Why small businesses should have their websites built by a professional web development company instead of DIY packages or a ‘family friend’
Setting up a business is not something to be taken lightly, certainly not if you are fully committed and serious about making a success of it. There will be many important things that will need doing and which will form the foundations of your business. One of these early, significant considerations will be your website.
For the vast majority of businesses the website will be their interface with their target audience. Your ability to reach your target audience and to communicate with them effectively will have a major impact on the success – or otherwise – of your business. So getting this aspect correct is a critical element in just how well your business progresses.
That said it is surprising just how many small businesses don’t engage professional help and assistance when it comes to creating their online presence. Often new businesses choose to ignore the opportunity to engage with a professional web development company and opt instead to go down the DIY website route or entrust a relative or a friend of the family to build their website for them.
For many business start-ups their decision to go down this route is often driven by financial considerations or a lack of appreciation of just what is involved in building a website that will properly work for your business.
Without doubt there are numerous costs associated with starting up a new business and some of these can be quite substantial, so on the face of it, the opportunity to save some expenditure and build the website yourself (using a web builder package from the likes of GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly etc.) or to have a friend or family member build it for you for “beer money” might sound appealing.
However as a professional website design and internet marketing company we have been approached on many occasions by frustrated and disappointed business owners who have started off down these paths only to find that the results are not at all what they envisaged or required. Let’s look at why this might be the case.
Taking the DIY website build approach first, there are a number of large international companies advertising on TV and offering you the opportunity to build your own ‘great looking website’ with, seemingly, just a few clicks of the mouse and at the cost of only a few tens of £’s per month. To many that might just sound ideal. To be fair to these DIY site builder packages they are relatively easy to use and are based on pre-created templates that will allow you to put a collection of web pages together with – depending on which platform and package you choose – a greater or lesser degree of graphic design (‘look and feel’) options. They will also offer the chance to include some other popular features or functionality – again depending on which platform and plan you choose – such e-commerce.
However the way that these DIY packages work is by creating a one-size-fits-all template based website solution. Yes you may be able to change template styles or formats to an extent, depending on the package you have selected but fundamentally you are getting a website that is an off the peg solution. It has not been crafted and tailored to fit your business – you have to make your business fit it.
So with DIY websites you are definitely trading flexibility and usability against costs. If you see your website only as a cost that has to be minimised then the DIY path looks attractive. But if you see your website as an investment – something that will deliver you a return on your money – then you should be cautious of the DIY option because with the template based websites – with all the constraints on how you can adapt and develop that website – you are less likely to be able to get that site working properly for your business.
A friend is building it for me…
As professional web developers when we hear these words we inwardly wince because we know from experience that – unless you are very lucky and really do have a friend who is highly competent and experienced in website building and also has excellent graphic design skills – the project is going to end badly.
Entrusting a key part of your start up business strategy to an enthusiastic amateur in the form of a friend or family member is a big risk – all for the sake of saving a few hundred pounds.
If you truly believe in your business you will want to showcase it in the very best possible way. Your website will be one of the primary critical interfaces with your target audience and your future customers. Unless your family friend or relation really knows what they are doing and has a wide range of website design and build skills – as well as experience – then your website will not represent your business in the way that it could and should do and this will cost you way more than the few hundred pounds you saved.
And… that is the best you can hope for! In many cases website projects have been abandoned or have dragged on for months while the business owner becomes increasingly frustrated and friendships become seriously tested and damaged. After all if your web development company is slow to deliver or is not giving you what you wanted you can sack them. You can’t so easily sack your brother in law or your friend!
Knowledge and Experience
There are some other crucial things that you will miss out on if you opt to build your website yourself or ask an enthusiastic amateur to do it for you. By not using a professional web development company to will be missing out – not just on all the design and technical expertise that they can offer – but all of the knowledge and experience that they can pass on and share with you.
If you are working with the right company they should – before any designs are even considered – engage with you in a detailed fact finding and ‘discovery’ process. At this start point they should be looking to understand in detail such things as;
- what your business is about,
- who your target audience is,
- what your business is offering
- how your business can differentiate itself
- what your key strengths and any unique sales benefits you might have
Only after gathering this information can an effective website be planned, designed and built.
During this information gathering phase the web company should be offering advice and ideas that can give your business an edge over your competitors. They should be using all their experience and knowledge and discussing with you how to get your business to stand out and be found online. Often new business owners don’t even consider the significant value that they can gain from tapping into all this knowledge and expertise that your web company has.
Working with your web company should be a partnership and it should be a partnership that delivers the best possible website presence for your business. Go here for 5 Top Tips on how to select the right web design company for your business.
So if you are considering a website for your new business venture think carefully about what you want your website to achieve and don’t just look at it as another cost. Instead view it as an investment and with that approach it should pay you back handsomely for years.