If you are trying to figure out if you should use a website template vs. having one built for you.
You, my friend aren’t alone…
It’s a valid question and should be asked and not just for the sake of budget and time.
I believe that your money and time can be spent in better and more productive places when you’re just starting to get your business online.
I know, it sounds kind of weird coming from a web design company.
But the truth is, there are more important things that you should be focusing your time and money.
Today I am going to help you look beyond your website to help you see your time and money has more valuable places to be.
It’s a fact that your website isn’t worth much if there isn’t any traffic or exposure to it. Or it isn’t being shared with the people that are going to make a difference in the success of your business.
There is a subconscious drive to a conscious belief that if you have a website, your business will get more sales with the mere fact it has a beautiful design and the website is responsive.
This is a justified thought being that 99% of advertisement tells us this is exactly what will happen. Most businesses are sold on the idea that a website is an end solution to an acquisition problem.
Most business will focus a big part of their budget into making sure that they have the best website they could possibly get.
Businesses are repeatedly told that the more they invest in their website the higher the return they will get.. i.e. more visitors which of course means more sales.
As time unfolds and the business owner becomes aware that this isn’t the case at all and that they have spent money on a glorified digital brochure, the idea that anything online will bring them value slowly decays.
DON’T LET THIS BE YOU!
If you are trying to figure out the best approach to getting your business online. I have put together a quick list of questions that will help you structure and focus what it is that you really need to do.
Some of these questions might seem pretty basic, and that’s because they are. Most structured ideas that websites are built around are usually basic.
If you don’t know the answer to some of these questions don’t worry about it. We will get to it.
Why do you need a website?
What will your website do?
Who benefits from your website?
How will you convert your visitors to paying customers?
Will you have a blog on your site? 99.9% of the time the answer to this should be yes.
Will you be using social media and if so, which ones?
So let’s break these questions down one at a time…
Why you need a website?
Why do you need a website is a pretty valid question. Diving into something without understanding why, can lead to nothing but frustration and failure.
The most regurgitated answer is ‘so they can send people to their website to learn more about their services’.
If this is your answer of why you need a website then you are better offer investing in a print brochure that you can hand out. You will get a better response and more value for your time and money.
Your website is a marketing tool to help your business minimize the working process of converting strangers into buying customers.
But what so many website design companies and big box hosting companies seem to leave out is that it’s only a small part of the bigger picture of acquiring this minimization process.
Who Benefits from your website?
Who benefits from your website is another way of asking who your customers are?
By changing this simple question helps put your view in a different perspective. When a visitor sees that they can benefit from your website, they can easily attach a value to whatever it is you are offering.
When you are just trying to figure out who your customers are, you are simply just trying to figure out how to sell to them and or how to get them to buy or convert.
Remember, people don’t look for or value advertisements. They do look for advice, entertainment and the chance to learn from someone they consider an expert.
The companies that offer a website as an end solution are a dime a dozen and can be seen on small and big brands.
You know, the ones with inline ads after every paragraph, pop ups with ‘like my facebook so I can look popular’ or ‘join my email list so I can spam the crap out of you because you gave me permission’.
If the web page has great content then the reader will tolerate the annoyance of being spammed and skim through the article to pull out the best.
A lot of people will skim through the article to get to the comments to see what other people insights offers to the blog post.
Keep the interruption process to a minimal with maybe a quick self-promotion in the sidebar and an option to opt in to email updates.
Keep your marketing to a step by step process and not an all-in or nothing.
So how do you convert your visitors into customers?
There are a lot of articles, books and who knows what else out there with answers to ‘how to convert visitors into customers’.
They will talk about button colors, sizes and forms of varies techniques.
The truth is, if your content doesn’t offer value to the visitor reading it. It won’t matter what your form looks like they simply are not going to sign up.
If your content does offer value to the reader then odds are they will return again, again and again. Within one of those returns you will get a name and email submitted so that they can receive more of your awesome content.
Having someone tell you how the human behavior will respond to your website or marketing process is just ridiculous.
The best answer that I could offer is make sure you start with the basics and that’s having something worth value to trade for visitors attention.
Keep your conversion process within a step by step goal and keep your visitors focus no further than the next step and not the end game.
This leads us right into our next question…
Will you have an active blog on your site? And do you know why you would want a blog?
Having a blog on your site can put you ahead of your competitors and not just a little. Take a look around at your competitor’s sight, see if they have a blog. If they do go in and check a few articles out and see what it is they are saying.
Most business, especially when it comes to local business, will get it completely wrong, lack consistency or just don’t have a blog all together.
What would this mean for you? Some killer SEO, long tail options, quality user experience and the ability to earn quality backlinks to assure a strong root within natural listings.
This is a quick and short article to what backlinks are. Make sure you read the full article that finishes below the video.
And to our final question…
Integrating Social Media
Will you be using social media? I am going to put social media in a different light than what most of us are used to when it comes to social media.
Let’s take Twitter for example. A lot of companies, mostly marketing, content companies and of course social media companies believe that the whole purpose of having a social media account is to say that they have a social media account.
They can say that they are really good at social media and that they have the following to follows ratio to prove it.
So annoying and lame.
Social media is about relationships in a weird kind of way. What you want to do is find companies that you can offer a 2 way value. As in you both have something of value for each other.
The thing about social media is that this is an online and offline process. The people that you meet outside of the office such as meetings, networks, seminars and so on….
These are the people that will help boost your social media and offer that ability to share what you have to offer beyond your reach.
So to bring this all together….
Thinking about putting your business online is more than just thinking about a website. It’s about getting a business website and how active will you be once you have it.
Think about what you will offer beyond your services or products and think about how you can create value for your customers.
If this is more important than putting all your eggs in a custom website it might be wise to focus on customizing a website template and focus on content and the ability to promote it.