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Paul Murphy
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The development of websites is one of those multi-disciplinary type activities.

At the frontend of the equation you need clean, balanced, usable and good looking designs.

In the middle you need CSS and HTML expertise, and SEO.

At the back end you may need database backing, authentication methods, e-commerce, integration into existing internal systems etc.

And this is just to get a functioning usable website – you may also need to be able to provide copy writing services if the customer needs them.

If you are a small business providing web site development, having all of these skills internally is unlikely, or at least difficult to have them all at good level. Creativity is required across all the aspects of web development, but they are entirely different mind sets, and there are few people that can do them all effectively.

But if you want to keep your customer you do need to be able to scale your offering to their needs as those needs change over time.

Partnerships are the way to go with this. We for example have internal technical, usability copywriting, and branding expertise, but it would be a stretch to say we have the creative design skills to come up with a good web design. So we use templates where appropriate or partner with graphic/web designers where something more is required. Quite often once you start looking at a new website for a business, it becomes clear that none of the existing marketing collaterals match the new website, and suddenly an integrated design solution is required including business cards, comp slips and letter heads, brochures (paper) etc.

With a good network of partnerships you can provide your customer with all their needs, rather than having to step away from an opportunity simply because you aren’t carrying around the know-how yourself.