In the final post of this 7 part series, we’ll be focusing on how you can align your website and online presence with your long term business goals.
It’s easy to get caught up in the here and now while you’re planning your business website. However, it’s equally important to keep an eye on the future of your business as a whole while doing so. Looking toward the future may help you to decide whether to use a template or hire a professional web designer.
To be successful and stand out from the multitude of competitors, small businesses need to have an effective online presence that extends beyond just the website itself. Business owners should have a marketing plan that includes customer acquisition channels such as SEO, PPC, social media and email marketing. Your website needs to stand as a solid foundation for these.
Cons of hiring a web design company:
If you choose to use an online marketing firm to help you, they may find issues with how your website was developed, unless they were part of the design process. This is rare, as most professional web design firms know how to create a website that will uphold best practices and support the integrations necessary to propel your online presence. But it is something to consider if you are contemplating implementing a marketing strategy post launch. It’s always a good idea to discuss ask your web designer if they offer digital marketing services. If they don’t, make sure you discuss what platform your website will be built on and if it can support integrating with 3rd party software. It’s also a good idea to discuss if their suggested platform have any inbuilt SEO optimization tools.
Pros of hiring a web design company:
Today, professional web design companies rarely specialise in solely design or development, often offering a wide range of services for after your website has gone live. Any decent web design company or digital agency understands that the online success of their clients depends on a 360 degree integrated approach and as such, they will always suggest additional services. This is a big selling-point for outsourcing your website to a professional company – a web design company often becomes a partner for the life of your website and works across long term marketing and traffic acquisition.
Cons of building a site using pre-made templates:
If you choose to build a site using a pre-made template, you’ll experience far less flexibility and freedom in implementing a website that can support an all-encompassing online marketing strategy. Any marketing firm that works with you will likely find frustrations with the limitations set out by your chosen template. Worst case scenario is that your website will effectively become an island in your wider marketing efforts that cannot support any integration. Also be aware that because templates come with ‘out of the box’ functionality, you may even find that adding additional landing pages or customized forms for specific campaigns could prove to be challenging in the long run.
Pros of building a site using pre-made templates:
If you like the idea of having complete control and responsibility over every aspect of your business, then perhaps the template route is best for you. You’ll likely have to assume all marketing responsibilities on your own, but perhaps that’s what you’re looking for. A DIY website can save money in the short-term as you focus on growing your business. If you’re looking to predominately promote your business through offline channels then having a website with all the bells and whistles may prove to be overkill. Similarly, if you are starting out and budget is the main reason for not hiring an agency to handle your online marketing efforts, than just like a website you can always make this a focus once you have the capital available. However, keep in mind that if your DIY website isn’t up to scratch when you do decide to invest, you may have to entirely rebuild on a more capable custom framework.
Whilst marketing can be managed in-house, having a team that is dedicated to getting accountable results for your website can be seen as a huge time-saver and convenience. There is an obvious price tag for such service, however it’s not uncommon for web design companies to offer packaged services or monthly retainers that include specific services such as SEO, link-building or content marketing. They can also recommend the best approach for your business as you gain data about what works for your particular business and industry.
Despite the different benefits afforded by either a custom or a DIY solution, ultimately as a small business owner you know what is best for your business. Not only this, but you also know where your business will be in the next 5-10 years. By looking at your business’ bigger picture, combined with the points outlined in this series – you will start to get a clearer idea of the best approach to take with your own website design.