A website is a valuable business tool. In some cases, it is a business’s most valuable tool. When done correctly, your website should address the needs of both potential and existing customers, provide information to make an informed buying decisions as well as fast and easy service, and support and resources to help increase customer knowledge and awareness about your products, services, and industry in general.
Your website is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is often the first impression that a potential customer gets of your business. Even if your website doesn’t complete a sales transaction, it will ultimately be a large determining factor on whether or not a customer buys from your business.
Given all of this information - why would anyone try to build their website themselves?
The short answer is that they shouldn’t, but before we get to that let’s talk about a few reasons why people think they can or should do it themselves.
Reason #1 - Professionals cost money
If you’ve been to a wedding recently, you’ve probably seen a professional photographer run around from group to group with their equipment, snapping candid and posed shots and trying different ideas, lightings and backgrounds. The goal is to give the bride and groom a series of high quality photos that will provide memories that will last for a long time. Most couples are willing to pay a significant amount for a professional to capture their special day - rather than end up with a framed copy of a photo that Aunt Ethel took hanging over their mantle, complete with an orange date stamped in the lower right hand corner.
Similarly, businesses hire website professionals to create an inviting, professional website - based on a client’s existing brand as well as their industry and marketing goals. Most professionals provide services like copywriting, SEO, organization, training, design, integration and support - all with the goal of capturing the essence of the client’s business digitally, much like a professional photographer captures a wedding day in photos.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? And yet, many businesses try to build their own website in order to save a few thousand dollars. In most cases, they end up with the equivalent of a wedding album full of selfies.
Reason #2 - All their friends are doing it
Chances are, you know someone who has built a website. Maybe for their own personal blog, an organization they belong to, or an event like a family reunion. And while it is great to have someone with experience in website building as a resource, it does not make them a website professional.
Amatuer website builders are great at building amatuer websites, but when it comes to building a professional website for your business, you shouldn’t trust your brother’s friend’s uncle’s cousin’s son to build it. You should trust a business with a portfolio of completed websites.
Reason #3 - Advertising makes it look easy
I watch television. If you do, then you’ve probably watched at least one commercial about building your own website for free. GoDaddy, Squarespace, 1&1, Wix - I’m sure there are more - all tout how you can build a website for free, in minutes, with ease. Why, then, would anyone pay thousands of dollars to have someone do it for them?
The answer is simple - it’s not as easy as the commercials make it seem. Most of the companies that advertise free and easy websites are trying to sell other services - domain names, website & email hosting, SSL certificates and more. The goal is to get you to sign up for their services, because whether or not you use their free website builder, you will have to pay them for a domain and hosting, so they win either way. As my mother always told me, “you get what you pay for” so when something is free it probably doesn’t have a lot of value to begin with.
I am sure there are many other reasons, but these are just a few of the more prominent ones that come to mind. The bottom line is that people choose to build sites themselves and it often times leads to mistakes that can contribute to a lack of success. In order to help you develop a successful business website, a website professional should:
- Create a custom design, based on your business’ branding/marketing efforts, market analysis & competition.
- Develop a site that uses current coding techniques, is mobile friendly and integrates tools that help the client manage and grow the website after launch.
- Develop or revise content that is both easy-to-use for a website visitor and also optimized (SEO) for Search Engine results.
- Train and support their client with the website - both during the project and after launch - to make sure they are comfortable making changes and edits to the site.
If your website professional will do this for you, then they are a valuable asset to your business and should be compensated accordingly. If they don’t, then it might be time to search out a website professional that will. Insert plug for Esultants, here.