Make Sure You Sign an Agreement Before You Build Your Next Website

In my most recent post for the Outright Community, I wrote about how it’s critical for web developers to make sure they put everything in writing before they start any project.

I want to expand on that thought just a bit. The exact same thing is true for all of you on the client side of the equation. The next time you hire a website development firm, make sure everything related to the project – the price, the timeline, the requirements – are all in writing before any money changes hands.

It sounds obvious but a lot of firms are small. And they won’t spend a lot of time on details like contracts and agreements. They just want to crank out projects and get paid. Most of them do a great job and the amount of money involved isn’t huge, but it’s still a smart idea to protect yourself in case something goes wrong with the project.

Don’t fear the contract. Most firms will have very basic agreements that won’t require you to hire a lawyer to interpret it for you. Just be sure to read it over and ask any question if there are parts that don’t make sense. Don’t be afraid to push back on anything that doesn’t seem fair. A good firm will be willing to budge on terms in order to make you happy and to keep the job.

Have you hired a web development firm recently? Did they ask you to sign a service agreement? Let’s discuss in the comment section below.

Stop Doubting Video & Embrace It

I’m always amazed at business owners who doubt leveraging the awesome the power of video for their website. Although I experience it less these days, I still talk to enough doubting business owners to make me believe the world is not yet as convinced as it should be. Video is the future, if not the present, people!

In fact, I’m sort of embarrassed this blog is in text, not video, but bear with me. I’ll get there eventually.

When someone gets to your website, you have only a few precious seconds to convince them that A) your service is worth buying and B) more importantly, they should buy from you. If your website is loaded with novels of text that someone has to read in order to understand what your business is all about, forget it. No one will read it. You need to shorten your pitch by doing things like showing people via video the value of your product or service.

Today I came across  another great example of  a business leveraging the power of video. Surprisingly, it was done by a bank! Banks aren’t usually known for using social media effectively.

Here’s why this video is so great:

1.  Within 2-3 minutes, you know exactly how the product works AND that it’s ridiculously simple.

2.  USAA took something that might make some people apprehensive (mobile deposits) and used actual customers to ease any potential fears or hesitations about complexity or security. This is brilliant. What’s more powerful than seeing real people make those deposits in only a few seconds?

3. Existing USAA customers will undoubtedly see this app as a value-add while people that aren’t customers might reconsider.

    You can’t watch that video and not think that the service is very cool and a complete no-brainer.  Want proof? According to USAA’s Twitter account, $1.5 million has already been deposited using this new app in just three days.

    If your website is not using video to help sell your products or services, start thinking about it right away. And if you need help coming up with a video content plan, let us know.

    If you have other good examples of videos being used on websites you use, include a link in the comment section.

    San Diego Bowl Game Association Thanks Brand5

    San Diego Bowl Game Association Thanks Brand5We got a really nice letter from Rudy Castruita, President of the San Diego Bowl Game Association, thanking us for our work developing new websites for the Holiday Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl.

    Here’s a small excerpt from the letter:
    “Your creativity and professional approach to our new websites is greatly appreciated,” said Castruita. “You helped bring our organization to the next level with premiere Bowl websites. Your hard work is greatly appreciated.”

    Both Bowl games (held in December) were a huge success. Check out some of these numbers provided by the San Diego Bowl Game Association:

    • The Holiday Bowl played in front of their third largest crowd in history (64,020 fans).
    • The Holiday Bowl was the second most watched game on the ESPN schedule, reaching over 4.2 million households.
    • The Poinsettia Bowl had their best attendance ever with 39,129 fans.
    • TV ratings for the Poinsettia Bowl increased by more than 38% compared to 2006.

    It’s always a great feeling to be appreciated by our clients. We loved working on the two Bowl websites. The fact that the committee is so pleased is a testament to our team’s proven strategy: this business is all about being dedicated to hard work and service.