Hi WSG'rs,

I want to put the call out for submissions for a business case for web standards for small business. I have reviewed a number of articles (referenced below) to find some compelling argument for web standards that could be communicated to the small business community.

Currently several arguments for web standards include the following as the main focus:

*Faster development time (unless the competition uses software that creates tag soup and can synchronize site wide libraries and SSI's)
*Better cross browser compatibility (small business view this as how the site looks, pixel-perfect, identical)
*Easier maintenance (can;t use the software they bought to maintain the site: easier to make a case for a CMS)
*lighter bandwidth usage (this matters little to the short-view small business owner looking and cash flow for the quarter on their site that gets 1000 impressions per month)

My problem with such arguments is that they don't scale to small business well. Most small business look at a website as an end in itself and not a means to an end which it should be.

Small business wants it done fast and to look as they imagine it to and not to suck from a user perspective.

Small business usually doesn't consider maintenance as a deciding factor as they look at price, technology, and style before they consider whether anyone will have to maintain it. And the big one that cannot scale is bandwidth and that is because small business doesn't care about bandwidth  -- they just care if their page is up and works. They can't see that if they have compound growth that they will suffer at the hand of error messages, and up charges on their hosting. And why should they? They are trying to run a business, many as CEO and CTO and VP Marketing and everything else (like me). They cannot consider anything else but the results that effect business process, cash flow or sales.

So here is the question:

What are the benefits of web standards for small business that can be sufficiently measured in results for the business both in the long and short term?

and a second question is

How do we, as a group start to bring the message to the masses?

Articles reviewed in the process of thinking about this subject:

After I wrote the above post I did find the following article useful.It answers some of the questions I pose but again it is speaking the wrong language to the wrong crowd for me:

I am looking for a way to make small business owners see that they have now sane alternative but to use web standards, not tell them they will be ahead of the curve or save $100/year on hosting.

All the best,


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