LunchPress #35: What is web consulting and how can your business benefit from it?

LunchPress #35: What is web consulting and how can your business benefit from it?What is the difference between a web consultant and a web designer/developer?When should you talk to a web consultant?How do you work with them?

Posted by Eraserheader Design on Tuesday, January 30, 2018


LunchPress #35: What is web consulting and how can your business benefit from it?

Main Takaways:

  • What is the difference between a web consultant and a web designer/developer?
  • When should you talk to a web consultant?
  • How do you work with them?



Hi there and welcome to LunchPress number 35. Now done with the quick back to basics with WordPress, I wanted to talk to you guys a bit today about website consultancy. The reason being is that I’ve just launched a new landing page for myself that’s all about the service that I’ve been offering for awhile and I want to get more into it. It’s really exciting for me as a business owner to be doing this and I hope that you come along for the ride to get a better understanding of what a web consultant is and when they’re going to be right for you in your business. Because, sometimes, you could really use a consultant’s help before you make big decisions around your website from doing a new one, all kinds of things.

What I want to cover today is what’s the difference between a website consultant compared to a designer or developer, when you should talk to one, when you should arrange to start working with one and how do you work with them, what kinds of things will you cover. Let’s start off with what are the differences between a web consultant and a website designer or developer.

As a consultant, I am a designer with a fair bit of front-end knowledge. Our mandate is to help you solve your business problems from a web perspective. You want to think about a web consultant is not someone who’s going to build something for you and then that’s it, like the traditional, build a website and launch it or take a site and do like a refresh as it were. The concept with a consultant is that they’re going to ask you a lot of questions from a business perspective which is going to relate to your website’s purpose and what you’re trying to achieve goal wise and based off of those criterias, they will then help you to enact those things. Whether it will be to go ahead and code something or design something, bring someone on, do auditing, et cetera, et cetera.

The main difference between a consultant and a web designer or developer is that the consultant is going to want to pivot the whole thing or just construct the whole, whatever process, whatever project you want to do, whatever tasks, around what is going to be the best for your business. Essentially, we’re looking at your goals, looking at traction, looking at revenue and things from the past, looking at data and node sets. What they’re going to want to discuss are going to be long-term solutions and it’s going to be based around return on investment. They will absolutely talk about aesthetics and how something will work but they’re going to frame it more from a business perspective and that’s important because, probably, the reason you have a site, it’s supposed to generate something, whether that’s revenue or awareness or an audience for you. They’re going to be focusing around what it will take to complete those tasks from a level of business perspective and then how that’s going to roll out for your website.

Then, once that’s done, they may be the ones that will actually develop that for you or roll it out or create that sales funnel or that lead page or set-up something for you or they may rely on a network of other professionals that they know is going to fit your particular industry and your needs. They may offset it to someone else, they may have someone within their roster to work with or they may do key components themselves. And most web consultants this day and age are people like myself, who have been in the trenches doing web design and helping out with development and then making the transition to make sure that the right questions are being asked and the right steps are being taken and it’s not just a question of do you have web copy and what do you want it to look like.

Turn your website into your business’ MVP.

Don’t make important website decisions on your own. I’m here to help you out of the weeds of your giant ‘to-do’ list. Together, we can make sure your site changes bring more phone calls, more sales and more engagement.

Once you understand the difference between a web consultant and a web designer and developer, your next thing is, well, when would you want to talk to them? When does it make sense for you to go and speak with someone and then work with them on a consulting basis? The biggest one, at least one that creates a lot of work for me, is when people are interested in refreshing their website or doing the next iteration. What’s happening is that either their company has pivoted so the website is no longer relevant or whatever the website is supposed to be doing isn’t working to the best of the advantage and people will feel like, well now is the time to do it all over again. It could be that point but you’d be better off investing some time with a consultant in figuring out exactly what you need instead of just going to a bunch of developers and designers and asking for quotes. They’re going to want to ask a lot of questions too that would help give them, you, the best quote.

You want to go work with a consultant first to figure out your real needs, the real questions you need to ask and from there, you have much more power and you have more tool sets at your disposal to figure out who’s going to be the best person to complete the job as outlined by the consultancy. You want to think about talking to a consultant if you are trying to build revenue around a particular service or particular product. This could be a new thing that you’re going to be offering or something existing. If it’s new, maybe you need a funnel setup or you need a drip campaign or you need to see where your website is and how that’s going to create the most, as we say, bang for your buck around the particular product or service that you want to show. A consultant can help you understand that from a user level and from a business level to make sure … and a marketing level, absolutely. So that you understand how people are going to perceive your products and your services that you want to sell.

If they’re brand new, a consultant can help you articulate that. Either they can help you write copy or they can ask more questions so you have a better idea of how you want to prove that your service or product is better than your competition or they may help you do survey samples, that sort of thing. Again, their concept around this is they can help you create money that isn’t existing on your website right now or help troubleshoot areas and help you figure out why something you have invested in isn’t making you money. That could be a great opportunity to speak with a consultant.

The last reason you might want to talk with them is that you need to create a web strategy. Maybe you have your first website up and it made sense at the time and you put it up at 80% done, which I recommend. You’ve got most of your copy in and you’ve built some links over awhile and your SEO is starting to build up but you’re ready for next steps. You’re ready to take your website seriously, maybe you’re going to be entering into a grant to help you write it or you want to add some new functionality or you’re realizing there’s a lot of value in your site but maybe your brand is lost in translation when they go to that site or you don’t feel that your website is doing its best to speak about what you offer and what you want to share with the world.

Just like we should have a business strategy when we’re going into business for ourselves or as a brick and more … an actual storefront or if you’re a consultant yourself, we’re going to have a business strategy in place and that should wind up into a website. Because just having a website is not a website strategy and just throwing Facebook ads that point to there is not a strategy at all. That’s a race for the bottom when it comes to making sure that your goals are met.

The last thing I want to talk about is how would you work with a consultant. How does that differ from working with a web designer or developer? The way it works with myself, anyways, is that you usually are going to want to get into multiple sessions. To just pay for one hour with somebody, unless it’s a very specific task or question that you need to ask, that’s not necessarily going to roll out. Generally, if you’re at a stage where you wanted to hub with a web consultant, you have a multilayered problem that you’re trying to solve. What you want to do is you want to work with someone who, over multiple sections, will number one, make sure that we are going down the right path with what you want to do. They can hold you accountable. You can hold them accountable to make sure that goals are being met and that the systems that are being talked about are being talked in place. If they think that there’s something better you should be doing, then they should be offering you alternatives and how to do research on those.

Multiple sessions not only ensure that you are getting what you want out of the consultancy but that there’s someone following up to make sure that even that hourly investment you’ve had over a couple of weeks is being returned because there’s something moving forward. As opposed to the traditional sense of, I’ll get a quote and I’ll sit on a quote and maybe I’ll get three quotes from three people and then I’m basically sitting here with an amount and time and if I like the person or not, which is great from a budgetary standpoint, but you want to make sure, like I said earlier that, whatever you’re going to move forward with, you have everything thought out, every angle covered to make sure that you’re going to get exactly what you want when you take the next step.

Consultants will often offer other sorts of packages besides the hourly talking with them and creating strategies. One example might be they might be, they might do packages such as audits or reports, they might create mock ups or prototypes for you based on what you’re looking for so you can kind of have this idea of what it’s going to take to roll out a bilingual website before going to the developer for example. They can give you examples and flow charts about how that’s going to work. Myself, I do things like I audit WordPress websites. I will go in and run a diagnostic on it and I will give you a multi-page report that explains what’s working on your site, what’s not, what you should be immediately looking at, especially if you have no … You know how things are not right with your website but you just feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I can help with that.

Most consultants will not only offer an hourly solution, our hourly consult, they will also offer other products and packages that help you quickly do the thing you want to do the most. They can do weekly sessions or hourly rate tasks. I do as well. Most often, myself, I will work with people generally between a two to five hour rate and that could be on top of particular tasks they want me to do. I also have other clients where I meet on a regular basis to make suer that we’re meeting their goals, that we’re following up on the questions that they have, that we’re making sure we’re following up on the service providers they want to talk to.

There you go. In a short amount of time, what the difference is between a consultant and a website designer or developer, when you should talk to a consultant and how do you work with them. This, of course, all ties into my brand new landing page which I’ve launched which, basically, shows you that you can talk to me for 20 minutes free. Let’s figure out what you’re trying to get to the bottom of your site. Let me see if I can help you and if web consulting is right for you.

Guys, thank you so much for joining me on LunchPress. As you’ve noticed, I’ve been trying to say WordPress consultant the whole time and I absolutely still am. I’m still madly in love with WordPress and it is absolutely the platform of choice for myself and for most of my clients. It’s just whenever I say, “Woo,” out comes WordPress. But maybe I want to say, “Website,” in general. Thank you guys so much. Have a great day and happy WordPressing. Bye.

Turn your website into your business’ MVP.

Don’t make important website decisions on your own. I’m here to help you out of the weeds of your giant ‘to-do’ list. Together, we can make sure your site changes bring more phone calls, more sales and more engagement.

About Alison

Alison is the one woman show behind Eraserheader Design. An international speaker, Alison tapps into the intersection of business, web and creativity. As a web and branding consultant, her aim is to raise web literacy for all business owners! When not being a total internet nerd, she entertains her two pet parrots.