Small Fish Big Ocean

Helping specialist tour operators and activity providers with travel ecommerce

This is a bit of an experiment but we are confident that it will work. As explained in our "introduction post" every month we are going to run a project that everyone can get involved with.

Next month (March 2008) it will be "working with a web designer".

We have chosen this topic because many smaller travel companies design and build their own websites. I expect this is either because people think it is too expensive, too complex or not sure how to find a web designer that they can work with.

Over the course of March 2008 we are going to publish a few articles (on this site) about the principles of working with a web designer - for example how to agree a contract, what a creative brief is etc.

The community project will be that everyone has to find a new web designer and get at least one image designed by them!

Hopefully this sounds interesting and useful..... as I said - it is a bit of an experiment so if we need to tweak our approach we will do.

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Is the idea that one takes part in the project and follows the procedures in the articles..or that one takes part in the project before they are published?
Its my fault. Not quite kicked this off yet! More details coming soon! (very soon)
Oh dear. (which is why I am still working on a Sunday evening!)

Thanks for your interest!
No probs, you don't need to tell me about start up businesses, ideas, projects and time..:-)
"Not quite kicked this off yet! More details coming soon! (very soon)" define soon;)=
Hi Ikka

We pushed it back a month - starting in April (2008)!!!!

Now have Ronald on board as a community manager we can dedicate more time to getting this SFBO thing moving in the right direction. Everything is enjoying the forums though.... which is nice!

Thanks. Alex
Oh dear, we are late on this.
However, we are 100% kicking this off in October!
(now that, in the UK, the nights are drawing in)
Very Interesting. But selling travel is more complex than finding a good web designer with a good portfolio of websites.

A lot of very talented web designers do not create sites which are web standards compliant due to the time involved , lack of knowledge or experience, doing it quickly and cheaper to undercut the professionals out there.

Are you going to compile a list of required web laws that the designers should be aware of (things to ask them before taking them on?). Like the need to show the geographical address of the place of business of the supplier etc, land line, registered company details and also W3C standards?

It could be very complex. You could write a book and make some money instead?
Hi May
Book is almost written!
One of these days I will get it published!

Thanks for your ideas
IMHO, I don't think it is a realistic expectation that a 'web designer' should be expected to ensure their project complies with all relevant laws, any more than one would expect a graphic designer who was designing say an ad for a company to ensure the artwork complies with ASA, data protection, unfair trading, marketing to minors etc etc. It's not the designer's responsibility, it's the business owner's responsibility. Unless of course you are hiring a full-service web agency (in the same way you'd hire an advertising agency rather than a freelancer for the print ad), in which case it's a completely different ballgame.
Interesting! If one is on a really tight budget, you do not need a web designer. People are frightened that the internet seems very complicated and well beyond a mere mortal but opne can get online with a website with a fair few bells and whistles for about a total spend of 250 US Dollars and, of course, time. It depends on how you view the internet. I tend now to look on it as a hobby and something I play with in the evenings or on wet Sunday afternoons and though I do not expect to win any awards, have a retail website that pays the mortgage and feeds the family (though not in travel).

Travel is a problem. To really play in that pond you need serious money. Just as when one trades on the high street, Lunn Poly (as was) were good at selling cheapo holidays so if you really want to try and beat them..... In like manner, on the web, many try to sell cheap holidays. Why, escapes me as a) there are a lot of people who spend a lot of money and are supposed to be very good at it and b) they are cheap. A cheapo holiday maybe gets you £30 - so how much time and effort do you want to put into earning £30?

Now, you can (easily) have a presence and really should. I do. Again, not an award winning site but I have my followers, Google and my affiliate marketing programmes throw me the odd bone. BUT I found web designers very frustrating (sorry!)and so very, very slow. This may be because of the travel background. When a travel client calls for a flight, he (or she) wants it now, right away. Not in a few weeks time. Website designers do not do "now". If the shade on page 4 is not quite right, you wait about two weeks, have endless calls and debates and eventually, if you are lucky, they get around to it. And then they get something else wrong. And want paying (again).

View it as a hobby. Get a WYSIWYG editor and a FTP thingy and way you go. Don't worry about design. Look around the web for something that you like and copy it, basically. Why re-invent the wheel, I say. Big companies have already spent n millions on their design so just nick the general ideas and get on with it. As you do it when you want to, if you decide that you cannot sleep one night, you can fire up the old PC and redo a few pages. I find that one stares at a blank screen, fiddles a bit, has a cup of tea, fiddles a bit more and suddenly, something falls into place; you start to find something you like and away you go. It's personal, it's your website - your can say "I did that" - it's yours.

Then after a longish while if things start to go really well, you can always get a web designer to take off the "B&Q" look - if you really want to.
Hello Alex

I still don't get this.

Yeah - I need to invest a time machine so we can have more of it!
It will be starting in June..... Yes - really it will
Thanks everyone for your patience [and Ilkka for your blog post!]





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