Recently on Twitter we noticed a discussion regarding another DotNetNuke vendor and how their website was not based on the DotNetNuke platform. The discussions that followed came to a very clear conclusion, the act of dog-fooding the technology you work with is very important. For example, a company that "specializes" in DotNetNuke solutions and uses Joomla to manage their corporate website portrays a conflicted image, either intentionally or not. We have noticed this since the beginning of our company and have taken a unique approach to the management of our website and I thought it would be nice to share a bit on how we see our website impacting our potential customers.
Your Website is a Revenue Generator
Many organizations do not see a website as a revenue generating investment unless it is a direct e-commerce solution. Therefore, you will often see very basic, or quickly thrown together information sites. Having worked with a number of customers that have had sites of a similar nature the common response is; "We don't collect money here, it is simply to have them find our name and it works."
Although in most cases this is very true, it is a very common misconception, especially when working in the technology field. If you are working as a DotNetNuke module developer or system integrator, you are providing websites to your clients, and yes, "references available on request" is a great way to quickly showcase your "top projects'. You have to get the visitors in the door and initiate contact before you can even put that foot forward.
Taking the time to design an HTML compliant, clean, user-friendly site although a bit time intensive, really helps to put the "best foot forward" to get people in the door, thus generating revenue.
1, 2, or 5 Seconds It Does Not Matter
Another common misconception is the impact of site loading time on potential customers. Working primarily with DotNetNuke we will often see sites with page load times that average in the 2-8 second range. When we first started business we were one of those sites in the upper range of that spectrum, and as we continued to grow our business we have come to learn the importance of a fast loading site and we have invested hundreds of hours in the research and tuning needed to get the best possible site performance.
Not only has this provided us with a site that responds on average within 0.85 seconds, but it has generated a number of new customers that are simply seeking performance improvements in their own sites. When customers are using a specific platform and selecting vendors it is a common practice for them to compare websites and the impressions that these sites make can make or break the customer.
What Does This Mean?
So what is the point? Well as we see it, eating your own dog food and focusing on making your corporate website the best it can be is one of your easiest marketing tools ever. Being a .NET and DotNetNuke development shop we maintain two sites that serve as our showcase sites. For DotNetNuke work we have this site, which has a focus on SEO, UI, XHTML compliance and cross-browser compatibility, Including live demos of our DotNetNuke modules.
For our .NET development services we use the MyWebKeepAlive.com site as a showcase, using ASP.NET 3.5 and other new technologies to showcase potential talents. Although, not a primary source of revenue for our company having a strong web-presence allows us to stand out in comparison to our competitors and has given us a competitive edge.