Every business needs a website, in the internet age this is simply a given. The problem is there are many potential pitfalls and considerations every business owner needs to address when getting a website up, and online.
I can’t tell you how many people we have helped over the years that initially made the wrong decisions in terms of website development, and it inevitably cost them thousands of dollars in lost time, money and business because they didn’t adequately think a few things through on the frontend.
First off, here are a few things to consider when selecting a website solution. How you answer these questions will give you a good idea as to how you should proceed,
- Budget – An average informational, business website, without any custom functionality can cost anywhere between FREE – $7000, and it goes up considerably as you add custom design and functionality elements.
- Customer Support – Will you need someone externally to provide monthly updates to content, graphics, and functionality on behalf of your company?
- Accessibility – Is it important that you as the business owner can login yourself, and make most changes on your own website.
- Custom Functionality – Do you foresee the need for custom development, user roles, credit card processing forms, shopping carts, databases and data display features down the road?
- Hosting – Hosting charges can range from FREE to a few hundred dollars a month.
- Marketing & Search Engine Placement – Will you be relying on your website to generate sales and new customers, if so then there are special considerations you need to make when selecting a website solution to best capture traffic.
- Domain & Email Management – Would you like to try and manage these complex IT requirements yourself or internally, or would you rather a professional manage these assets for your company?
- Additional Services – Do you need brand management services, print services, video, merchant/point-of-sale devices, inventory management, etc?
While this isn’t an exhaustive list it is a great place to start when thinking through some of the needs the average business owner will be forced to address when selecting a website company. So, with these basic things in mind let’s look at the options available to anyone seeking a website.
A Friend that Does “Websites” – Everyone knows, someone who knows someone that can put up a nice WordPress template, fill it with content, and launch it on a domain of your choice. They often do it as a favor, and is a cheap solution for a business owner on a budget.
CONS: Remeber this is not a full-time web developer, so support will be very limited and take a long-time for changes considering you are working on their good graces alone. They often hold on to hosting, email, domain, and design assets without passing them along to the business owner. They don’t update the website software regularly so it gets hacked, they don’t vet the plugins they utilize so features go out of date and break on the website with in a year or so. They often get frustrated with change requests because this was a favor, they aren’t being paid well, they don’t have the time, and they don’t have the desire to be associated with the website after launch.
Do-it-Yourself Website Builder – These are companies that offer templates and software wizards that help complete novices launch a website for their business.
CONS: While they tell you it is super easy, and only takes 20 mins to launch, the rate of failure is very high. Most business owners do not have the time, patience, or skill set to complete the process and launch a website of their liking. They often have tiered pricing that almost always forces upgrades to larger packages for basic needs, the support is frustrating and limited to online tutorials and they do not place well in search engines because the volume of junk code running the website builder software.
Freelance Website Designer – Usually this is someone that has worked for a web company at some point or at least has a degree giving them a pretty decent knowledge of the internet, and has decided to go into business for themselves.
CONS: They almost universally use WordPress or a similar open source content management software. They have enough skills to select a good template, modify it, make the content look good, get you on a good hosting platform, an email set up, domains pointed, etc. But they are not savvy enough or organized enough to really provide custom design and custom functionality on your website. If they do, it will be janky and hacked together using whatever open source plugins they can get to work in hopes it passes the approval of the client. Also, good luck getting things accomplished outside of their skill set, like marketing, print design, video, photography, and custom development without getting the run-around.
The bottom line is the amount of knowledge and skills it takes to flourish in the webspace is dauting, and no one person can be expected to know it all; meaning for a small to mid-size business you will become frustrated with the holes in the process.
Website Firm/Agency – Usually a website firm consisting of more than a few employees will have their act together on almost every aspect of website design, hosting, additional services, customer service and infrastructure. They will always be the preferable choice because they are a group of experts leveraging their collective knowledge towards the success of your website and business.
CONS: Web firms are made up of multiple people and usually have someone that can address just about anything a client may need. Which means they have overhead, employee salaries and future business goals that force them to set very high prices to keep on top of it all. Almost every employee makes 50k on up, so do the math, their prices will be set with these margins in mind, billing for every little thing imaginable to keep afloat.
Also keep in mind, every web firm can be drastically different in the way they support, bill and manage client expectations. Look at their portfolio, references, pricing, customer support methods, online reviews and their work processes before signing a contract for services. Once in you are stuck with them for better or worse.
These are some of the basic things to look out for when hiring webservices of any sort. Suffice to say an average business will need to navigate all of these obstacles when selecting the best website solution.
An easy way to think about your website needs is to determine two things,
First ask, is my website just informational for my business? If Yes, then a DIY web-builder may work, if you have the technical skills, patience and time to complete the process.
Otherwise ask, is my website a central part of my marketing strategy? Will I be relying on it to acquire sales, new customers and leads? If yes, then avoid free lancers and DIY websites, they will not be sufficient in any way towards the growth and needs of your online focused business.
If you can successfully answer these questions, then you are light-years ahead of most business owners seeing so many of them go into this process blind to all of the technical and knowledge pitfalls that have become hallmarks of the website design industry and process.
Remember, you will always get what you pay for, this industry is filled with people who will over promise and under deliver on almost every critical area if you are not careful.
The right company understands that your website is a marketing tool, and should bring in 20x the amount of what you paid to develop it making it the most important asset towards the success of your business.
Here at Website Express, our goal is to offer Website firm level services at very affordable rates. We feel we have navigated all of the above pitfalls and is why our customers love us! Never hesitate to call for a free consultation, we expect you to do your due diligence before jumping into something as important as website development for your business and can't wait to show how the website pricing and process should go when hiring professionals to aid you in the launch and marketing of your business website. CALL: (888) 534-3555 for additional details.
Published on 8/19/2019 (3 years 285 days ago)