The Diablog™

If I can’t own it, I don’t want it!

Building a contemporary website is a complex task. As a site owner, your contribution to the project will vary depending on your technical expertise. The web development team you hire will lean on your experience and knowledge about your company and audience to define what your website says. Deciding how it gets built should involve everyone on the team.

Today’s website are not just brochures with pretty pictures and a phone number. To succeed in business you must integrate your website into your business processes. Customers expect to be able to use your website to see their account information, review past orders, schedule a shipment, customize their web experience, learn from you about recent trends and experiences, and much more.

Here are some common misconceptions we have seen from site owners about how websites are built.

“I want to own everything.”

The truth is, you probably own less than you think you do. Take a look at your current website. The photos as well as the design of your site are probably not your property. Stock photography is licensed, not owned (even the cheap stuff is licensed). The industry standard for design work is that custom designs are property of the designer. You only paid for the exclusive right to display it. You do not have total, unlimited ownership. An outright buy of the copyright to a photograph or a design costs extra. It may not even be for sale - at the sole discretion of the photographer or designer.

When you license something, you don’t own it. You have specified rights for usage, but you can’t call it your own, you can’t resell it to other users, etc.

“I don’t want my website built with proprietary software.”

Sorry. That’s not possible. Very few things can be done with computers without using licensed software. There are many tasks involved in creating a website, and nearly every step will be done with proprietary (licensed) software. The copywriting will probably be done in Microsoft Word. The images on the website will probably be prepped in Adobe Photoshop. The design will likely come out of Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Fireworks and will probably be converted to HTML code in Adobe Dreamweaver. These are all proprietary software.

The aversion to proprietary software for web development came about because in years past, some less-than-scrupulous agencies spent a few bucks to build simple CMSs to use on their clients’ websites. The stated reason was to help their clients manage their own content. The real reason was that uninformed clients would buy the CMS thinking that the agency was offering something special. After the money was spent, they learned that they had other, better CMS options, but now they were permanently tied to their agency because no one else knew how to use the agency’s CMS.

Today, many people think “proprietary” means this kind of “one-off” software - that they will be tied to the agency that built their website. Without doubt, avoid a CMS that an agency built themselves. But that is not what proprietary means.

Proprietary simply means that a software publisher owns the copyright to the software. The nominal license fee for commercial software allows the publisher to continue to develop the software in a controlled, secure way.

You should demand proprietary software to power your website.

Try this sometime: go to your I.T. person or department and tell them that you want to use shareware for your accounting. I would expect you’d get an unfavorable response. Shareware is a security risk because there are too many people meddling in the code. Shareware is unreliable because there is no technical support. Shareware changes too often to be able to consistently maintain business systems. Building your website with shareware like drupal or joomla is no different than building your accounting system with shareware. For most businesses, their website is just as important as their accounting system and should be built with security, reliability, and consistency in mind.

Dialogs is licensed software because we take internet business seriously. It is also an affordable enterprise solution. Fortune 500 companies use it, small- and medium-sized businesses use it, and so can you. Learn how.