What Is Your Primary Job As A Web Developer?

I read an interesting article in my Information Week magazine this week entitled, “For Vanguard, Running IT Comes Second“. There were several points of the article that do not relate to me or other home-based web designers out there.  But a statement about Vanguard that caught my attention was that “The CIO’s No. 1 job is to help run the company“. In other words, the CIO (Chief Information Officer or head of technology services) for Vanguard is now part of the senior executive team.  It used to be that the CIO was a highly knowledgeable techie who could keep the other techies motivated to provide needed computer and Internet services. Now the CIO sits on the executive team with access to the top brass.

What’s that got to do with a home-based or relatively small-scale web developer? If you are still thinking of yourself as providing web services when the owner of a small business asks for it, perhaps you need to think bigger scale. Certainly not CIO of a small business with a half-dozen — or even a one person team. But you should have access to the head of the organization where you can help decide which Internet services will help their bottom line. Not all of my clients view my opinions in that light but many do.

If the website is tired and outdated, that might only bother you as a web designer with an eye for updated websites. But I guarantee that the company you are working for does care if Google has dropped them from the top page to the tenth page in the ratings due to that outdated site. And when that company president learns that they could get a slew of queries and email addresses from their customers if you can just convert that PDF article they wrote into a “FREE E-BOOKLET” with a promise of future information on the topic, at that point, you are no longer “just a web guy”. You are a valued adviser with an eye to improving the company’s bottom line.

So start thinking of ways to improve your clients’ sales and profit and you may find yourself being treated with much greater respect (and your own bottom line will likely start improving!). Of course not all companies will welcome your advice with open arms. But to some degree, most will. And isn’t it much nicer to have your clients coming to you for advice on services they are considering  rather than shopping through all the spam emails promising the world but delivering nothing? Look for ways to improve your clients’ business and you will find they’ll start welcoming you into their future plans for growth.

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