Blog: Phuong & Viet Le

Grab a cup and sip a while! Let's talk stra-tea-gy with Phuong and Viet Le, the young co-founders of Ono Tea, as they build their creative new business around an ancient drink.

Viet Le - Post 4: You're Only as Good as Your Website

One of the most common mistakes that I have seen with business owners is that they slack off with their online presence. Little do they know that the majority of consumers immediately search for a business’s website on ANY medium that advertises their brand. You can have the most amazing brand offline, but as consumers start getting more internet savvy they will start looking at your online presence that much more.

My general theory is to never half-ass anything. However, many companies look at the price involved with a good website and will try to cut corners, resulting in a website fit for a fifth grader. In the past, it may have been logical to contract a student or your nephew that knows some web design, but with the new cutting technologies of flash development and video on the web, the “nephew” days are rapidly expiring. Wannabe web designers will eventually weed themselves out.

A website should not be an area where you toss all of the information in your brochures (referred to as information regurgitation), but it should be a piece of art that needs to be structured. Not only are aesthetic looks important, but the backbones of how the site is organized are as well.

A good comparison is found in designing the floor plan to a department store.  You always want the customer to know where they are currently located, as well as keeping relevant departments next to each other. Now if the kids section was located right next to the adult lingerie section, we have a problem. The same methods apply to building websites. If users have no idea where they are on the website, how they got there, or how to move to the next page, then they will just quickly exit.

Investing in a poor website is actually more detrimental to the brand, which really defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. Well-constructed websites will retain consumer interest, while keeping your return on investment happy.

Here are some good tips of what a truly professional web designer will do for you:
  • Ensure that the visitor has no problems navigating your website. After all, the users are there for a reason, and they need to be directed into the right areas.
  • Ensure the graphics and any animation suit the brand, and not distract from it.
  • Give you a better return on your investment and build your brand vs. breaking it
  • They will NOT work for free. Professional designers will have a portfolio of  work to be judged on (mine is ). Asking for free work compromises the respect of the professional (what would a law firm think if you asked each lawyer to do free work to base your decisions on).
Coming from a web design background myself and owning my own company, I have worked with both professional and amateur designers. In the end, you really get what you pay for. Expensive web designers may not necessarily be ripping you off, but they are bringing their expertise to the table. Judge them on their previous work and on how they carry themselves.

My website has gotten a lot of buzz from the look alone, and has been a deciding factor for many of our accounts. So the bottom line is, do NOT skimp on a website and waste your money, you will regret it in the long run. Remember, what looks good to you may not be what the average consumer will think is good…so set aside that hubris and leave it up to the design professional!