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Web Promotion A Web Developer S Rant

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Dave Haynes

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User since: 26 Aug 1999

Articles written: 3

Does the editor of a newspaper ask and expect the person who's working the printing press to promote and advertise his newspaper? Does he ask the photographer? Maybe he asks the sports writer? No, he doesn't ask any of them. Why then, must I - the web developer - be stuck with the task of promoting and advertising my client's web site? If I bought business cards at A+ Printing, I highly doubt they would hand them out to MY prospective clients. Although, maybe they would if I got really mad and belligerent and told them that it was their job to handout my business cards and said things like, "Well what the hell did I pay you for?"

Web Developers have to put up with this all the time. For some reason, every single client thinks it's our fault his real estate site doesn't show up in the top ten on every search engine when he searches for "real estate." He may even refuse to pay his bill if he doesn't get a certain number of hits every day.

No matter what you tell him, he will never understand that it takes a lot of hard work to advertise and promote a web site, and it's just silly to think that responsibility can be placed on the web developer's shoulders. It's like saying, "Well, Professor Moriarty developed the formula for Aardvark Cola, so I think he'd be a great choice for making the 30 second television commercial." Not only does Dr. Moriarty, a nutritional chemist, not want to make the commercial, he has no clue HOW to make the commercial. He knows how to make it taste great, but he doesn't know how to advertise it. His commercial might be great for chemists: "If you're really thirsty, and H2O just won't cut it - why not try some carbonated water with sodium benzoate? Aardvark Cola has the perfect blend of sodium citrate, natural flavors, and citric acid to quench that thirst and also serves as a great source of corn syrup." To put it bluntly, Dr. Moriarty doesn't know a damn thing about how to sell a soft drink to a mass audience. Aardvark Cola would know this, so he would never even be considered as a candidate for marketing.

Now back to the lowly web developer. Aardvark Cola comes to him wanting a sleek web site with all the bells and whistles. They want to have order forms all over it; they want JavaScript, Java applets, Active Server Pages, and database integration; and they want glitzy graphics with animation. The web developer does all this and more for his wonderful client, and then he's expected to PROMOTE and ADVERTISE the drink! Why is it up to the web developer? It's ridiculous.

Promoting and advertising ANYTHING requires someone with both time and marketing skills - two things that few web developers possess in great quantities. Yet, the web developers are given the task of boosting the site in the search engine rankings, getting more visitors, and generating a nice buzz about the client's site. A web developer may know HOW to submit a site to a search engine, but then again, Dr. Moriarty may know how to operate a video camera, but just because he knows how it works doesn't mean he can make a good commercial. In short, don't expect the person who developed your site to be able to effectively promote and advertise it.

For those of you who are stuck in the promotion position until your clients open their eyes, you may find these resources useful:

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