The first thing many people start planning when they think of having their website built/designed is its style and layout. The problem is, that’s the wrong perspective. In order to have a successful, money-making machine of a website, focus instead on your goals, and what you want your website to achieve. Here are four important points to consider before taking the first step:
- Why do you need a new/better website?
If you don’t know the answer to this question, your website won’t achieve any of your goals. Do you want it to drive enquiries, to increase sales, to promote your events? Be as specific as possible. Think about your target audience, and what you want them to do when they land on your site. What do you want your website to do for them? What does the success of your website look like? Good goals include more sales, more and bigger clients, a large leads database, 100,000 subscribers? We promise, this is not overthinking the matter – putting this intellectual work before work begins will ensure that the website you end up with, is the website that works hard to make you money. A good thought to keep in mind is that your website is your biggest marketing tool. Think of your website as another member of your sales staff – perhaps the sales manager – and you’ve got the right idea. You’re not paying for a website, you’re investing in a marketing tool that will generate sales.
- What content do you want on your website?
It may seem like a no-brainer – everyone knows what goes on a website, right? Wrong. This goes hand-in-hand with what you want your website to achieve, and will also be the basis for the layout and function of the website. Content includes photography, videos, copywriting, blog, event information, sales content, and so on.
Also consider how much time you want to put into developing this content. Do you want to coordinate photography, hire a copywriter (or designate an in-house employee to do it), design your flyers, etc.? If not, make sure you allow room in your budget to have it all done for you. As they say, time is money, and as a business owner, your time is extremely valuable.
- Speaking of money…
How much do you want to spend on bringing your vision to life? This is where some common misconceptions about websites are shown for the fallacies they are. Just like any other investment, cut corners means cut profits. To illustrate, let’s look at four industry-standard price points:
< 1,000: DIY – There are quite a few ways you can publish your website yourself, most of them inexpensively and fairly quickly. SquareSpace and Wix are examples of popular DIY website building tools.
1,000 – 4,000: Freelancer – Upwork is a reputable marketplace for freelance contracts, but this could also be your best friend’s cousin, your sister-in-law, your neighbour… you get the idea.
4 – 15,000: Small agency – This group is where we recommend sourcing your website from, and not just because we’re a part of it. Small agencies like SGD are highly-knowledgeable and experienced, provide better support and warranties than the two categories above, and will consistently provide quality work that is worth every penny of your investment.
15,000 > : Large agency – These agencies provide what small agencies do, in addition to services such as onsite hosting, application development, business and platform integration, and intranet portal implementation. They’re essential for large corporations, and other businesses with complex and high-level needs.
If this sounds like a lot of money, think of it in terms of marketing and sales. As we mentioned, your website is a member of your sales and marketing team. If you pay your sales manager top-dollar, your sales will reflect that investment. So it goes with your website. Invest a minimum amount of money in your website, and it will work as hard as a minimum-wage sales manager, which is to say very poorly indeed.
- Pitfalls of DIY
Yes, they’re out there, and sure, there are situations where they’re the preferred route. Honestly, though, a DIY website is best done by someone with at least some website industry knowledge. Without that, upfront savings will result in long-term losses. You may think that, if you have an administrative assistant, she could get it done beautifully and quickly. The thing is, your admin is a hard-working, highly-intelligent person who works miracles daily, but does she have years of dedicated experience in building websites that adhere to the current trends, or know how to implement SEO and analytics to drive sales? To clarify, we think admins are some of the most incredible people on the face of the Earth, and they are brilliant at what they do: supporting you in the management and day-to-day operations of your business. Let them coordinate with your web design company – they’ll do an amazing job, ensuring that your company’s needs are communicated clearly, delivering content that the designer needs when your designer needs it, and paving the way for the designer to build you a truly outstanding website. Let them assist with the process, rather than assigning them the process itself.
In terms of who you should hire, remember all the services we said you’d get for between $5,000 & $10,000? If a company says they can do all that for a fraction of the cost, that’s your cue to run. The company you hire should be highly-experienced, professional, able to demonstrate their expertise and professionalism, and should be timely in responses and requests.
Contact SGD today and let us work our magic and put the right strategy in place to grow your database, attract more leads, and get more sales.