One of our clients posted this on their website and I was blown away. I could've asked to show only some excerpts but we ask for feedback constantly so I wanted to show it on our site warts and all.
We can only improve with honest constructive feedback.
One point I would make is that we have a strict client sign off policy that asks not the question Is that ok? but instead Are you delighted?
What can you expect as an Inspire client?
I would like to think I am fairly typical of many small business owners when it comes to websites. I have had various websites for business over the years evolving from seriously homemade efforts back in the day when a website was not de rigeur to using the ‘latest’ technology Open Source. I must also confess a love of all things techie and point out that I am often up at the top of the queue when it comes to gizmos and gadgets.
Now I must also own up to being like many others with a small business website – tight fisted! For many years good enough was good enough and I always carefully side stepped any sales pitches from the fancy end web design companies maintaining that what I had was quite sufficient. Anything more than a few hundred quid was just not necessary.
I then had occasion to step back from business for a while and whilst on semi sabbatical decided to launch my new business which of course meant a new website. My first thoughts went to Open Source and Wordpress in particular. There are of course other Open Source platforms but they are really fiddly and hard to understand for the lay person and Wordpress has evolved into the go to place for quick assembly IKEA type websites – shiny on the surface, full of hard to put together components and definitely not resulting in an original piece.
But jings, hadn’t things evolved during my time away from the coalface. Hacking was becoming a full time sport for many and almost daily assaults on the big boy platforms from Linkedin to Wordpress made me stop for a moment and think: not least because my Wordpress website had been hacked and I couldn’t fix it myself. And in marketing terms I wanted to look as best as I possibly could. After all business websites were no longer a nice add on but now the centre or hub of any business. The rise and rise of Smartphones and Tablets has seen to that alongside the need to compete in a 5 Stars world of online reviews and social credibility.
I already knew David and the team at Inspire so the decision to use them was already made – they had plenty positive reviews – see what I mean about a 5 star world. We sat down and worked out a brief which included a mobile specific site as well, agreed a price which was quite a bit more than I had previously spent but I knew I needed to get away from home made. I naively thought that was it having agreed a brief. My new website would be magically designed and /then I would have to spend ages tweaking and populating it. After all that was my experience to date. So I was somewhat taken aback when David asked for another meeting which then went on for what seemed hours of agonising hard work. He probed and pushed and asked all sorts of piercing questions about my business. He drew me up on several points, he made me really think like a customer and he quite firmly suggested some of my ideas were total nonsense and unnecessary. There were times during this process that I quite frankly just wanted to say “Hey, let’s forget this”.
David then tasked him team with the brief and the first designs came back. Quite nice yes and in days gone by I may well have stopped at that and accepted good enough. But I was paying good money here so I said nope, let’s try again and it took several attempts to get the look that I wanted but we finally got there. I was really glad that I had a good collection of my own images up my sleeve and if I can give you just one tip it is collect great images as often as you can that relate to your business. Then the work went away to the backroom boys to build the site. It took time and I was a bit frustrated at the wait but when David finally sent me the URL to have a look at the new site I was fully expecting to see something that was quite good and that I would need to spend endless hours on the CMS system a) working out how to use it and b) making it right. After all that was what one had to do wasn’t it? What I wasn’t prepared for was to be blown away the minute the site loaded. I fell head over heels in love on the spot. It looked fabulous and was fully populated and almost ready to go.
Frazer then sent me the link to get into the backroom of the site. Now I already knew it was Inspire’s own Content Management System (CMS) and I’ll let you into a wee secret now – I already had experience of other ‘custom’ CMS systems and quite frankly found them sadly lacking in true functionality and hard to understand. So again I was ready to have my expectations met. No again they were not met but exceeded several times over. This CMS was actually straightforward and the user interface simple. I only needed to speak to Frazer a couple of times for clarity and again a few weeks later when my aged brain had forgotten a simple “How to…” It continues to be a joy to use. Changes and updates take mere minutes to implement. No more hours on a Sunday sweating over Web language.
Why am I writing this glowing article about Inspire? It’s quite simple really. Over the past few months I have been coming across more and more examples of shocking websites, appalling decisions and dreadful service for business owners. Sites made by friends, the neighbour’s son, the DIY’er…… and in purely marketing terms, each time it is seriously holding back the business from growing. Remember the website is now the hub of business and like any hub, if it is faulty, the whole wheel cannot turn and move forward.
Whether you choose to use Inspire or not, please do use a professional company which has 5 star reviews you can validate yourself. Save up if you have to. But do it right and you won’t regret it.
You can visit what we did for Janet by clicking here for mobile and here for desktop.