Introduction: Why you should get a custom website
So here is the thing, you either have a website and want to make it better. Or you don’t have a website and you want a website. After all, every company or entrepreneur worth their salt has a website. There is a reason for this, and we will touch on this later on in this article.
I’ve had lots of people come up to me and say “Hey Ross I’d really like a website, how much do you charge.” Upon finding out how much I charge they are blown away. How can a bit of text and pictures cost so much?
It’s relative, companies are prepared to spend thousands of Dollars on websites because they see the worth in it. People often love the idea of a website but upon finding out how much work, money and effort is involved in creating a successful and beautiful website lots of people are turned off by the idea.
Why then, are there so many successful and beautiful websites out there? Well, two reasons. Firstly they offer quality content that people actually want to read. Secondly the owners of those said websites care about the website and genuinely want to see it succeed. They believe in the mission that the website is aiding and promoting. Remember, a website is usually a tool in the business not The Business (although it can be the business too). The hard work and money is worth it.
1. What is a good website?
You don’t browse the internet to get sold stuff. This is why things like Ad blockers exist, as humans we hate being sold stuff but we love to buy stuff. What is the difference? The one is in your face and unpleasant. We all don’t appreciate a door to door salesman because they invade your privacy. However we love going to the mall, in public to find items to spend our salaries on. A good website isn’t full of massive banners saying “BUY ME – 50% OFF!!!”. This is visually unappealing but it also doesn’t add value anyone’s life. What we all want when we browse the web is value. Whether that be in the form of information, a good product at a reasonable price or an entertaining video on Youtube. It’s important for us as website owners to have content on our website that adds value to people’s lives. You could build a website that has a bunch of pictures of a product and your contact information on it, but what you’re left up with is a glorified classified advert. A good website might have an article about your product or service. The article should add value to your customer’s life even if they don’t buy something. Although you can structure your articles to encourage people to contact you or buy stuff from you. This is called rich content.
Rich content isn’t a once off thing. Creating rich content and traffic to your website is an entire new discipline of doing business. It takes time, sometimes it requires money though it’s worth it.
2. Website Builders: why you shouldn’t use them.
If you’re looking to get your own website, you may have heard of Wix and Squarespace. They’re two of the most popular website builders out there. Lots of people use them. However according to statistics 75% of the internet is using WordPress.org. [Check this stat]
Why would you use Wix or Squarespace?
Wix and Squarespace allow you to build a website without even having to know how to code. Which is brilliant if you like to have control over things and have hours to put into that sort of thing. They offer you templates which are really easy to use and you can just drag and drop your text, images and layout to suit your needs.
Why you SHOULDN’T use websites builders.
- Website builders are a classic case of master of all trades but master of none. They are built on templates to suit thousands and there will very rarely be a template that suits your needs. You can probably live with this however there will always be a part of you nagging to sort an issue out on your website that your template just doesn’t accommodate.
- You don’t own anything you post. When was the last time you actually read the terms and conditions of any software or website that you visited? The chances are, if you’re anything like me, you didn’t. Most website builders have a clause in their terms and conditions that state that anything you post on their platform technically doesn’t belong to you. They have the right to distribute that content and remove it if it goes against their values or morals.
- It destroys your brand image. Have you ever visited a website that had “Made with Wix” at the bottom? What were your thoughts on it? Imagine you visited Stripe.com or Apple.com and saw that. The chances are you would find it pretty annoying and even if you didn’t realise it, it would take away from the experience you get on their websites. It looks unprofessional and cheap. Website builders often use ads as a form of income for their websites, this can also look pretty sketchy. Are you prepared to have “Hot Russian Singles” next to your article about how you are serious about the product or service you offer your customers? It doesn’t make sense does it.
Don’t get me wrong, for some people website builders are great. They can be a massive time and money saver. However no one ever gained massive returns from an investment without investing some time and money first.
3. How does a website contribute to building your brand and brand identity?
Lets go back to our examples of Stripe.com and Apple.com, these are two websites – that in my opinion – as far as websites go, are absolutely exquisite. Those companies have put lots of time, effort and money into building their websites because they understand that a website is integral to having a solid Brand. A brand is so much more than a logo on a product. A logo is a symbol of reassurance. You are being reassured that the represented company is behind that product and is willing to back that product. Lets use BMW vehicles for example: when you see a BMW, you don’t just see a car. Subconsciously you see the mechanics that assembled that car with the utmost care. You see the engineers that spent thousands of hours planning and creating the car. Other than personell you see the commercial you saw on T.V last week, perhaps you also see the billboard that promoted this specific car while driving on the highway. My point is, a brand is so much more than a logo. It’s the culture, quality of service and image that has been carefully cultivated to create this one thing that is encapsulated and represented by a Logo. That is a brand.
Using a website to build your brand.
A website is like your online Head Quarters. Just like any big company has it’s headquarters. You should too. Perhaps your business is not at the stage yet where you can afford even a rental space in the local office park. You can however afford a website. I’ve had lots of people come up to me and say “Hey I have Facebook and Instagram is that enough?” The answer? Maybe, but probably not. The fact is that not everyone has Facebook and Instagram. By not having a website you’re limiting yourself to the select people that use that platform that you can effectively market to. Let’s be realistic; on Facebook you can only market to people that Like your page or have seen content of yours that’s been shared. This isn’t an extremely large pool. However on the massive expanse that is the internet you can market to anyone, of any ethnicity, language or background. They don’t have to even use Google, they could be using other search engines. The point is – don’t limit yourself. Social media has it’s place, but it shouldn’t be the main source of your online presence. I would even dare to say, that a website is more beneficial than social media.
A website allows you to change anything about it. You can change the Font size, colour and Typeface (Font family), you can change the colours of anything. If you really wanted to, you could make your entire website pink – here is an example of someone that has done that really well [pink website]. Take a moment and ask yourself. When your customers hear your brand name, what is the first thing that comes to mind? When you think about the brand Apple, what comes to mind? The chances are you thought of an Iphone, perhaps the clean look of Apple, there clean and spacious stores and maybe Steve Jobs. These are all things that contribute to Apple’s brand.
4. Websites bring in an income
Websites are a long term investment. They take work but with work and a littlebit of money they can pay themselves off and so much more. Just like any investment, if done wrong you could lose money. However a website is not unpredictable like the stock market. It’s progress can be tracked and you can make changes where necessary to rectify issues as you observe them.
Good examples of websites that create direct income are any E-commerce website such as Amazon or Takealot. The businesses are using the website as a tool to sell a product. Another example is anytime you see an advert on a website – that website owner is using that as a form of revenue. For every person that views that page or clicks that advert the website owners gets a small cut.
Indirect income is income that you get as a result of someone seeing or visiting your website but not exclusively buying a product on your website. For example John visits yourwebsite.com and reads an excellent article about one of your products/services. He then clicks on the “Contact Us” button at the end of the article and contacts you. This results in you selling your product or service and making money.
There is a very good chance that you’re thinking “Wow, I’d love a website – I just don’t have time”. That’s the one drawback to website builders, they allow you to build a website but don’t account for the fact that you’re busy and just don’t have time to build a website yourself.
In this article we have spoken about what a good website looks like. What it means to build quality content. We have also spoken about the difference between creating a website that is a complimentary tool to your company compared to slapping some pictures and text on your website hoping it will give your business some form of benefit.
Website builders are great however they come with some tradeoffs that some people are not aware of that may make you think twice.
Your website is like a flag on the internet. It’s often the first impression people have of your business. Not only are websites a visual thing, they can also make money.
Not everyone has the time to build their own website, even though they technically could. It boils down to a case of “Do I have the time or would it be more beneficial for me to pay someone to do it.”