Businesses need to recognise the importance of professional web development, according to the head of the Irish Internet Association, Joan Mulvihill.
Mulvihill was speaking at the launch of Website Extraordinaire (Website Extraordinaire on Facebook | @beatricewhelan | LinkedIn), a web development agency founded by Beatrice Whelan, a web developer and AdWords specialist who cut her teeth in the Google Ireland. Mulvihill said that although family and friends can offer cheap web development and design, modern businesses require professional multidisciplinary services in today’s competitive market.
Mulvihill said, “It’s really important for our industry and indeed all business sectors that we have people like Beatrice with the skills, technical knowledge and creativity to facilitate Irish business owners in increasing and enhance their online presence. The professionalism of the Website Extraordinaire approach is spot on and we need to encourage business owners to use reputable, qualified professionals such as Beatrice when undertaking website development projects.”
Speaking to theSociable, we asked Beatrice about the risks of going for the cheaper option when developing a business website, “The risk is that their work might not be of a professional standard and so the result could be poor and therefore convey a poor impression of your business. In the end there is a good chance that you will have to get the website re-done by a professional, and so the original site was just a waste of time and money. There is more to website development that knowing how to code HTML. The visual design, layout and usability is extremely important, as is the style and quality of the content and proper search engine optimisation is vital. A professional Web agency will have expertise in all of these areas and be able to give the website owner good advice and implement best practice on the website.”
Beatrice added that a professionally designed and managed website can be of great benefit to businesses, “If a good website pays for itself in the sales it gets for the business in a few weeks or months then the cost is not significant. In some sectors just one sale can pay for the entire cost of the website. It is important that there are clear goals set for the website at the outset such as the number of visitors and conversions you want the site to get per month. The website developer can then ensure that the site is designed to meet these goals. When you consider that a good website can dramatically increase sales for a business then it is actually more of an expense on the business to not have a professionally designed website.”
Turning to the industry, we asked Beatrice, who has been a strong advocate of Irish web development for many years, if the professional Irish technology scene has been overly focused on Dublin. Beatrice told us that although there are certain advantages to being in the capital, Ireland’s web-scene is strong throughout the country. Although she warned that more needs to be done to support what has become one of the strongest and fastest growing industries in the country.
“I don’t think that [web development companies outside of Dublin] are been overlooked but it is certainly easier to achieve a higher profile if you are located in Dublin. For example, just being located in the Digital Hub is great advertisement for a tech business. If you are located outside of Dublin then you might have to work harder to achieve the same profile. Many of the bigger companies and better contracts are located in Dublin and so it is easier for them to choose a company that is on their doorstep. Having said that there is nothing stopping tech companies located outside of Dublin from being just as successful. We have clients located in the UK and we do all of our communication with them via email and telephone so our location is not important but the results we provide are.
“There is currently a skill shortage in the digital sector. Currently in Ireland, there are in excess of 2,500 unfilled jobs in the ICT and gaming industries. The government needs to do more to support an industry which is in high demand at a time when many other sectors are in recession. Local enterprise boards in particular should be giving more support to companies in the digital sector. ”