Understanding whether or not you need a website, what kind of website do you need, how do you get a website and how much should you pay for a website.
This week I am talking about a client that I worked with recently that needed a website. It raised all sorts of questions and I am going to share this with you here.
The business I was working with was brand new, just opening up their doors.
They are in the finance advice compliance area and are selling to other businesses, corporate professional services and they needed to answer these questions. Do they need a website? What kind of website do they need?
They were very sensitive to one, being flexible and the fact that their business is going to grow quite quickly, they hope and so, their services and what they do will probably evolve as they get new clients
They were sensitive to budget. Didn't want to throw all of their budget after a website when they knew they needed to be spending money also on driving traffic to their website and generating awareness and new leads for their new business.
Do they actually need a website?
- As a new start up, they needed to put their best foot forward in terms of the impression that they’re making to their potential customers or clients, so they needed something that was a professional calling card, so to speak, something that would make them look like they’re a business of substance. A website would help them to achieve that.
- The other thing was the website needed to also play a role in helping them be discovered. If you're in a position where you have people actively searching for you in the search engine such as Google or Bing, then actually, having a website is essential in order to be found. You need content on a website in order to be indexed by the search engines.
What kind of website do they need?
- They need to be able to have content that can be indexed by the search engines to help them be discovered and they needed to look good to give people a good professional impression of their business. No shopping cart, no lead magnet/ email integration, no forms (just yet).
- This is a website that doesn’t need complex functionality.
- The focus needs to be on looking good. It needs to be on being able to create content easily and
- The ability to be flexible and add new pages of content as you evolve and add new services, being able to easily tweak and change the content on your own without having to constantly refer back to a web developer which is going to cost you money is actually a really good thing to think about in terms of your requirements for a new website.
- Forward thinking by allowing future integration with a range of third party services such as email providers, code insertions (eg. For remarketing) etc.
How do you get a website?
- If you have sophisticated technical requirements, you need a web developer and you need to go through a process of working out what you need and having professionals build it for you
- If you don’t have technically ‘different or sophisticated’ needs, particularly as a start up then consider a web builder. These are hosted services that allow you to easily build a website without any kind of technical know how at all, services like Squarespace and Wix and Weebly allow you to literally create a website without having to go the expense of hiring a web developer.
How much will it cost?
- If you are hiring a web developer, then I would say you're typically going to get a WordPress site and that’s going to be anywhere from $800 up, most typically, somewhere between $1,500 to $3,000 depending on how many pages you have. For my client they could have gotten a site done for around $1000 (Aus)
- You need to be very clear up front on what you want as a lot of people endup paying much more as they make changes to the original scope which ends up costing more than originally quoted with extra hours being charged each time you change your mind or add something extra.
- Alternatively, a web builder is literally going to cost your time that it takes to create it using their platform and the subscription cost which typically is going to be somewhere between, $100 to $200 per annum.
EXTRA NOTES ON THE TOPIC
What are the pros for going with a web builder?
- Cost, to start with, particularly on an ongoing basis. It means that you're not having to pay a developer in terms of keeping the site up to date with security patches etc.
- It means that you're not having to worry about when things go wrong or if your site gets hacked – it will all be taken care of and covered in your subscription fee.
- You don’t have to go and employ your web developer again on an hourly basis to fix these types of things.
- You are getting a system that, generally speaking, will come with really good, well-designed, out of the box templates so you can create a site that looks great without having to go through a lot of design or developer expense.
- Easy to keep up to date without that additional expense.
- Quick to set up.
What are the cons for a web builder
- Less flexibility and ability to tailor to any custom requirements.
- SEO is acceptable but not best practice.
Other things to consider
- If you don’t feel comfortable with design, you can find a graphic designer that can literally help you work out how to make the site look good if you're not comfortable with what you're going to pull together when you build the site.
- A web or graphic designer can put together what we call a web style guide which will show you fonts, colours, general layout of the site, maybe help you with some imagery and really give you a sense of what this actually looks like and you can follow that as your template.
- The other issue I come across quite often which I think is not really a con or something negative relating to just web builders. It actually relates to any website, is that people don’t feel comfortable or they don’t know what content they need to create.
- In fact, it doesn’t matter if you're hiring a web developer or if you're building this yourself, you need to have good copy because that is the very thing that is going to sell this website, remembering there is no one thing that is going to make a website work. It’s going to be how it looks and feels as people go through how well the pages flow and the information comes together, if you've got all of the information there.
- Investing in a copywriter might be a good way to go. It means that you're going to have someone who’s really practised in thinking about how to pull together content relating to a business, all of the types of information you should pull and include on your website and in a way, help you refine how best to talk about your business.
- If you don't have the time or inclination to learn how to build it yourself there are people out there that can whip together these web builder websites for you for not a lot of money.
- For example, my client was able to hire someone for less than $500 and they were able to get all rolled into that price design piece of how the website should look, they were able to have the site built for them. They provided the copy so that was one thing that didn't need to be done, but the person that built it for them also put in Google Analytics for them. They registered them with Google on the webmaster account so they were instantly indexed by the search engines, and they also threw in an hour’s worth of training so that these people, while they didn't want to build it from scratch, they were happy to do minor content updates and adding new pages as they needed and as they grow in to go along.
Resources to get your started
- Fivver – Web design, content and building of websites on Squarespace, WIX and Weebly
- Virtual assistants to help you build the website on a web builder. Just do a Google search.
- Content – Upwork.
- Graphic designers – 99designs, Startled Squid
- WebBuilder reviews: https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com
- Handy check list of things to think about and do when you build your first website