This past year has been extremely challenging for all of us. The arrival of Covid 19 has meant many businesses have come under intense financial pressure and have had to leave staff go. For many others, this year has meant long periods on furlough and the time has given us pause for thought with where to go from here.
With every challenge comes opportunity and this last year has sparked the entrepreneurial spirit in many. For some, furlough schemes or a permanent layoff have been the catalyst for a decision to set up their own business. For others, the Covid situation has seen their previous side hustle turn into a viable business and the thought of scaling it up to provide a proper income stream has now become a reality.
The Importance Of Your Website
No matter the reason, if you have set up a small business, you need a website. In today’s digital economy a professional website is an absolute requirement. When competing with other businesses, the difference between a well-designed, fully-functional website and an amateur self-designed website could mean the difference between the success and failure of your small business, here’s why;
- E-Commerce is booming. At the end of 2019, E-Commerce had accounted for global sales of $3.53 trillion and growing while showing no signs of letting up.
- With so much choice, customers need to trust your company or product. A high-quality website displays your goods or services in the best light.
- Websites don’t take breaks or need sleep. They work for you 24/7, 365 days a year.
- Your website generates data (email addresses, demographics, etc) and you can use this data to tailor your product to your customers, reducing waste and increasing profits.
So now that we have established that your business, absolutely, positively needs a website, how do you go about getting one and ensuring that the web design serves you best?
Self Designing Your Website
Can you design your own website? Yes, of course, you can. Whether it is a good idea or not however is a whole different question! There are several providers out there that will provide the least expensive route to web design for your small business. Organizations such as Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace will provide a web building service that utilizes visual page editors (drag and drop x here) but while this makes the build process easier, it limits what you can do and so the finished website will not be as flexible as a bespoke built website.
Unless you are exceptionally proficient in web design, using web builders means that you are unable to optimize your website for search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital tool in the online economy as it attracts more traffic to your website and the majority of web builders do not support SEO, or support it poorly, leading to missed sales.
The website builders own your website. Yes, you read that correctly. As you used their platform their T&C’s will generally state that ownership of the webpage belongs to them. If you ever decide that you want to move to another hosting service, well, you can’t, and if you do you lose everything.
Your website may not look all that different from your competitors. As the web builders platform is designed for ease of use, personalization options are limited. You select color schemes and themes but there is a finite number to choose from. If you don’t stand out from the crowd, what is the point?
So yes, self-built websites are cheaper, but you get what you pay for.
Professional Web Design
If you have decided that you do want to stand out from the crowd and have decided that getting the professionals to help is best for you, you have two choices on how to proceed. Traditional web design & pay monthly web design. It’s a good idea to start with what both options bring to your small business;
- Both options will deliver a professional and bespoke web design service ensuring your business stands out.
- Both provide strong SEO tools
- Better page load speed – professional web design allows your page to load quicker, the faster your page loads, the higher your website will appear on a Google search.
- Customer service & support – as these are bespoke services you have the benefit of bespoke customer care.
- Your business owns the website (more on this below), always.
How Do Traditional And Pay Monthly Web Design Differ?
What is the difference between a traditional web design and pay monthly web design options? Well, the traditional web design model means a large upfront cost to your business. The actual cost of designing and delivering a website can range from thousands to tens of thousands depending on the complexity and fronting a large amount of cash is often impossible for a small business especially when you consider that any updates required come at an additional cost.
Compared to the traditional model, there are many significant benefits to utilizing a pay monthly web design company.
- Far smaller upfront fees
- Daily maintenance of your website is included in the monthly fee
- Any required updates are generally included.
- You can scale up your website as your business grows meaning you don’t waste money on features you don’t need – yet!
In a nutshell, pay monthly web design gives you all the benefits of the traditional web design services but without the large initial outlay.
Is Pay Monthly Web Design Right For Your Small Business?
When considering this, there are certain factors to consider. Generally, the T&Cs will say that you do not get ownership of your website until a set number of months payments have been made (usually 12) so therefore you have to ensure that your business has the cash flow to pay the monthly installments for at least one year.
Like any product where payment is spread out, rather than upfront, the overall cost of pay monthly options may be more than had you paid for the website upfront but for most small businesses this will be far preferable to fronting up a large sum of money, especially when starting out.
Good luck with your venture!