Should You Be In the Web site Software Development Business?

One of the recurring questions I ask my clients is, “Should you make that or buy that?” I’m always amazed at how many times I see noncore functions being reinvented by companies with less than $100 million in sales. I often find myself in discussions about what the core competencies of companies are vs. “stuff that has to be done.”

Generally, I find there’s a bias among many who believe that “no one can do it like we can,” when in fact the opposite is true. In particular, I’m seeing this in Web site development, where the old adage is: “A little information is a dangerous thing.” Some companies are woefully behind and blissfully ignorant of leading edge Web site functionality. Others are smart enough — by thoroughly investigating the functionality of other sites — to realize they’re falling behind or can’t keep up.

I figure when companies worry, they’re being smart. Very few businesses are where they need to be, usually as a result of outsourcing some or all of their Web site development. No company should be in the Web site development business alone. But your top priorities should be product development, marketing and sales. Everything else should be outsourced.

As far as I’m concerned, two companies stand out when it comes to Web sites for direct marketers: ProfitCenter Software (www.profitcenter.com) and WebStore-TM from Marketing Concepts (www.marketingconcepts.com). Both of them understand Web sites for direct marketers because they’re built and operated by direct marketers. Compare your site’s functionality and search engine optimization results to the following sites:

www.globalindustrial.com

www.tigerdirect.com

www.mackspw.com

www.americanmusical.com

Play with these sites, place an order, search for a product, use search engines to find key products and services. With all the objectivity you can muster, ask yourself whether your site(s) and SEO deliver comparable results. If not, consider whether you should develop such functionality on your own or in conjunction with a group of direct marketing companies. Make or buy?

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes@b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221

Comments or questions are welcome.

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