INTERNET MARKETING AND DESIGN
Helping businesses successfully navigate the World Wide Web for 19 years and now taking to the sky
Terry Young, CEO - Photo courtesy Knox Studios
As an avid sailor, Terry Young knows that it is risky to set out on the water without knowing where you're going or what markers to look for.
As CEO of Internet Marketing and Design, he also knows that it's equally foolhardy - and potentially costly - for a company to set out on the sometimes choppy seas of the Internet without a sea-worthy website.
"The Internet is an invaluable tool, and setting up a website looks easy," Terry says. "The truth is, web development is a very complex and ever-changing field. While initial design is a part of the process, the designer must also understand coding, screens, browsers, connection speeds and search engines."
Business owners know the value of a strong, flexible, and results-producing web site. Terry Young, CEO of Internet Marketing and Design, loves to help them meet that essential need. "Nothing pleases me more than helping our clients achieve their business goals," he says in his charming British accent.
Terry has spent most of his professional life overseeing the building of websites for companies, medical practices, and individuals as far afield as the UK, Australia, Spain and Bermuda. Terry started Internet Marketing and Design in 1997, when the Web was still in its infancy. Over the past 19 years, his company has grown and prospered, based largely on customer satisfaction, because of its ability to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to rapidly changing technologies.
With a clear eye on the future, Internet Marketing and Design is always evolving and growing. After years of offering video production and editing services, a natural business progression was to add aerial photography and videography services.
Here, Terry answers some critical questions business people often ask about why it's crucial to have a true professional on their team.
What makes an effective web site?
A web site needs to cover many elements if it is to generate new business. Not only does a site have to be attractive and easy to navigate, but it also needs to adapt to whatever the visitor is viewing it on.
The site has to work on whatever browser they are using, or whether they are on a PC, Mac, tablet or phone. It also has to take advantage of newer technologies, like social media linking. All of this has to be done while being aware of what can help the company, and what will just create more work.
Finally, the biggest issue most companies have is that the developer needs to understand the functions of the dreaded search engines. If they do not, the company will have to pay heavy ongoing 'Pay-per-Click' fees in order to be seen.
What are the biggest misconceptions about having a business website?
Even after 25 years of the internet, people still believe that "if you build it, they will come".
Many businesses think that web design is simple, just some pictures and text on some pages. They believe that their site will immediately be found on Google, and the calls and orders will come flooding in.
Unfortunately, they don't consider that all of their competitors are thinking the same.
With only 10 places on Google's first page, a web developer has to literally fight against your competitors sites, and their web designers, if you're going to have a chance of being found.
The bottom line is that if you have 50 competitors in the area with websites, at least 40 of them hired web designers who couldn't do what they promised.
What kind of qualifications/skills are necessary to create a good, functional website?
There are very few formal qualifications that cover all elements of the web, because each element requires different brain 'wiring.' It is not enough to be artistic for the design; you also have to be an extremely logical thinker for coding, and understanding how and why other people have coded a certain way. Finally, you must possess a strong business mind for the marketing and promotion aspects.
Unfortunately, businesses don't ask web designers about experience or qualifications. All the designer has to do is show some pretty client sites, or sometimes even just mockups, and know some technical jargon.
It is a sad fact that the majority of web designers only work in the web field part time, and have little relevant training or experience other than knowing where to download free web site templates. Our qualifications and experience span decades in marketing, advertising, graphic design, IT and computer programming. I, myself, was a commercial programmer for over 12 years before starting Internet Marketing and Design in 1997. Since then, we have been full time 24/7 in the web development, design, and marketing fields.
Can't business owners just use a template online and make their own site?
Several places advertise that a company can 'build a professional looking web site in minutes'.
Because many businesses think that a web site is no more than some pages of pictures and text, most try that route at first to save money.
About 80% of our clients previously tried 'budget' sites, or used employees or friends to build them a site, usually part time around their day job.
As I mentioned before, so much more is involved in professional web development, and so these initial web sites don't achieve anything.
At that point, the business realizes that they need a professional company to promote them effectively online, especially if they have competitors who rank high on the search engines and get a lot of business.
Is there a difference between web development and web design?
There is a vast difference. It is like asking what the difference is between a builder and a painter. The actual design of a site only makes up around 15% of the total development time. The other 85% consists of setting up the server and database, programming the site, social media linking, search engine promotion, etc.
This 85% is also what separates us from less experienced web designers. We do not simply download free site software and follow instructions to set it up. We write our own code.
The resulting site is more stable and secure than free sites, like WordPress or Joomla - and it has been tailored to the clients' needs and requests.
How does what you do differ from other web companies?
The biggest difference is that we do not download and sell free 'open source' software like WordPress or Joomla. Open source is used by other web designers and even companies because it is free. This means a fast profit with very little knowledge needed. Also, there is no actual company involved in the development or quality control of this software; it is maintained by volunteers. As such, it is extremely insecure, is hacked very often, and has many bugs - which the designer doesn't know well enough to fix quickly.
We create and code our sites ourselves. This gives us control over the quality and security. It allows us to build additional features as the client requires.
Also, because we created the coding, if there are future issues, such as new browsers or devices, or search engines change something, we can make adjustments very quickly. Probably the biggest difference is that our clients do not need to pay outrageous extra fees just to be found online.
How do your costs compare to other web companies?
Our prices for custom development can work out to be less expensive than companies who resell free software and templates. While other companies may charge less initially to get the business, they have mandatory ongoing 'maintenance' plans, sometimes costing thousands of dollars a month. Over time, a site can cost tens of thousands.
Our prices are slightly higher for the site development, but that covers everything, including search engine optimization and submission, and customization. We also give free support for six months once the site is live. After that, we have a very reasonable maintenance package which costs about the same as a cellphone plan.
What is next for your company?
We have always pursued additional services which can benefit clients. Recently, after 18 months of training and FAA testing, we opened our new aerial photography and video department - Air Aspects.
For years we have offered video production and editing services, and so adding aerial services was not only a natural business progression, but also something unique and not widely available.
Read more about our drone services at our new web site at AirAspects.com
Internet Marketing and Design
133 Kempsville Rd
Chesapeake, VA 23320
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