One of my clients, whom I have done business with for years, recently had her website completely overhauled by Concept Incarnate™ in April. The website overhaul included updating branding & graphics, integration into a CMS, responsive design and a few SEO tricks. That client recently reached out to me saying that she was starting another line of business but did not have the budget to have another website professionally designed.
She made her own website for her new business with some online DIY software. She went on to say that she was spoiled by the boost to SEO and placement on the first page of Google Search results as a result of the website overhaul that I was able to give her for her first line of business. She was not able to replicate that success on the website that she created; the SEO for this website was ranking pitifully.
She was caught in a weird spot; without traffic, she could not afford to have that website professionally designed and without a professionally designed website, it was unlikely that she would get much website traffic.
Now this is my proposition: a professionally designed website is an essential business asset that should be budgeted for in your initial business plan.
This sounds blatantly obvious to few, but to most (since most websites are bad) they do not still understand this.
A good website design goes beyond just the graphic design. It is also finding you the right host; enough server space and speed for your needs (but not too much, as to be throwing away money on unneeded server capacity). It is recommending a good domain name that supports your SEO and is easy to communicate to your customers. It is taking the time to save your image files to be uploaded to your website with sane image names that contribute to SEO boosts. It is taking the time to code in the invisible title and outlining tags for HTML5 outlining, screen readers and SEO. What I hope you see is good website design graphics when looking at a well-designed website, but much of the work down is not seen by the naked eye. It is seen by results: better sales, more leads, better informed customers.
I consider myself to be a graphic designer first and foremost. I do know some SEO but I don’t consider myself a true SEO expert (out of respect for those who truly are. I also don’t consider myself an expert physician, chef, gymnast or rocket scientist either, but there are plenty on non-designer who called themselves expert designers). But when I design a website, I hold true to the philosophy that designing a website is much more than just manipulating the graphics. I design the website as comprehensively as I can in an effort to make the website, as a whole, a success. I even add added value to my clients by giving them tips and directions for social media and possible ways to increase their Public Relations. A website that only looks good, is not good enough.
So if you budget for the website from the beginning, you won’t find yourself stuck in a cycle where you can’t pay for the website while constantly incurring business costs.
What’s the cost of saving money on making your website? Your business.
- Your website is your life-line. It is your full time, round the clock, employee that is always advocating for you and always giving information seekers… the information they seek.
- Your website is an important asset to your business. When starting any business, it should have a decent budget allocated to it, just as you plan your fees for your business registration, uniforms, supplies and hardware. If your budget is a whopping $100 dollars, you are whopping wrong about how much a website that will be of any value to you, should cost.
- It is NOT an optional tool.
- It should NOT be viewed as a luxory item.
- It is an investment because it WILL bring you in money when it is done right. To a fair degree, the more money you spend, the more money you will get back in. (Don’t confuse this for spending $100,000 on a site that could have only needed $10,000. Consider the value the website will bring and how much you are willing to pay for it. If you plan on getting $100,000 on increased sales, would a 25% investment of the expected sales be reasonable? If you plan on getting $100,000 in increased sales, would a 90% investment be reasonable… or sane?)
When you don’t spend enough money on your website, you waste time and money.
- A bad website waste time as everyday it is out there, it screws with your SEO rankings. They are either getting worse or getting better. Can you guess which direction a poorly designed website is headed? This means less people will see your website. Let’s propose that 20% of your website visits results in a sale, and you are getting 1000 visits per week. If your amount of visits per week decreased to 500, you can’t hope to now get 40% sale conversions to make up for the loss in quantity; you, at best, will still have 20%.
- A poorly designed website will turn AWAY leads. So the people that manage to find your site, regret they did. The website is hard to navigate, they aren’t sure what you sell or specialized in, the website doesn’t load right on a mobile device. The easy fix for your website visitor? Hit the back button and look for another website. So now, your sales conversion rate isn’t as high as it should be. You could have had 1000 visitors per week, but now you only have 500. And of those visits, most users are leaving the website, fast. You sales conversion rate is underutilized at, let’s say 10%.
- It will rack up hosting costs still, even when it turns away those leads. Most DIY websites come with proprietary software that will not allow you to move that site to a cheaper server. Most DIY websites are stuck on servers that are overpriced. The DIY website providers make their money by charging a high monthly price and keeping locked on their services. A decent server won’t be as high priced and will let you have multiple sites on one account; it will also let you move your files to another server… but you won’t cause that server is too affordable and flexible to leave.
- Your’ll pay for it times over. First you will pay for the bad website at cheap rates. Then you will pay in lost sales. Then you will pay in having someone make a new website for you. Then you will pay for the time it takes for the SEO to turn around for the new website. Don’t forget about how you will pay for in your time; as a business owner, I bet your time is in short supply and high demand. How much time do you think fixing your website bellyflop will take to re-cover from?
I am hoping after reading this post, you may consider saving time and money, by paying for your website to be done right the first time. Please check out my other blog posts about how to find a good website designer, basics of starting a website and what you should ask your website designer about when getting a website estimate.