I love technology. If there’s something out there that makes life or business easier, faster, less expensive, more efficient, or even more fun, I want to know how it can benefit me.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Speech recognition or auto-correct are a few ways we see it emerging on our smart phones. And I think we all have awkward stories about how something didn’t come out quite right, leaving you with some splainin’ to do.
Many people in my industry knew it wouldn’t be long before AI made its way into website development. The idea is pretty basic: Instead of a developer building your website, software creates it by leveraging certain rules of logic.
Companies like the Grid and Mopro have launched AI website creation packages. Mopro starts at just $200 a month, complete with a “human” to help assist you with your site, because after all, AI isn’t the end-all-be-all. You’ll need a mediator. It also turns out that this human also happens to be a salesperson who wants to hear about all your goals, because $200 per month is just a start. The sky’s the limit with upsell potential.
Here’s how it works. The user only needs to make a few limited choices with the AI interface. The interface then focuses on 4 basic things: branding, color, layout, and type.
- With branding, you get to decide how much the site should be driven by your choices and/or how much it should be driven by any existing content you have.
- For the color of your website, you simply upload an image and the software creates a palette for you based on it.
- On layout, you can decide what you’re looking for – a minimal site with limited content, an editorial site with lots, an artistic design, etc.
- The font pairings are put in place, then you simply decide on tone.
Pretty cool, huh? Yes. Technology is very cool.
But you still need to decide if it’s right for your business. It could be an easy solution for some small business niches that can afford it and are willing to pay for the extras they’ll certainly need beyond the sexy starter package at $200 per month.
And yes of course there are still more questions you’ll need to ask to determine if it’s right for you. Here are some things that I would consider to determine if it were right for my business.
1. How dynamic is your business?
Some businesses will do just fine with a set-and-forget-it site that will only require occasional updates. A static web presence is sufficient for them. But businesses that are dynamic and evolving and find themselves tweaking their site just about every day because they’re super responsive to their market require a higher level of up-to-the-minute control than others might. AI won’t help them.
2. How creative is your business?
My clients are businesses that range from restaurants and vineyards to plumbers and locksmiths. Some of my clients would no more want a software program to make their website than they’d want a computer to paint a painting for them or write a song for them. These are also the types that don’t eat at McDonalds, drive stock Corollas, live in cookie-cutter townhouses, or use Chromebooks. They are creative and they love all the control and creativity that the human experience offers. So this would never work for them.
3. What is your competition doing?
Are you in the kind of business niche where you have to consistently stay on top of the competition? Then you know all too well how crucial it is to have command of your website. You need a human touch that sees and responds to the competition regularly.
4. How much are you willing to endure a salesperson?
Some people are willing to the endure a high-pressure timeshare salesperson for a few hours to get a free vacation. Others not so much. Are you willing to be in a situation where the human mediator between your site and you is a salesperson? A salesperson who is working no doubt for a commision and is likely working with hundreds of others. Can she or he really know about the specifics of your niche market, your locality, your client’s needs, and all the nuances of your business? Are you okay to be another “number” in a webmill that’s cranking out as many of these as possible?
The challenge with the AI approach to websites (beyond questions of SEO, performance, integration with other systems, etc) is that we lose control over things that are dear to us.
It’s entirely possible that AI is the right choice for you. It’s also possible that it’s almost right, just not yet. Maybe it’ll never be quite good enough. There are some things that technology simply can’t replace. At least not yet.
Of course, you might be thinking that I would naturally be somewhat critical of any new technology that uses software to perform a service that I offer, like web development. But my philosophy is that a business does well to use whatever works best for the business. Business is sacred. If it’s good for you, then by all means, do it.
Emerging technology is also why I offer a wide variety of business growth services and solutions. If web development gets done better by software than by me, then you can always feel free to contact me for all of the other things you might need to grow your business. The security of any business is found in the diversity of its offerings and its ability to adapt to emerging technologies.
But no matter what, I’ll keep you up to date on all the latest technologies because that’s what I love to do.