Does It Matter Who Builds Your Website?
Your Website Developer Matters – Part 1
You need a website, but aren’t sure what direction to go. You see commercials about $199 websites, getting a website for $9.99 a month, and then see companies charging thousands of dollars for websites. Is there a difference in these services, and which one is right for you?
The truth is, there is a website solution for just about every price range from free to tens of thousands of dollars. There are some very specific and drastic differences in the solutions available with varying features for each. Understanding the difference in the details will hopefully shed some light on what each type of solution is able to do for your business.
Before we begin, lets look at the elephant in the room. If you want to, you can go online and find a free website template, find a hosting company, and get a website up for little more than a few dollars a year and some time invested. If you don’t have a budget but want to get something going, you can. You can find tons of designs online, put it on a website, and have it up in a few days to a few weeks. There is a learning curve to overcome on how to do it, but most individuals can understand the basics well enough to get a website published online. You can get a hosting account for $6-$10 a month, get your domain for $9-15 a year, and have a very low cost website up and running.
First, let’s look at the website, and we will come back to the hosting account in Part 2 of this series. A website can serve a lot of different functions for your business. It can be a digital business card, sell items, engage customers, capture leads, provide information, and interact with people in a lot of different ways. Before you get a website, it is important to understand why you need it.
- Do you need an “online presence”?
- Do you need a logo?
- Do you need to interact with people?
- Do you need to capture leads and new business?
- Do you need a blog?
- Do you need regularly updated content?
- Do you need it to appear in search results?
- Do you need website metrics and analytics?
- Do you need to sell anything?
- Do you need reports on sales?
- … and on and on.
Understanding your needs will help you fill out your requirements for the new website. This is an important step to making sure that you get the website you need for your business.
We could address each one of these items individually, but there are a few that deserve a little extra attention. The idea of having an “online presence” has become kind of a catch phrase for website developers. It is one of the most important parts of your website – to give you a way to be found and interacted with online. If you build your website and no one sees it, it really doesn’t accomplish the goal of being an online presence. You need to know a little something about search engine optimization (or SEO).
SEO is the process of building relevance for your website so it can be found by searching for keywords related to your business. It involves having the right website (content/code/meta info/titles/page structure/etc) and having enough authority (links from other reputable websites/social media engagement/off-site factors) for search engines like Google to recognize your website as a valuable resource.
There are over 200 individual ranking factors or signals (and they are increasing and changing in weight regularly). If you plan to build your website, do you know and understand how SEO works, what the ranking factors are and how to optimize them, and how to engage in the right strategies to build trust and authority with the search engines? If not, then you can invest the time to research and uncover how to do it, or have someone build your website that understands how these things work together. If your goal is to have a website to get leads or increase your business, it is vitally important to understand that just having a website won’t do it. It has to be engineered specifically for a purpose, have the right design, the right content, and the right SEO strategy to become successful.
The “process” of building a website can be done by just about anyone, but having someone that understands how everything works together for success is a different level of expertise. To create a winning website strategy, you need proper keyword and industry research, planning, content creation, professional design, strong calls to action, visitor funneling (lead visitors to appropriate actions), and website metrics and analytics to continue the optimization process based on actual visitor data and search engine data.
As you can start to see, who builds your website is becoming increasingly important. There is a lot more to a successful website than just getting online. There are tons of inexpensive resource to help you get online – the real difference shows up when your website starts producing leads and helping you retain and interact with customers. The “cost” of a properly developed website is more up front, but the real cost of having an ineffective website will be much higher in the end.