Posted on July 31, 2017 at 10:00 AM
So, you’re a small business owner and you’ve been in business for a little while. Great! Congratulations on getting your business up and running, and actually keeping it running. Hey, remember that “free and basic” website builder you used to create your business website? Remember how you thought you would get a better one when you could afford it? What happened?
When you’re in the early stages of building a business, you’re looking for every way to save money. As a small business owner myself, I get it. When I was a financial advisor working with small business owners, I often coached them on ways to cut costs in their budgets to make sure they were set up for the best possible chance to succeed.
But now, your business is growing and you’re looking to take it to the next level. This is where that “free and basic” website builder or using your uncle’s neighbor’s son is not the direction you want to go to build, develop, and protect your online and mobile presence.
That's a great question! The answer varies greatly depending on the business, objectives, budget, timeframe and many other factors. Some of the options are:
Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy Website Builder, and Shopify, are all examples of plug and option, and there are many more out there. These sites will allow you to choose a template, upload your own content and modify the site some to suit you and business. You can also add additional features (some free, some not), and then upload your site and make it live. All have various pricing plans and in general they all work about the same. It is also important to mention that if you’re using a template from one of these sites, chances are there will be someone else in the world with the same or similar layout, so your site will not be unique to your business.
If you have the time and knowledge, you can build your own website in a week - provided it isn’t too complex. You’ll be in charge of finding and coding everything, including images, CSS, HTML, SEO, and a host of other things, but I want to list it because it is an option. You’ll also be in charge of handling hosting and making sure your site is uploaded to your host correctly. In short, it’s a lot of tedious, time-consuming work, unless you know what you are doing. Isn't that time you should be spending on growing your business?
Your third option is to hire a developer/designer. This can be tricky, if you don’t know what to look for. (Hint: In my next post, I will discuss how to find the perfect developer/agency to build your site.) However, once you find the perfect fit, this option will take your online and mobile presence to a whole new level.
First, let’s make an important clarification. Basic and simple aren’t always bad, but cheap looking is. (think about how many times you’ve been turned off by businesses that appeared less than professional.)
If your business website looks like it was built 20 years ago, built in two hours by someone who never built a website before, or looks like a cookie cutter job done with copy and paste options, it is doing more harm than good for you and your business. Another important thing to consider is how your site looks on different devices. With all the advancements in technology, having a website that looks pixel perfect on desktops, tablets and smartphones is vital.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the things that separates average websites from great ones. Here’s a quick challenge: Google your business name. Are you the first search result on Google? Are you on the first page? Are you on the 10th? After all, it really doesn’t matter how great your site is if no one can find it!
What’s on your website? Not the pictures (although those are important), I’m talking about the words/copy. Did you have someone (other than you) proofread your site? Did you check the content for syntax and readability? All of these issues are handled by a great developer or agency.
I want to close by saying that simple and basic websites are not always bad. I’ve seen some truly amazing websites built in Wordpress and hosted on GoDaddy. I will also say that a custom solution by a developer or agency is NOT for everyone.
However, as we head into the home stretch of 2017, I would encourage every business owner to do a quick check up on their online and mobile presence. If you’re not the getting the results you want and/or aren’t sure where to start, head over to our contact page and fill out an inquiry. We’ll be happy to set up a free consultation to help you decide if it’s time to change things up.