The value of a business website and why investing in a custom website is worth every cent:
A business owner is always on the lookout to increase profits and create a strong professional image. In this day and age, for most businesses a website is an essential part of achieving those goals.
You probably know of businesses that are doing well without a website, I do too, but I often wonder how much better they could be doing if they spent the time and money on investing in one. And when I say “website”, I don’t mean an electronic version of that brochure you’ve been handing out for the past 10 years. I mean a legitimate, well-thought-out site that is designed to engage, inform and impress your audience.
When it comes to creating an online presence for your business, just like business cards or a shopfront, a website needs to project an image of quality and competence. The more professional your business branding is, the more credible and reliable your products and services will be.
I personally believe that in some ways this applies even more to a company website than any other marketing materials as the internet is perceived as easy and accessible, so as such your website will communicate to potential customers whether your business is easy and accessible.
To put it bluntly: a good website makes you look like you have your shit together.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics concluded that, on average, Australian businesses with a website report a minimum 10% increase of sales over business that do not, it’s that simple. And when it comes to potential customers online, if they have the choice between two businesses, one with a fantastic website and one with an average website, it goes without saying which they’ll choose.
Hence, investing in a great website is priceless, definitely worth spending that little bit of extra time and money on.
Depending on the nature of your business you might be wondering what on earth you would put on a website or whether you really have enough of anything to put on there at all. But really, sometimes more important than the actual content (text, images, etc) of a website is just the online presence itself: your business appearing in internet search results, having a link to click on in your Yellow Pages Online ad, someone hearing about your business through word of mouth and being able to look up your website and “suss you out”.
Whether you have pages and pages of content or not, a website has now become the main first point of contact with potential clients and what a business will be judged by. More importantly, most people will filter based simply on the look of a website, a well designed website helps tell your audience that you care about the image of your business and that they can be confident that you will apply the same professionalism to your products and services.
It is well known in the freelance design industry customers are occasionally unpleasantly surprised by prices quoted to build their custom website. For my part I am very aware that my prices are some of the lowest and most competitive in the area for custom web design, as such I know this reaction isn’t because I’m charging too much, it is largely because
I’ve stopped counting how many times various people have waved ugly flyers under my nose crying “look how cheap this web design offer is, $299!” or some other equally ridiculous low price. [Unfortunately for the likes of me,] most average people don’t really understand the difference between contracting a custom web design and using website templates.
It is important that any business owner in the market to publish a website know the difference between custom and template websites. Depending on your website needs, you have two options when it comes to design: you can do it yourself by using a template service or you can hire someone to develop a custom site. Which you choose depends on needs and budget (and I respect that on some occasions your budget won’t accommodate contracting a custom design).
FYI: The aforementioned ugly flyers offer the latter, a template, a self-managed template to boot often with an array of other hidden costs and/or (possibly minimal) ongoing costs outlaid on a monthly basis, etc.
When deciding if a unique custom web design is the way to go or if a website template better suits, keep in mind that you want your business to stand out from the crowd and be memorable.
Non-unique website templates are cheap, but like everything else you will get exactly what you pay for. Custom web designs cost more up front but can become one of the most important business assets you own and hence deserve careful consideration. For some clients who own businesses, the cost of a having a custom web site designed and managed by a professional designer is worth the steeper cost.
If you remove cost as the primary deciding factor, the overall benefits offered by custom web designs are far greater than that of design templates. Mid-sized businesses, large corporations and eCommerce portals use custom designs as they provide businesses much greater customisation/individuality and an array of options that are not available with template solutions.
The way I look at it, I could save money by learning how to fix my own car, but it’s not my area of expertise and I have absolutely no interest in doing so. I would rather pay that bit extra and have it done properly by a trained expert.
So remember, there is a big difference between price and cost. What’s the difference? Price is a one time payment. Cost is a long term investment.