How to Properly Plan Your Website Before Launching It


The importance of knowing your business processes before hiring a web developer is essential. Documenting the steps you take to engage your customers, suppliers, employees, investors, lenders and government agencies are important. This means you have to properly plan every step of the way from where you are now, to where you want to be. You have to answer questions like:

1.       How do I reach out to the public to convince them to become paying customers?

2.       How do I want my customers to learn more about my business?

3.       How can customers read about my products or services before buying?

4.       How can I convince customers to make the buy decision?

5.       How can I make it convenient for customers to pay for my products and services?

6.       How easy is it for my customers to understand my refund policy and actually request a refund?

7.       How can I work with my suppliers to make it easy to buy their products and services I need for my business?

8.       How easy is it to resolve my customers’ refunds when I need to get reimbursed from suppliers? Do my vendors make it easy for me to get such refunds?

9.       How will my business continue if a disaster happens or if a supplier I rely on goes out of business?

10.   How do I get the necessary licenses for my business from the local government agency (if required)?

11.   How do I pay my business sales and income taxes online?

12.   If I have employees:

a.       How do I manage my workers HR and payroll needs?

b.       How do I make it easy for workers to perform their tasks easily?

How do I keep investors and lenders informed about the performance of my business?

View the entire video for helpful, informative tips on getting your website up and running today!


How to avoid getting ripped off on website development

Every so often, I’ll come across someone who had bright eyed dreams about launching a website as part of their business plan, only to have those dreams go down in flames because someone they trusted with their hard earned money failed to deliver the desired website on time, if at all. The average losses they suffered in terms of websites that were half done or poorly done has been about $400-900. How could this happen?

The problem comes into play due in part to greed on behalf of the website developer, and lack of knowledge on the part of the customer. Usually, the potential customer asks friends for referrals to web developers or they post on the various social media sites looking for someone. Without doing much research, they pick a developer who sounds convincing and seems “technical.” The developer charges anywhere from $250 to over $1,000+ to do the whole website without providing a lot of details about what’s all involved. They usually pressure customers to pay the entire amount up front. A few customers try to negotiate a lower fee or pay half as a deposit, promising to pay the other half when the site is complete.

Regardless of what price is negotiated, the outcome is often the same: The developer starts on the site, putting up a web page or two, adding some photos and text, and few social media links here and there, and then poof! They vanish. The customer tries calling, but no answer or the number is disconnected. Hundreds of their hard earned dollars gone and they’re ready to sue.

But wait. Is there anything you could have done differently to avoid losing so much money?

Yes! The first step is to make sure you have a reasonable business plan to go along with your website. Surprisingly, most website customers downplay this step, thinking all they have to do is upload a few photos and a contact page with an about page explaining what they offer, and that’s it. No! Your website is a reflection of the business processes you want your customers to be able to do using your website.

For instance, if you are a hair stylist, you may want customers to book appointments, look up and select various hair styles, order hair, manage the way they pay you, allow customer reviews, etc. By not outlining these features up front, you increase the likelihood of misunderstandings between yourself and your website developer. This, then, leads to you feeling like the website is not complete, and the developer might get frustrated and walk off. This is not to say that there are no bad website developers (there are), but in this specific scenario, failure to describe the features of your website along business processes will increase the likelihood of misunderstanding.

Second, research potential website developers. Remember you get what you pay for, so if someone is offering to do your site for a ridiculously low amount (like under $100 total for a full website), chances are it might be a bait and switch scam. Three to five years’ experience should be minimum for the best quality service, although that’s not to say anyone with less experience would be that bad. But it takes some years to get into a rhythm in website development. My company, Samsona Software, has been around since 1993, so I know something about longevity and consistent customer service.

Finally, know that there is a difference between a website designer and a developer. Designers are usually focused on creating web pages and making them look good from a visual appeal standpoint. Website developers go deeper than that:

  1. Hooking up your pages to databases
  2. Integrating with cloud computing platforms such as AWS and Azure
  3. Integrating with eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce
  4. Implementing microservices to harness the power of various business features unique to your industry. This latter one is part of my offering to my larger business customers.

If you get a chance, try an initial consultation first before seeking help building your website. I can help with that, or anyone with serious experience in this space can do an initial consultation to help you get to where you want your business dreams to take you.

About the Author

John Conley is a technology and digital transformation consultant for Samsona Software Co, Inc., based in Dallas, TX. His service offering is focused on enterprise and solution architecture, as well as small business solutions. Feel free to contact him for your business technology needs.

The Idea of Business Enabling Microservices

a human user has a certain business objective that the microservice must fulfill, and that microservice needs a dedicated data store to manage the critical business data it needs to satisfy the user.

As digital transformation sweeps the business landscape, executives and managers are rethinking their business processes. This paradigm shift is important because technology is the lifeblood of industry, the economy and even society at large. People are becoming more comfortable living their personal and business lives primarily through mobile devices, laptops as well, and less so on traditional desktop PCs. Wearable technology, a relatively smaller niche in the overall ecosystem, will eventually compete with today’s mobile devices for digital hegemony among users. But what will be common among all of these ways of conducting business through technology is the need to design components to automate business processes.

As of today, these components are usually realized as microservices in the cloud.

I’ll avoid getting too technical about microservices. Just know that microservices are atomic processes that work together to provide a business solution to a business problem. What that means is that each business process, when well defined, is kinda like a worker just like any other human. Of course, a microservice is very limited to its prescribed business task, minus the distractions that we humans have in our personal lives.

How might this automated worker be visualized for the busy executive to understand? Imagine a bank that offers three account products to the public:


1.       Savings Maximizer

2.       Checking Plus

3.       Secure Safe Deposit Box


Many years ago, in the age before modern automation, the bank would hire specialists in each of these products to manually offer and maintain these kinds of accounts. The workers would use what was called “ticklers” (like paper ledgers) to keep track of account info. With advances in software technology, managing such banking products became more automated. But in their simplest forms, how might we come up with software components for these products? Figure 1 shows one possibility.

microservice 1

Though the three services look cute in blue against a white background, they can’t sit in isolation. They must do something meaningful to deliver real business value in a way that enables executives and managers to then manage the impacted value chain. In a nutshell, our microservices must do the following:


1.       Get data from or display data to the user (knowledge worker, the primary persona)

2.       Execute a workflow on behalf of a user

3.       Get data from or save data to the on prem or cloud database/data lake

In other words, a human user has a certain business objective that the microservice must fulfill, and that microservice needs a dedicated data store to manage the critical business data it needs to satisfy the user. Figure 2 shows the end to end context that supports this flow of business data from the user to the data store.

microservice 2

Ok now that’s a little better. The microservices have end to end context, with the users on the left and the solution tiers to the left. The users only know about the bank app, which governs their user experience (UX). From a business perspective, it would be important to hire technology partners who can pair the UX requirements with the technical plumbing to identify and locate the right microservice for the given user story.

Notice that each microservice has a link to their own databases. This is a fundamentally important part of microservice design that allows the independence of business components, making ongoing development and maintenance cost effective for your organization. If a database goes down for whatever reason, the bank app still have access to the active databases without impacting the user experience.

What’s missing is the fact that each of the microservices can communicate with each other directly (usually by JSON messages) without need to directly access each other’s databases. Also absent is the fact that microservices are usually deployed in the cloud in containers, which encapsulates much of the platform configurations needed to keep the component independently maintainable from a system maintenance standpoint. These cost savings positively impacts the bottom line of the each business product, allowing your organization to in turn pass the savings on to your customers, giving you a competitive advantage. Hopefully as an executive sponsor or manager, you can begin to incorporate microservice thinking into your overall digital transformation strategy.


About the Author

John Conley is a digital transformation consultant for Samsona Software Co, Inc., based in Dallas, TX. His service offering is focused on enterprise and solution architecture, as well as . Feel free to contact him for your business technology needs.

A Simple Technology Game Plan for Entrepreneurs

You have a vision of providing a unique product or service to the world, but that pesky little thing called technology is just standing in the way like a big bouncer at a trendy, popular nightclub. If you could do it yourself, you would do it in a heartbeat, but there’s only so much available time, especially if you have a day job working for someone else. You finally decide you need help from a trusted, reliable and affordable technology partner, but even the process of finding someone is not as straightforward as you wish.

Here’s a simple approach for finding help.

The very first thing you want to do is describe what problem you are trying to solve. In other words, what is so special about your product or service that will solve a problem for the target audience? If you don’t have this articulated up front, then coming up with a technology game plan will be useless. Every entrepreneur is trying to solve a problem that certain segments of the population are dealing with, and of course, entrepreneurs want to be financially rewarded for the solution. Identifying the problem translates into the mission statement of your business plan. You describe the problem in a plain English document called a Problem Statement. The question that is the basis for your Problem Statement is, “What problem am I trying to solve with my idea?” The statement does not have to be anything fancy. Just remember the problem should be written from the perspective of your potential customer (also called “Voice of the Customer” in popular business process methodologies). The problem statement from the Customer’s view might be as simple as one sentence that says something like, “I  have a problem keeping track of how many calories I eat and how many steps I need to walk to burn those calories each day.”

Once you describe the problem you’re trying to solve, it’s time to state what you think the solution to the problem is. If your product or service is the solution, then describe how it addresses the problem. So continuing with our Problem Statement, the Solution Statement might say something like, “As a Potential Customer, I  want a mobile app for my smartphone that tells me how many steps I need to walk in order to burn the calories associated with the food I ate each day. I want to be able to enter each food item as part of the solution.”

That’s it. Once you have the Problem and Vision for the Solution documented, you can then search for a Technology Partner to help you make your vision a reality. Having a website is a key tool for every entrepreneur who needs to market the vision to the public. You can view a video I created earlier this year for to help with the website process.

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