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Nonprofit Social Enterprise Needs Your Honest Input

Dear team CNET fans:

I manage a social enterprise - a small business created to provide employment and revenue for a mission-driven organization. We developed our business out of a need we had in the many settings we serve our clients. The product has been gaining momentum (sales) among similar agencies and the general public. I have spent the last three years developing the product line, and all related branding/marketing efforts. I am now ready to launch a website that will allow sales, links, and a blog. I have no idea where to turn - but I need a partner that I can trust. I have been approached by many, and have been researching others, but as a long-term marketing strategist, I can see through their promises.

Can somebody offer me his or her opinions as to where I should go with this need? My online presence will be critical as I begin national sales calls (yes, even the chains are saying they are open to the product). Therefore, I need a real professional presence, along with reliability. Plus, good customer service, if not an account rep helping me step by step. Any ideas?

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Re: having a website developed

In reply to: Nonprofit Social Enterprise Needs Your Honest Input

There are a lot of companies (and even individuals) building websites. It's more or less a commodity, I'd say.

You don't tell where you live. If it's Australia or South Africa, I'd advise a local supplier, not one from the USA; this is a rather international forum, you see. Even if most communication between you and the website builder will probably electronically (mail, IM, Netmeeting), you might like the occasional face-to-face contact. Even within the USA, you might prefer a developer with a local presence.

The best thing to do is ask references. That's easy, because the site they did built before are open to the public and you can study all of them, just using your browser, to get an impression of what they look and what they can, and if they do what you need.

And it depends on your budget. No need to use a big web-site developing company if you expect to spend USD 2000 (which is one 40-hour week of a $50/hour programmer/consultant).

And a lot depends on your wishes. How static is the contents of your site? Do you primarily need a Content Management System allowing you to maintain the site yourself on a daily basis with new contents, or do you primarily need someone to build a site and keep doing the occasional maintenance for you.

And, of course, there's the difference between the ISP (just running the site and keeping it up and running) and the developer of the website (making the html, the java, the php, the database etc). That are quite different things.

Just a few remarks.


Kees

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Very good insight/comments - thank you

In reply to: Re: having a website developed

Dear Kees:

I am based in the Chicago, Illinois area. My background is extensive in marketing strategy. I appreciate your time and insight. Basically, I just need a functional site that can process orders while at the same time be tabbed with history, mission, etc. I would like to include a daily blog, too. I have a feeling that the daily blog and shopping cart are going to present the biggest challenges to my budget. I will investigate local businesses, even our two local universities.

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