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  1. #1
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    Okay, I know the title's a little cryptic, but I've got a problem in a big way.

    In September of last year I was hired to build a site and maintain it. No problem. It's a regional info. site with tons of content and useful info for people in our area.

    Well, okay, one BIG problem. My boss has been in various businesses including insurance and employee leasing for over 30 years. He's trying to run this business with "old school" policies, some of which are working, some of which are driving me absolutely INSANE!!!

    On the plus side, we aggressively market some of the features of our site to potential advertisers (local businesses who advertise in our directory). This has made us the biggest and most populated regional info site in the area.

    On the down side, we're charging dirt cheap ANNUAL prices. I've tried suggesting going monthly on the condition that advertisers agree to run for one year. We're in a rather tech. backwards area, and we've gotten a lot of "how do I know people will see this" questions. My boss is also worried about renewals.

    Another down side, and I will cite a specific example, is in dealing with the established tech. businesses in the area. For example, I called a local ISP asking about pricing for banner ads. They sell theirs for $25 CPM, which I think is a little high considering the fact that 90% of their traffic is their customers who have their site set as their home page. He took the phone from me and tried to find out how many people would actually see the banners, and the person on the other end, who happens to be the head of that ISP's web department, wouldn't tell him. He got 10 kinds of ticked and ranted at me for 5 minutes afterwards about how they're trying to rip off advertisers.

    I'm trying to come up with ideas and ways to promote our site and services not only to visitors, but also to potential advertisers. Today's phone call just lost us one, because I had been working with that person on getting her to advertise with us.

    The worst of it is the fact that my boss is pulling money out of his pocket every week to cover operating expenses, and he's been making it very clear that he's tired of doing so.

    I apologise for the rant, but I'm getting really close to the end of my strings here. If I can't come up with some good ideas I may go bald ripping what's left of my hair out.

    Anyone got any suggestions? (aspirin would be nice too)

    Hatton Humphrey
    Webmaster, Connecttexoma.com http://www.connecttexoma.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot Jason_Therrien's Avatar
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    WOW! Sounds like you are up to your neck in it!

    Instead of convincing your boss to take all advertisers to a monthly type deal, ask to test a few out on your plan. If you believe in your idea, then you should have nothing to risk and boss will have to believe you when he sees the numbers.

    Bringing me to my second point--Metrics. As long as your site numbers are improving and your advertisers are getting good click through rates then your site should be doing fine. Show your boss the numbers and explain them to him. Most business owners that I deal with have no idea what the difference is between a "hit" and a "user session", and if they're good or not.

    So, my point is that if you can show that the numbers are as good or better for the group you are testing out on the monthly plan, why not put all of them onto it?

    ------------------
    Jason Therrien
    www.SmartWebBusiness.com
    A small business resource for news and answers to your Internet queries.

  3. #3
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    After beginning by saying, "I was hired to build a site and maintain it," you go on to talk about a number of other jobs you're apparently either doing or feel responsible for. First, take a breath, or two. Now, realize that this is just a web site we're talking about. Also realize that there's more web work out there than can possibly get done by the people now available to do it. If you've done well with the site, get out of there before you go nuts. Go somewhere where you'll be appreciated. I assure you, there are such places.

    As for banner advertising, well, my personal opinion, based on experience, is that it's usually overpriced for the return you get. So, hey, maybe just give up on this battle.

    What you don't say is why, if you were hired to build and maintain a web site, you care so much about advertising rates. Do you get a commission? Are you also selling advertising? If so, you'd make more money in print or television advertising, unless you own the site and are getting a very big cut.

    Sorry to go on so long, but this seems to be really bothering you. Don't let it. It's not worth it. Life's too short.

    ------------------
    "Whatever can be said can be said clearly." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

  4. #4
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    My most sincere thanks for all the comments that have been posted.

    As far as the banners, they're something that has been put off for the moment.

    Joel, you asked why I care so much about the rates. There are two reasons. For one, I was hired with a relatively low hourly wage plus a quartely profit bonus. So in that regard, the more the site makes the more I make. The other reason is that I happen to consider my boss a friend. He's shelling out all the overhead on this site and it's frustrating him (and therefore me) that it's not covering itself.

    One thing that I have found that is truly hurting us is our location. Too many people in this area just plain don't trust the Internet. I actually had one client think the mouse was a plastic boot-scraper!

    There are two good things I'm learning from this job: I've picked up Cold Fusion and SQL and am learning more in it each day, which gives me experience for whatever I look for in the future (aka RESUME BULLET) and I've also learned that it doesn't matter how good an idea is, it takes a lot more than just a passion to bring it into being.

    I'm not trying to say that the business will not make it, but there's a lot of things that could be done better.

  5. #5
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    Ah, yes, kc5sig, then that explains it. But it sounds as if YOU are on the right track and if you stay on it (and don't lose your mind -- or hair, etc.) then all will be fine.

    I know what you mean about resistance to the Internet. Often what I tell people is that when the telephone came along there certainly were those who said, "Telephone? What do we need that for? We got the US Postal Service."

    Learning Cold Fusion (or PHP or Perl etc.) and SQL will put you ahead of the game very quickly.

    Didn't mean to be preachy or critical. Sorry if it sounded that way.

  6. #6
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    Oh you didn't sound preachy to me I've calmed down considerably since I posted that rant... now if I could just get him to stop trying to use me as a salesperson and let me get the newsletter and banner rotation system I want to implement written, I'd be a cappy hamper... err happy camper.



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