Not that long ago, it was understandable that many small businesses avoided the added expense of launching and managing a website. After all, it was frequently a cost-prohibitive process that involved finding a web design firm and then hiring them repeatedly for every little tweak. However, now that costs have come down, there’s no excuse for not having a place online where customers can find you.
Thinking about building a website? It’s important to avoid getting sidetracked by myths surrounding the process. They’ll prevent you from making smart choices. So before getting started, let’s review some of the most common assumptions that may impact your long-term results if you’re not careful.
Myth 1: A custom website is too expensive.
Contrary to popular belief, an excellent website can be created at a reasonable cost. Keep in mind that many factors influence cost, such as the total number of pages and the size of the design firm. If you have a lot of information to share, you’ll require more pages, which means more development work. And big design firms have high overhead costs, which they’ll pass on to you.
As you think about your options, don’t forget to include the value of your own labor. It takes a considerable time investment to learn about ready-made templates, plan your site navigation, and get everything working smoothly. By taking the professional route, you’ll not only save energy, your website will invariably look more professional. It’s the first impression many of your customers will have of your business. What is that worth to you?
Myth 2: A DIY template is all I need.
If you’re still mulling the idea of doing it yourself, take a moment to consider all that you don’t know. There’s a lot more to building a website than getting a handle on using online templates and planning navigation. You’ll need to really do your homework. You’ll have to research best practices for websites in your industry, learn about keywords to include, understand how SEO impacts navigation, understand marketing and brand messaging strategies like calls to action…
A good agency will spend time profiling your business and doing the groundwork so that your website does what it’s supposed to do: communicate the right message to the right audience. In other words, sell. Before you take the DIY route, look at how much you make per hour, estimate how much time it’ll take you to do all the backend research, then do the math.
Myth 3: Having a website will automatically generate new business.
A new website’s relative success or failure doesn’t only depend on how attractive it is. While design is certainly important, you also need to be aware of a host of other factors that will determine whether it drives business. To build traffic and on-site conversions, you’ll also need to:
- Choose a strong domain name, including a top-level domain (TLD)
- Select a dependable web host
- Write quality content that includes keywords
- Create and update social media pages
Many small businesses are disappointed when they launch a new website and nothing happens. Avoid having unrealistic expectations. Instead, before building a new website, create clear and measurable goals for exactly what you want for it to achieve. Then design a strategy for making them happen.
Myth 4: All websites are easily viewed on mobile devices.
Just because your website looks okay on your mobile device, it doesn’t mean that it’s responsive. A responsive website changes according to the device of the person looking at it. In other words, it adapts to their needs. And the needs of people on-the-go are very different than those on a laptop or PC. Mobile users are generally eager to access information as quickly as possible, and they are more likely to make purchases impulsively.
Today, as more and more people are viewing websites on their tablets and smartphones, it’s crucial to optimize your website so that your customers can easily navigate your website on the fly. Otherwise, they’ll go elsewhere.
Myth 5: After launch, you’re done.
If you think getting a website launched is a lot of work, you’re right. And it’s just the beginning. In order for your website to be a success, you must approach it like it’s an ongoing project. Having an outdated website is almost worse than not having a website at all. Make sure that you get familiar with your site’s content management system, or budget to have someone else update your site on an ongoing basis.
In order to gain — and maintain — a high rank in the search engines, new content should be published regularly. You also need to make sure that people are reading it, so promoting it in social media is a good idea too. Check your site statistics periodically and use that data to make adjustments as needed. By focusing on the topics that your customers are interested in, you’ll gain a loyal readership and ultimately build word-of-mouth about your business.