could have. I give them a glossy 4x6 screen shot with the price on it and a business card and thank them for their time.

works about 1 in 20
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 02:37 AM   #6
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off-topic: i am missing the plus symbol when i want to comment on replies...

on-topic: as fig has stated, showing numbers and improvements could help. the first part is more difficult, especially when one doesn't have the old numbers. number of website visits etc.

that is quite often the problem, some group has a website, which is a 1998-2001 edition, they say "it works". our phone number is there, our address is there, our future events are there. sure. but the typography, the color, the design itself is out-dated. how can you convince a non-savvy person, that "it is not enough". well, a mock-up site might help...

great insight notjustjay.

@960design 1 in 20 sounds bad don't you want to think your strategy?

edit: hey! the multi-quote button is now visible!
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Last edited by redAPPLE; Dec 5, 2012 at 02:38 AM. Reason: added text.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:58 AM   #7
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1 in 20 is not bad. Most companies would kill for a 5% success rate from any direct marketing campaign!
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 03:33 PM   #8
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If you are just altruistically trying to help them out, I would recommend that they go to a very basic, timeless design. Go BACK in time, not forward.

If the site is usable with a text-only browser, it will always be usable. Rip out all of the fancy-schmancy stuff, bring it back to basic semantic HTML (perfectly OK and encouraged to use new HTML5 semantic markup tags), then add a SIMPLE style sheet.

Since these are essentially "church bulletins", a "typewriter" font will make it look "cool" and at the same time appropriate, and the typewriter font will I think make the viewer forgive the basic layout.

It's likely with the right training and tools, volunteers can do most of the work of re-formatting pages.

Then stop fiddling with it.

Quote:
I would love to have a fancy Flash site done by someone with way more design talent
1999 called, it needs talented Flash designers...
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 04:09 PM   #9
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1999 called, it needs talented Flash designers...
I just meant a site that was more aesthetically pleasing, whether it be Flash or HTML5/AJAX behind the scenes. I can work out PHP code just fine, but graphic design is absolutely not my thing. Thank goodness there are some nice WordPress themes out there, but that can only take you so far...
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 07:20 AM   #10
960design
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1 in 20 is not bad. Most companies would kill for a 5% success rate from any direct marketing campaign!
Thanks, it's not completely cold calling. Normally what happens is that I update one company's site and the businesses that B2B with them notice the change, then start asking questions. Or as I'm working with a small business owner, they say something like, so we get shrimp from Captain Bob. Later, I look up Captain Bob and see that he also does charter work on the weekends and they do not have a website or it's from 1990. Yep, with the FLASHING text and the harsh contrasting colors and somehow still with geocities creds on it.

Right now I have too much to keep up with, seriously tried to hire a couple of developers but were amazed at how much they didn't know; one is a college kid and the other home grown developer. I interned the college kid for six months to give him experience and a couple of website resume credits.

Wow, sorry for the life story, just wanted to say thanks. Haha.

@jtara: very good points, I sometimes get caught up in the new tech and forget that normal people mostly need something clean and simple to update and work with.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 06:27 PM   #11
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Just out of curiousity, when did you guys start taking on your first project/how long have you been coding before taking on your first project?

I've been at it for a year now and haven't done any outside work yet.

I'm thinking about contacting my orthopedist about redoing his website because it's a) it could look better b) completely outdated(table layout) and some of the things don't work(javascript).

I think those are fairly valid points to why he should get his website redesigned, no?
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 08:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olup View Post
Just out of curiousity, when did you guys start taking on your first project/how long have you been coding before taking on your first project?

I've been at it for a year now and haven't done any outside work yet.

I'm thinking about contacting my orthopedist about redoing his website because it's a) it could look better b) completely outdated(table layout) and some of the things don't work(javascript).

I think those are fairly valid points to why he should get his website redesigned, no?
I agree very good reasons to update a site, but most companies don't want to because it's an additional expense and it's not something they want to dive into right now.

In the case of this being your first outside client I would already mockup an entire new site, show it to him and give him a major discount and ask for referrals in return. Sometimes you have to do some things for free to win more business.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 11:05 AM   #13
olup
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Originally Posted by AFPoster View Post
I agree very good reasons to update a site, but most companies don't want to because it's an additional expense and it's not something they want to dive into right now.

In the case of this being your first outside client I would already mockup an entire new site, show it to him and give him a major discount and ask for referrals in return. Sometimes you have to do some things for free to win more business.
yeah I was thinking about doing it like that, once I have his ok. If I would offer him to do it for free, just to get some practice and get some referals in return rather than amount x of money.

Would a written down agreement, as in client is allowed to request x amount of changes before the site goes live etc., be beneficial or would that shy him away?
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 12:26 PM   #14
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yeah I was thinking about doing it like that, once I have his ok. If I would offer him to do it for free, just to get some practice and get some referals in return rather than amount x of money.

Would a written down agreement, as in client is allowed to request x amount of changes before the site goes live etc., be beneficial or would that shy him away?
Great question. If it was me I would only allow 2 revisions. First is the discussion on how "he/she" would like the site to look. Then you build out a wireframe (giving them the ability to see it is always best, yes it will be choppy). Then let them give input (1st Revision) you adjust, send back for a 2nd revision and then finalize after that.

What I did with my developer is I paid him X for my site, and each referral I give him I get 15%. As of late instead of me receiving my slice of the pie I just have him make tweaks and updates. Most of the jobs I send his way are $300 -- $3000 so nothing to extreme but it's great extra money and practice work especially in this economy.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 07:19 AM   #15
olup
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yes that sounds like a good plan and won't let things get out of hand.
I think I shouldn't really fret about this too much, since I'm willing to do it for free.
I'll drop him an email and see what he thinks.
Thanks for your input
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 10:07 PM   #16
fig
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Originally Posted by olup View Post
yes that sounds like a good plan and won't let things get out of hand.
I think I shouldn't really fret about this too much, since I'm willing to do it for free.
I'll drop him an email and see what he thinks.
Thanks for your input
Ok...why do it for free? We were initially talking about a church or small business that's struggling and can't really justify the cost and that's one thing, but something like an orthopedist office most likely has some funds available and could see some material gains from a more usable site.

Lay out the case for a new site, the potential benefits, and the fairly minimal cost to him and give him an estimate, maybe even do a basic mockup or wireframe for him. The worst he can say is no.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 05:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fig View Post
Ok...why do it for free? We were initially talking about a church or small business that's struggling and can't really justify the cost and that's one thing, but something like an orthopedist office most likely has some funds available and could see some material gains from a more usable site.

Lay out the case for a new site, the potential benefits, and the fairly minimal cost to him and give him an estimate, maybe even do a basic mockup or wireframe for him. The worst he can say is no.
What you say is absolutely correct, I talked to a friend and he said the same thing.
They most likely have some funds available to them at their disposal, however I'm not sure how much I can/should charge for a website with 8-9 internal links. Average wage for developers here is 30-45/an hour. Since this would be my first project I haven't done any calculations yet, what to include in the estimate besides cost for the wireframe/mockup, development, crossbrowser-testing.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 12:58 PM   #18
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most companies know their website could do with a refresh but they don't necessarily have the time to devote to the project. Even with outside help it takes a lot of time and there is the risk that the outcome could be worse or harder to maintain. Considering the amount of time they put in the question I think is more why should they use you. Companies won't always go for free as if they put days into a project and it belly flops then they would have been better off paying.
If I was trying to sell it, I wouldn't concentrate on what is wrong with the current but more ideas for the new one, how you can reduce their time spent while still giving them the say in the overall feel and how they will be able to maintain it without being locked into a contract with you.

I am not a web developer, just an opinion from a business perspective.
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