Website Oh Beautiful Website – What Do I Do With Thee and Can I Afford Thee? As business owners we all come to this crossroad many times wondering what we are going to do with this giant of a need called our website and which solution is going to work best for our business: Custom vs. “Build-your-own” Tools.
Where do I start? So many tools, so many options. I have better things to do than worry about a website (hurts my head!)… I don’t know what to do… What I have up is fine… I can’t afford a website redesign…argh!
Does this sound like you? You are not alone! Fear not! I am here to make this as simple as possible…everything else I just mentioned will make sense and assist you in determining your best plan of action when considering website redesign – customvs. “Build-your-own” tools. Here are five things to consider from a business owner, who just like you, has been through this hurdle in the corporate arena with several credit unions in the area and recently for my own business so here we go!
1. What are your business goals?
Although this may sound like a redundant question – What are your business goals? Are you thinking website redesign because your looks outdated or is it simply not meeting your business goals and needs?
Thinking about your main goals will help you put into perspective the importance of a redesign at this moment. Are your goals to:
Educate your clients?
Nurture your current relationships?
Simply drive more business and leads?
Once you align your business goals with your website needs then you are ready to look at the next consideration – B-U-D-G-E-T.
2. What is your budget?
You are probably wondering why this consideration was not first. Well, that is because now we have so many options available, that budget becomes less important in terms of cost and the website consideration becomes more about the business needs.
One thing to note, according to Inman, sales people who spent 3x more on technology than the regular person saw in increase in sales of 47% in sales compared to those who did not.
When you’ve assessed your goals of wanting a redesign, you may come to realize that you do not need a full website redesign ̶ instead you may find that you simply need a “website refresh” to help improve your user experience or refresh the content to improve your messaging.
3. What is our comfort level with technology?
This is a real question and one that is going to ultimately drive your decision to what is going to be the best option for your business. If you are the type of person that embraces every new technology and is not afraid to tackle the latest and greatest, then your opportunities for using a build your own tool is huge vs. custom options that can range anywhere from $10,000 to $75,000 depending on the size of your company, customization, responsiveness, design, and more.
If you are not the type to embrace technology and are still fighting it – then a custom option is going to be your route. Just remember – do your research! The options are endless.
4. What are your options? Custom vs. “Build-your-own” Tools
Custom vs. “Build your own” which one do I pick? By now you should probably have some idea of which path you are taking in your website redesign adventure. Things to consider with either option will really come down which one meets your business goals and how much do you have to spend.
Remember that the custom options can range anywhere from $10,000 to $75,000 depending on the actual customization, pages required, mobility, responsiveness etc.
If you decide to use a build-your-own-tool then make a list of all your needs, put them on spreadsheet and as you research each option make notes of those providers that fall in those parameter and remove the ones that aren’t even close to meeting your needs. Some examples of parameters that you need to consider are:
Cost: monthly/annual fees to maintain vs. what you are getting out of it in functionality
User Interphase: is this tool going to be easy to use for you and the employees that are going to manage your site.
Variety of templates available to use: Just because you are using a template tool does not mean that you website has to look like everyone else’s!
RESPONSIVENESS: Does it have a mobile option editor that allows you to build you mobile site along with your main site? YES, these options are out there and are a must or you site will already be outdated and more importantly – WILL NOT be found by Google bots or spiders which are always crawling the internet for efficiency, creative content and responsiveness if your site is not responsive – you are already behind the eight-ball.
Compatibility: Make sure that your next build-your-own-tool plays well in the sandbox with any other systems you already have in place or are contemplating purchasing. This includes Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Social Media Management Tools (SMMT) and any other analytical or management system that you are using. I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. This could end up costing lots of money to find a “work around” issues, an inefficient use of a tool that you are paying a lot of money to manage or worse – paying thousands of dollars for multiple systems that are not working when this could have been avoided in your discovery process
5. What is your timeframe?
Good project management is key to everything in business and so your website is not any different. Allow yourself time to review all the options that are out there because there are many and you can get caught for weeks in the administrative process of reviewing them all but don’t! Go back to your business plan and continue to ask yourself the question “does this align itself with my business goals?” and if the answers is “no” move on! If you have decided that you are going to take the challenge of building your own website – take a look at all the information that is out there. Make sure that the tool you use INCLUDES the kind of support you are going to need in this endeavor. Do you need phone support or can you live strictly on social media channels and email? If not, move on to the next vendor. Keep it simple – stick with three vendors on each side and put them all to the test. Make sure that your new website product and hosting plays well in the sandbox with other systems that you like your CRM and Social Media platforms and that the analytical tools that you may be using will integrate for great analytics and statistics so that you are able to effectively manage your new website and adjust for ongoing changes in digital marketing.