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An Interview with Heather Floyd
Please take a moment to read this before deciding to work with Heather
How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be a Conscious Web Developer?
I have been a web and software designer and developer since 1999. Over the years, working with websites for individuals and small organizations, I have created websites that my clients really loved. My expertise extended to knowing ways to maximize the profit-generating potential of these websites over the long-term. Of course my clients weren't web developers and didn't follow technology as closely as I did and so, I wondered how much mileage they were really getting out of the websites I had constructed after the initial development was complete and I was out of the picture.
You see, for them, there didn't exist any easy-to-understand guide that would tell them what they ought to implement for their websites, and exactly how and which services were right for their individual business goals and available resources.
During this period of time, I spent time consulting on a database software development project at a major insurance/financial services firm. The VP of Marketing, knowing about my experience, asked me to review their current website because they were considering a redesign. She believed that my expertise would provide valuable insight into the redesign. They had a sophisticated-looking website, containing only a minimal amount of basic content.
Part of the plan for redesign was to utilize the same development firm that had designed the original site. When I reviewed the invoices from the original design I was flabbergasted! They had paid $90,000 for their 10 page "brochure" website, and the same company was charging them $350 a month for their hosting! It was hard for me to believe that savvy business people had ever agreed to this arrangement.
As part of my work, I contacted their web company to investigate why their monthly hosting fee was so high. The answer I received confirmed my suspicions. I had discovered that the development firm had purposely designed this corporation's website to require an arcane combination of technology that only they offered hosting for. I explained to the VP of Marketing what I understood about their current setup and recommended a local web development company who made a proposal for the new website tens of thousands of dollars less than their original site had cost, and with a more reasonable monthly hosting fee hundreds of dollars less that what they were currently paying.
The experiences with this client, and others, have led me to refocus my business toward providing high quality, high integrity web development services to my favorite business people- purpose-driven solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and independent professionals. My clients have great businesses, but don't have $90,000 website budgets.
Technology mistakes can be very costly to correct, not just in dollars spent, but in time, aggravation, and re-work on the solopreneur's end. This is why I spend a lot of time with my clients getting to know not just their current business - but where they see their business growing in the future. So that they can have a website that is growing with them.
I want to provide my clients with top-quality websites which fit their unique business goals and evolve as their business vision does.
Who are your clients exactly?
Though in the past I have worked with larger companies and non-profits, I now work exclusively with individuals who have a passion for their work and a burning desire to make that passion visible online. I have an intimate knowledge of what it takes to be a soloprenuer, having been one myself for so long.
My best clients are independent professionals and entrepreneurs who have a bigger vision for how their business is becoming a vehicle for their higher purpose life mission. My clients span many different industries (professional service providers, music teachers, coaches, etc.).
How are you different from other web designers or developers?
I see each of my clients as an important contributor to the healing and improvement of the world, and their work as an essential part of their contribution. My job is to hold that vision with my clients and make it come alive online - with a contemporary design that speaks to their target market an includes space for them to fully express their message. The sites I develop for clients are designed for continual business expansion - without the need to start all over again in six months. My clients' businesses are rapidly changing, along with the evolving of the world they operate in, and their website needs to support that effortlessly.
This engagement with my client's vision is essential to creating not just a visual design which shares their unique message authentically with the people who need them, but also insures that their website includes the tools needed to support their expanding business plan.
I know and work with sole practitioners and micro-businesses. As a result of this focus, I understand their unique needs and web opportunities. My goal is to really strategize with you about what web technologies make sense for your unique business and which just don't. I can make recommendations for service providers that will meet your various needs at the right price point, if you require something extra special for your site.
Why shouldn't I just do it myself?
I know you are a smart, capable businessperson. You certainly have the capability to learn HTML or Dreamweaver, or whatever. You might be just starting out and feel that capital is tight and you need to save money where you can. If you really have a burning desire to become a web developer, by all means, install Dreamweaver and get cracking.
My guess, though, is that your purpose in your business is not to be a web developer. You have a business to run, clients to service, and important things to do - things that make your business money and enhance the world. Does adding "learn web design" to your to-do list really make sense?
You may be legitimately concerned about another issue - having control over your website in order to efficiently make updates to all the evolving content as your business progresses. The great news is that you CAN have it all! Your website can be professionally designed, standards-compliant, cross-browser capable AND fully updateable by yourself or your staff - without buying expensive web design software OR learning the intricacies of HTML and CSS.
When I work with you on your site, it will be all these things. I will support you and your site as needed, but the site is all yours. You control it. You update it whenever you want to and you always have access to your files.
What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?
My system works best for people who are truly devoted to the enhancement of their business using web technologies. You don't need to be an expert on technology or know HTML. You must be willing, however, to learn a little about how to use the technology you have to support your business progress. After working with me, you should have a new confidence about your web technology and true ownership of your web properties.
For what type of professional is this program NOT going to work?
Because my program is about technology empowerment, if you are proudly "technophobic" and have no desire to learn anything to really maximize your business (which is a strategic process that only you can do), I'm afraid I won't be the designer for you.
If you are one of these people, I gently and respectfully ask that you look elsewhere for a more traditional web designer and I hope you understand why. I don't think you will get the results you are looking for and I wouldn't want you to waste your time or money. Is that fair?
What knowledge and skills do I need to work successfully with you?
You need to have a willingness to look at your business with fresh eyes. You should be comfortable using the Internet (browsing the web, reading your email). You should also be willing to learn a little about how to use web applications for your business. Don't worry, these sites and services tend to be designed with business people or the general public in mind, and shouldn't be too difficult to learn. Plus, I offer step-by-step guidance so you will know exactly what to do.
What exactly is The Whole Web Impact System?
After years of working with different clients and following new technology developments I recognized an optimal pattern for a business to go from no web presence to a thriving one without getting confused or overwhelmed in the process. I have designed The Whole Web Impact System to be used to optimally and systematically create your web presence in a way that enhances your marketing efforts and gets you results.
The System includes these steps:
- Elaborate your Big Vision and create a plan
Connecting with your vision for your business and who you are here to serve will help us develop the right design for your website. Also, getting clear about what role you want your website to play in your business and marketing will guide our process together. You need to decide what resources you are willing to commit to marketing your website-both in the beginning and on an ongoing basis. We will discuss all these things and will create a guiding Web Business Vision Map which will be followed and revised throughout the rest of our work together.
- Develop your brand and visual image
Having a clear and consistent brand is important online with all the visual clutter out there. We will look at any current identity materials you have (domain name, logo, tagline, colors, etc) or work on getting them established so that everything that follows will reinforce your brand. We will also discuss what sort of image should be projected by your website and work on the website's visual design.
- Establish a lead-collection system
Your website can act as a 24 hour sales staff, not only establishing your brand and disseminating information about your business, but gathering qualified prospects as well! We will look at offering freebies and creating an E-zine that will start generating a list of prospective customers for you.
- Get the basics set up
Once we are clear on your direction and branding, getting your basic website launched is the next order of business. We will put up your essential information-About, Contact, Services Offered, etc. and launch your site.
- Keep it fresh
Now that you've got your website up and prospects are visiting, we will look at ways you can continually freshen your website. A continually changing website sends the message that your business is alive and kicking, as well as establishing credibility through some documented history. News, event listings, an article repository, a blog, RSS, and multimedia can all be considered.
- Build connections and relationships
In this stage we make sure you are set up with the appropriate social media services and sites and hook them together with your website and blog so your message gets more exposure and you begin to make connections with prospects and strategic alliances.
- Look into selling online
If your business lends itself to making online sales, we will consider the various options regarding merchant accounts and shopping carts and make choices that are cost effective and support your long-term business goals.
Exactly how do you help me using The Whole Web Impact System?
I guide you through the various steps of the System and together we discuss your unique business needs and resources and decide what should be implemented for your website.
Together we will determine when and in what order various things should be implemented. This will insure that you build momentum with your web business and don't get overwhelmed by the process. Choosing a logical order to work in will keep your business growing and manage resource demands. We will choose a website launch date that fits your goals and available time.
I also provide you with the necessary research and information so that together we decide how best to implement the things for your website. There are so many ways to achieve the same thing - using different technologies and different service providers, and all requiring a different investment and offering different specific features. It can be very challenging to decide which to use, and guidance in these choices can save hundreds or thousands of dollars - not to mention countless hours of effort.
We will engage in a collaborative design process that takes into consideration your branding, target market, and how you want to be positioned in the marketplace. I want you to be thrilled with your design and we will work on it until you are.
Your website design and development will be handled by myself and my talented team, and for any needs you have that go beyond what we offer, I can assist you in locating the additional services you require.
What results can I expect?
After working with me through The Whole Web Impact System, you will have:
- A website that you are proud to have clients visit because it authentically reflects you and your vision
- The ability for you or your assistant to add and update pages on your website without any special knowledge, continually freshening the content and gaining repeat visitors
- A prospect-gathering system to continually fill your pipeline-even if the prospects aren't yet ready to buy
- Access to best-fit technology providers and services to help you accomplish your online goals within your budget
- E-commerce to make sales while you sleep via your website (if applicable)
- A new confidence about your online technology and how to use it to market your business
How quickly can I expect results?
This depends on you and when you are ready to take the next necessary steps in the process. Generally a website and/or blog can be launched in 1-2 months, as long as you are available for design approvals and to provide your content. If you don't have any branding established yet, it can take a bit longer, since we need to get that right first. After that we will move forward at a pace you are comfortable with, but which will result in a website that really serves your business.
Will I recover the investment I put into this program?
Yes! Having a top-notch website full of new content and useful features is a must in today's business environment. Whatever projects you think about postponing, your online presence can't be one of them!
Having a professional website/blog is a visual commitment to your mission in the world. It also acts as a channel to communicate with those you are meant to serve.
I ask you:
- How much will you save in time and money by not making common web design mistakes?
- How much time will you save not having to search the web to understand new web business technologies?
- How much time will you save not having to research web business products and service providers?
- How much money will you save by getting the right technology and service providers that fit your business and resources?
- What is the value to you of having a visible professional reputation?
- What is the value to you of having a list of interested prospects (with current contact info!) who have given you permission to contact them?
- What is the value of one new customer to your business?
I am ready to commit to conveying my business vision with a professional website! What are my options for getting started with you?
I offer a few different options so you will get exactly the level of features and support you need.
*Web hosting includes:
- Web servers which are specially optimized and maintained to run these types of CMS managed sites
- Database hosting for the CMS
- 20 separate email accounts (email@example.com)
- Unlimited email forwarding addresses
- Access to your email accounts through a web browser (webmail interface) or using your favorite email software (such as MS Outlook, Mac Mail, Blackberry, etc (POP3 and IMAP supported)).
- FTP (file transfer protocol) access
The hosting includes space for both a website and a blog, so you only need one web hosting account regardless of the package you sign-up for. In addition, if you have either the Professional Blog Package or the Website Design/Development Package, and later want to add the Blog or Website Package, you will still only need to have a single web hosting account.
What do I need to do to make our work together effective?
You need to devote some time to our work together - not only for any scheduled telephone calls, but also to complete any tasks that are necessary for the process to progress. Things you might need to do: gather your branding materials, write content, participate giving design feedback, sign-up with services we decide to use (Google Analytics, Email Newsletter service, Merchant account or PayPal, etc) Most of these tasks can be completed by yourself; your assistants or partners; or outside professionals, if you don't want to spend time on it "in-house".
Can you tell me more about the features I can have on my website?
Your unique website will be built on a full content management system (CMS), which includes a database to store all of your site content and all the code necessary to dynamically create your webpages on-the-fly - so each page is current and matches your design flawlessly.
My team will set up your website and/or blog with the features you desire. During our follow-up interactions we will discuss what you'd like to add that isn't currently set-up.
Your website can include any or all of the following:
- E-zine signup form(s)
- Events calendar
- Product & service pages - with Buy Now buttons, if desired
- Client testimonials/case studies
- Photo galleries/portfolio
- Integration with your social networking accounts
- Contact us form
- Audio/Video items
- All manner of general content pages
Your blog will have all the modern blog features:
- Moderated Commenting
- RSS Feed
Once your website is set up, it becomes fully do-it-yourself ready. All you need is a web browser to update content or add new pages. You can have separate log-ins for yourself and any assistants you have who will be helping you. You don't need to mess with HTML or the "design" part of the website (though you have access to those if you need them for advanced purposes).
Your website will be fully visible and available to anyone using any type of computer and any type of web browser.
What if I have a website right now, but am interested in your services - can you convert my current website?
Absolutely! My team can convert your current website design rather than creating a new one. This might also be a good time to tweak your current design, or get a face-lift. My professional graphic designers can work with your current design as a basis for your updated look. If you are interested in this option, please let me know and I will take a look at your current site and let you know if I foresee any issues with a conversion.
OK, I know which program I want. How do we get started?
Great! Please contact me and I will get you all set up and get our business/web alignment and strategy consultation scheduled. I look forward to helping you take your business to the next level!
OK, I'm ready to do this, but I have a couple of additional questions. Can I call you?
Yes, you can contact me and we will schedule a "get acquainted" call and I will be happy to answer your questions.
I look forward to working with you to make your business vision a reality!