Is your website really YOURS? Azrights, a leading Internet law firm, launch new guides on avoiding expensive mistakes when commissioning websites

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As many as 10% of all start ups commissioning websites end up having to scrap the site within a year of starting up because it proves unsuited to their requirements. To help businesses avoid such mistakes, Azrights internet solicitors have produced two ebooks with essential tips on commissioning and marketing a new website.

Shireen Smith, Azrights Solicitors

Can you imagine buying a house or leasing an office or shop without checking the ownership of the lease or freehold, using a qualified lawyer? Yet many businesses are doing exactly this when they commission a new website for their business.

As many as 10% of all start ups commissioning websites end up having to scrap the site within a year of starting up because it proves unsuited to their requirements.

To help businesses avoid such mistakes, Azrights internet solicitors have produced two ebooks with essential tips on commissioning and marketing a new website.

Can you imagine buying a house or leasing an office or shop without using a qualified lawyer, or having a professional survey? Would you just take the vendor’s word for it that “everything is just fine”? Probably not. Even if the vendor was someone you knew and trusted, you would probably still see sense in using a lawyer.

But many businesses are doing just this when they commission a new website. They are relying on their website designer not only to design and build their website, but also to make decisions about the type of site they require, which domain name to use, and how to structure the contract process in an ecommerce shop, among other things. They are also relying on the web designer to understand copyright and licensing laws when using content such as pictures or articles for the website.

Azrights, a leading IP and Internet Law Firm based in London, estimates that as many as 10% of all start ups commissioning websites costing under £3000 end up having to scrap the site within a year of starting up because it proves unsuited to their requirements.
What goes wrong?

Because most start ups commissioning a website do not understand the technical options and choices open to them, and are on budgets of less than £3000, the temptation to take a casual approach when commissioning websites is strong. Typically they will proceed after an hour’s conversation at most, satisfied by looking at a range of sites the designer has previously designed, and pointing to other sites they like as a way of choosing their own site. It is hardly surprising they end up with the wrong website for their needs, and often have to start over with a new one soon after taking delivery of the first one.

The unsuitability of the site surfaces in a number of ways. A common scenario is the discovery that the site is poorly constructed for visibility in the search engines. Either the structure of the site is less than ideal for indexing by the search engines, or is completely unsuitable, which certain types of site built in flash will be. The business owner then has to spend its scarce resources of time and money in having a new site built.

Given that websites are often the biggest item of expense for start ups, and involve complex technology, it is surprising so many people commission them without first taking legal advice to find out the issues to be aware of. Ending up with a flash site, when all you asked for was a good looking site could literally wipe you out. The cost of a replacement site may only be another few thousand, but the real loss for the business is the lost opportunity to get proper benefits from the initial site – as well as the lost time in putting it right. For some businesses it could mean running out of money before recovering from this early mistake.

If business owners knew the importance of articulating their requirements in detail then their chances of getting an appropriate website would increase dramatically. They would perhaps know to mention that the visual appeal of the site is less of a priority than having a successful web presence which is easily found when potential customers search for its offerings.

However, that is not the only matter to articulate. You can have a beautiful site AND be readily seen by the search engines, if you know how to ask for this. So, there are a myriad of considerations and details to usefully focus on, in order to get the best possible online website for your budget.

To help businesses know what to ask for when commissioning a website, or engaging services to be more visible in the search engines, Azrights has produced two ebooks which are on sale through its estore. They are How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Engaging Search Engine Optimisation Services So You Achieve Visibility Cost Effectively and How to Commission A WebsiteThat Will Win You More Business, and Help You Make More Sales.

Azrights runs an online branding workshop that covers the issues discussed here in more depth at the British Library Business and Intellectual Property Center - follow this link to find out more. The next course is on 5 August.

For further information, contact Azrights here, visit our Internet law and online branding news page or visit our blog on Internet Branding and IP.

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Shireen Smith
Azrights
+44 20 7700 1414
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