Increase in Web site developers means competitive local market

June 23, 2009
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The increase of laid off workers and available access to technology has led to a rise in Web site development companies.

Carol Lopucki, state director for the Michigan Small Business and Development Center, expands on the issue.

“You’ve got a lot of engineers and folks out of work right now who often see opportunities to start their own businesses,” she said. “Now is the day and age when many people can dabble in (Web site development). … I think you’ve got a lot of people now who are starting home-based businesses or consulting businesses.”

With the increase in competition, companies within the industry more than ever need skills that separate them from the rest of the pack. Danny Beckett, CEO of Spearia, a Web site and marketing development company, uses building online strategies as the differentiator.

“As the Internet’s grown, it’s become more competitive,” he said. “Now you have to have a really strong strategy, and a company that understands how to build Web sites and how to build brands online, not just offline.”

Spearia, which started in 2006, has grown from a small business headquartered in Beckett’s home to cresting the million dollar mark in sales. The company will move in mid-September. The new two-floor 7,036-square-foot office is located at 3934 West River Drive in Comstock Park. Spearia plans to occupy the main floor while opening the top floor to other “creatives” in hopes to build collaboration and business.

Before the company moves into its new home, Beckett said they are also looking at hiring two new team members, including a COO.

Beckett also believes success in the increasingly competitive market is based on entrepreneurial fundamentals such as staying in tune with customers.

“We’re really trying to stay engaged and show companies the value of building a strong online brand,” he said. “We call ourselves a Web and marketing development company. What we mean by that is we have an emphasis on the Web.”

When developing an online marketing strategy, Beckett said Spearia asks a number of questions of the company. Spearia often working with a company’s current marketing strategy and mold it to fit in with online methods.

“We do look at how you’re currently marketing … and then try to shift that a little bit, but also change it and transfer it online: how we can use the Internet to interact with your critical campaign,” he said.

“We also look at a user interface and usability — all the human behavior behind your target demographic so that can be incorporated as part of the whole solution of how you can build your brand online.”

Beckett stressed that Internet marketing differs greatly from traditional strategies and in some cases companies may not even need a Web site.

“If you’re going to get a Web site just to have a Web site, then you’re going to get the bill and you’re going to get the monthly fees and you’re just going to look at it as a credit card payment. We don’t want that to happen. We want our clients to look at their Web site as an asset,” he said. “If it’s not, we need to figure out why it’s not — and you may not even need a Web site.”

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