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The Conceptual Terrace and the Business Man
Let's start with the conclusion so we can get that out of the way. A business website should be built using tools and methods appropriate to the "Conceptual Terraces" accessible by the business represented.

It is totally wack to build a fancy-schmancy website using an Oracle database and some kind of web application server when the parties involved have to make a conceptual leap just to grasp the idea that the website will be on some computer in the other part of town. If they don't know what a link is don't thrust applets down their throats.

Why? Why shouldn't any and every business owner no matter how new to the internet avail themselves of the full gamut of web technology currently available? Pay attention, and I'll tell you.

If a business does not understand what a Shockwave presentation is, if said business has never before even seen a Flash movie, then they will most likely not have the internet savvy to get their dollars worth from any such material put onto their website. Why should they pay the big bucks when they will most probably not know how to maximize the value from the investment.

Further, if said newbie business is that new to the internet then they should purchase the cheapest practical solution so that when the inevitable internet re-education occurs they can throw-out the old and install the new with minimum loss.

Plan on asking more of your webmaster as you become more internet wise. Plan on it. Don't invest over your head into a website before you have the experience to understand what is happening.

Webmasters push you into websites from dramatically different "Conceptual Terraces" not for your good but rather for reasons of their own. Either to impress upon you how well spent your money was, or to keep you out of the messy, messy guts of the webpages, or to keep the site so difficult to update that any and all webupdates must come back through them assuring repeat business and a nice annual income.

However, in all fairness, there are many occasions when the business owner requests (or demands) solutions which are beyond any practical solution for that website. So the webdesigner complies giving forth with a difficult to maintain site which answers the request of the business but not the needs.


  • Business owner:
    if you do not currently have a website put up a small beginning site just to get your foot in the door -- your foot wet -- your foot anywhere other than your mouth.
  • Webdesigner:
    talk to your clients about rings of growth. Encourage them to create the website in stages allowing for two steps back and three steps forward.

  • Business owner:
    don't do it all at once. Agree in principle with your webmaster to grow the site in stages -- allowing for evaluation, rethinking, retooling, and growth.
  • Webdesigner:
    consider building 10 to 15% of your time into education of your customer. Bring them along to the point so that they can appreciate what they are asking for, the impact, the expense in design, the expense for maintenance, and the realistic return -- either in money, branding, customer perception, support, sales, and lead generation.

  • Business owner:
    Don't grip and squirm when you notice that some of your billing from the webmaster includes time spent consulting with you and bringing you up to speed on what's what. If you can't pay the price of education be assured you will pay the price of your ignorance.
  • Webdesigner:
    Do your best to bring your client along so that he or she can gradually contribute more and more to the site. By the time he or she is up to speed on the current website they will be asking you for additions from the next "Conceptual Terrace". You can ride the boundary of the website clearing fields and pulling stumps. Yes, there might come a day when your services are no longer required. You will have trained yourself out of a job. Don't fret. That is not bad news. Imagine the kind of word of mouth advertising that will generate. And besides they always ask you back for a little something periodically.

  • Business owner:
    Consider the strong possibility of offering your webdesigner a small piece of the company. A few points on your internet generated income. If all goes well they will be pouring blood, sweat, and tears into the creation of a money making machine for you. (Okay, maybe not the blood part). It's just a thought. But hey, they might not mind so much the inevitable milestone creep as feature after feature is added to the initial request if they are either getting a piece of the action or you tack a little onto the original bid. You should never be stingy with your plastic surgeon, or webmaster. Either don't go for the extra or be willing to pay for it. "Hey, while you're in their adding to the breasts can you snip a little off the nose?" might not get you the best results.
  • Webdesigner:
    Never, never, never put all your eggs in one basket. You should have two or three little websites you are running on the side -- just in case you hit it big. That will keep you too busy to sweat the small stuff.