The short answer is yes, you can build your own website, but you probably won’t like the long answer, which is no.  Building your website can end up being more than you bargained.  From theme decisions to search engine optimization and shopping carts, the process can be overwhelming and time-consuming.  In this post, I’ll tell you about the website design process and help you figure out if you even need a website.

What You Get When You Build Your Own Website

build-your-own-website  The places that say you can build your own website are neglecting to mention that, without purchasing and re-branding a theme, you can only do the bare minimum, which means the following:

  • You’ll get little to no SEO, so you won’t be seen much by the public
  • Without a little bit of coding, you won’t be able to use eye-catching design elements
  • Forget about a shopping cart; that can get complicated
  • You get a limited number of pages and design elements
  • You probably won’t get an SSL certificate, putting you at risk of being hacked
  • There’s no responsive design, so your site won’t be seen by mobile users

The real questions are:

  1. Am I trying to get new customers through the website, or just direct current clients there?
  2. How many pages do I need?
  3. Will I be making any money through the website?
  4. Do I have the time to spend on this?

While modern technology and website themes are designed for general consumption and use, it is still a highly sophisticated field created and managed by scientists, mathematicians, coding experts, and graphic artists.

You may think you’re saving money when you build your own website, but without a background in web development, writing, and marketing, you will probably spend more time swimming through tears of frustration than getting a functional website up.  Wouldn’t you rather focus on your business and customers?

Do You Need A Website?

build-your-own-website  The answer depends on the type of business.  Are you a local business in a small town?  If so, then you just need the simple brochure-style website for your friends and neighbors.  You can probably build your own website in this case.  However, if you are doing any of the following, you will need a professional website:

  1. Offering products or services in a big city and trying to attract new customers
  2. Providing helpful targeted content offers and blog posts that need to be targeted
  3. Selling and shipping products
  4. Providing online services around the world

Why You Probably Need a Website, No Matter What

build-your-own-website  We now live in a virtual world, with most business transactions and communications happening without any face-to-face interaction.  Consumers in today’s virtual world use their phones and mobile devices for researching and buying products and services, so it makes sense to have an online presence.

Still skeptical?  That’s okay! Let’s look at the research:

  • 81% of consumers research companies online before even considering a purchase
  • 79% of Americans shop online
  • 80% of internet users have a smartphone as their primary device
  • Tablets make up the highest add-to-cart rates at a whopping 8.58%
  • 68% of companies (and probably your competitors) use mobile marketing in their strategies
  • 61% of consumers will leave your site if they have trouble with it, and 40% of them will go to your competitor
  • Scientists project that by 2019, mobile advertising will make up 72% of digital spending

Sources:  AdWeek; iMPACT

If you’re still trying to decide if you want to build your own website or hire a professional, do some online research of your biggest competitors.  Focus on the more successful companies.  You will find they have a few things in common:

  • Professional mobile-friendly website
  • SEO
  • Well-written content
  • Blog
  • Social media presence
  • Engagement tactics (free downloads and content offers)

What Your Website Needs to Succeed

build-your-own-website  Here are the top priorities for your professional website:

  • Eye-catching design that is not too complicated or hard to navigate. There are best practices to follow.  If you are uncertain, I can help!
  • Captivating content. Too much or too little content can send readers running, and grammatically or structurally incorrect writing can hurt your business.  Your content should not only match your brand and culture, but be professional and honest.
  • Responsive, mobile-friendly design. Not every device is created equal; you will need to consider colors, fonts, sizes, images, as well as letter and paragraph spacing!  The site should look as good when scaled down as it does on the largest screen!
  • Search engine optimization. This is more than just keywords and phrases.  This area of expertise includes:
    • Market research on what’s working in your niche
    • Local optimization
    • On-page optimization (title tags, meta descriptions, headers, URL’s, codes, etc.)
    • Off-page optimization (internal and external links)
    • E-commerce (shopping)optimization
    • Landing Page and Offer optimizations
    • Social media outreach and blogging
    • Conversion optimization
    • Google Analytics
  • Active Content and Offers. This includes blogs, social media posts, tip sheet offers, whitepapers, educational materials, etc.  They entertain and engage readers, encouraging them to remember you when it’s time to make a purchasing decision.
  • Technical support including initial setup, maintenance, and upkeep.

Small businesses are often stuck between a rock and a hard place when considering a website. Do you build your own website, or do you sit down and create a marketing budget that will include the digital process?  A marketing budget is always a good idea.  The world is just too big to be known without the expertise of a digital marketing specialist.

In this regard, I can help you.  I can provide you with a turn-key service that includes web design, content, SEO, social media, and blogging all in one place.  Need a logo and brand elements?  No problem!  That’s my business partner, Jeremy Parks.  He’s also an IT specialist, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some help!

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