Small and medium sized web agencies are in the need to shift from a do it all concept to a more specialized concept, whereby they focus on the design of the website and moreover to the building and managing of the content of the website. Thereby comes the need to use ready made online website builders and content management systems that have a great deal of flexibility and robustness to deal with most of the technical issues of building a website. That kind of partnership will lead to a lower cost of ownership of the website for the agencies and the customer and will avoid constant make-overs of websites that are not bringing the added value required.
It will also put a clear demarcation on the responsibilities towards building and managing websites – the technology provider being in charge of developing and maintaining a state-of-the-art tool and the agencies being fully responsible for design and content management.
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Ultimately the customers can take over the day to day content management of the site, turning to the agencies only for redesign and/or the implementation of new features and applications.
In order for those partnerships to work, there is a need for an online web content management system that can be sort of white labeled and that web agencies and to a certain extend webmasters can use for deploying simple and complex websites and portals for their customers. That white labeled service is a sort of window to the outside world and customers for the web agencies and for the webmasters. Through that service they can not only offer web design facilities and web content management services, but also all kinds of value added services related to web building and web management. SEO and related services are coming to mind here.
When agencies and webmasters are looking for partnerships of the kind described above, the following requirements should be taken in to consideration:
a platform that is comprehensive enough to suite simple customer demands but that can also deal with complex news, sports and community portals
a platform that is easy to use and that can be maintained by non-technical people
a platform that has the widest possible set of features, including the latest multimedia features and the community features that are common now to most websites.
And a platform that has enough MANAGEMENT tools so that you can manage all the customers from a single integrated platform and that you can follow your clients on a daily basis.
And a platform that can serve as a reliable background service for the operations of the customers, without the need to invest in own servers.
All the above and the need to secure revenues upfront and in an unlimited way, so that the more the background service is used, the more revenues will come to you as long as you and your customers are using the service.
Webmasters could use the service as a sort of extension of their day to day webmaster task and leverage their capabilities to other customers and organization. There is a need to become familiarized with the software and management tools provided by the technology provider, but once done it becomes very easy for any webmaster or small agency to focus their attention to content management, content building and all the design aspect of building a nice web site.
All in all, these partnerships will dramatically enhance the customer and user experience. It will be possible to design and build a site in days, even complex sites and with all kinds of multimedia features.
The fact that end-users and customers will be able to manage the content of the website, will even enhance the customer experience. Let alone the savings that will be created both on the customer’s site and on the site of the web agencies and the webmasters.
Using a standard technology platform has many advantages:
substantial lower cost of ownership
substantial lower training cost
substantial lower maintenance cost
more people are familiar with the platform and the tool
always up to do date and with the latest features for web design and web building
continuous improvements of the platform
a community of users that can help each other through blogs, forums etc.
a large installed base
In summary, there are plenty of commercial and technology reasons to reach out for those partnerships between web agencies, webmasters and web technology providers as they benefit customers and providers in an equal way and they enlarge the market available to all players.
Philippe Bodart is an IT entrepreneur and has been at the forefront of many innovative technologies in the IT and telecoms sector.