More Isn’t Always Better – Webmaster Secret #3

This has many applications for Small Business Webmasters. It applies to everything from design principles, to site organization, to site features, to bells and whistles, to the services you offer as a webmaster.

We have a rule for this:

If it doesn’t increase revenue in a measurable way for the client, then more isn’t better.

In fact, if it fails to meet that test, then more is WORSE for a small business website. And more very often costs more, but returns little or nothing.

Every feature you add to a site comes with a burden of upkeep and maintenance. So adding things just because you CAN, is not a good enough reason. Showing off your latest tricks is not ever part of a wise webmaster’s game plan.

Many bells and whistles come with a price of decreased compatibility, lowered search engine friendliness, and an exponential increase in initial costs which cannot be justified by the corresponding increase in ROI – if there is one at all. In fact, the decreased compatibility and lowered search engine friendliness can completely obliterate any positive ROI for many situations. Weight it carefully in dollars and cents, inform the client of your conclusions. They may still choose to waste their money, but if they do, it will be an informed choice, and not something they wandered into because you failed to protect their interests.

The same principles apply to your own business. Often, consolidating the kind of services you offer can allow you to produce better, and more cost effective services, at a higher profit. This is one of the keys to our success. We pay attention to the things that are both a better deal for the client, and more profitable to us, and we then revise our services so more things fit that criteria.

We have reduced the site types we deal with on more than one occasion, when we did an analysis of the changing industry, and our changing skill levels, and realized that a single line of services was taking more time, and causing more unnecessary cost for the client. Since they also had better alternatives, and keeping a bad choice open just so the client could choose a bad choice, is just not a smart business decision, we have closed down service lines on mulitple occasions based on what was in our best interests, and in the best interest of the client.

We have also reduced some of the other items we work with, when we found one method that outperformed every time. There simply was no justifiable reason to continue to offer less productive options. See, for many things, you can’t charge more for an inefficient item, the market won’t bear it. So YOU take the hit in productivity. For many kinds of services, you can streamline a system with one service provider, while others will cost you in features that are not present, functions that are disabled, and processes that do not reliably work within those service environments. Hosting is a BIG one here. The same process can take 10 minutes on one host, and two hours on another, just due to fussy things that don’t work as expected. We’ve had the difference be as much as 10 hours, on a simple dynamic site install, between one host and another! It WAS a simple process on one, but anything but on the other.

Consider carefully what is NEEDED, to keep your business sustainable, and for the client, consider what they NEED, to grow their business in the most cost effective manner. Sometimes you have to give up choices, but often, when you condense to LESS, you end up with MORE, in time, earnings, predictability, and performance.

That is worth putting some thought into.

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