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How to Build a Successful Website for Small Businesses

9 February, 2017 | By Sakshi Sharma  |   (No Comments) | 15,838 Views

No matter what services your business provides, no matter what size your organization is, or if you target local consumers or global, a website is a mandatory step in achieving success. A website is what enables modern consumers to find your business; more importantly, a well designed website will turn visitors into paying customers.

 

As mentioned above, even businesses targeting local markets can help. A website provides an easy way to inform your clientele of news, changes, and updates to services. Plus it helps expand their market reach to national or even global levels – without costing you an arm and a leg.

 

A website is basically a marketing outreach platform, a visitor conversion tool, a brand image, and even a way to tell potential customers what your business is all about. The thing about a website is that it’s a dynamic tool, meant to solve common problems associated with all businesses.

 

But as anyone can tell you, plenty of websites don’t make it. They disappear into the dark nether regions of the webs, causing more harm than good. So how does one avoid this? How does one create a website that gets the attention a business needs and deserves? There are many different schools of thought on this subject, all with pros and cons. Today, we will cover a few of them on a case by case basis.

 

Do-it-Yourself

 

There are a lot of tools out there that allow people to quickly build a website, with no coding experience necessary. They allow businesses to select from a base design template, maybe even some few options to help specific businesses.

 

♦ Pros

 

    ○ DIY websites are really inexpensive. Like really inexpensive. From the actualyt development to hosting, DIY is the most upfront budget conscious option.

     

    ○ Little to no coding knowledge is necessary. Most of the coding has been done and just needs to be selected.

 

♦ Cons

 

    ○ The age-old truth of cheap is no less accurate here: you’re sacrificing functionality for price. There are a whole host of web activities required to running a successful website, many of them requiring months to years of work both before and after launch. DIY websites are like buying a prebuilt shed from Home Depot: if you’re just using it to store some tools, it’s great. But if you’re looking to live in one, there are some really necessary elements missing from that shed. Search Engine Optimization, ongoing Social Media Marketing activities, Content Optimization, Long-tail Keyword Research – theses are things a website needs to be truly successful;

     

    ○ Maintenance is necessary. If you go the DIY route, you may need to completely redo your website every time a major update in programming or design changes. If you hire a web developer, maintenance can be ongoing, ensuring compliance with major tech changes.

 

♦ Conclusions

 

If you’re just blogging for fun, or playing around with a website, the DIY option is great. It’s inexpensive, low key, and simple. But if you want to unlock the true potential of your online capabilities, you probably want to hire a web development company or hire full time staff.

 

Hire Full Time Web Developers

 

Hiring web developers as permanent employees is another common option business face. There are plenty of developers out there looking for a job and many of them are willing to work inexpensively.

 

♦ Pros

 

    ○ In terms of rapidity of response, hiring a full time staff member is the best. After all, they will be there 40 hours a week, right? So if something goes wrong or if you need to make changes, you have someone right there;

     

    ○ DIY websites lock yourself into what features are offered; hiring either a development company or a full time web developer allows business owners to go beyond cookie-cutter websites;

 

♦ Cons

 

    ○ This is the most expensive option (in the long term) we will discuss here. The actual expense varies (Building from the ground up will cost the most, while using a CMS/Web framework like WordPress will be the least expensive), but hiring a full time employee is an ongoing expense. You could let the web developer go once your website is completed, but then maintenance and updating will fall behind. This cost is compounded if your project requires more than one developer.

     

    ○ Unless your website is in constant flux, or has a crazy amount of features, there will be many hours post-launch where your developer doesn’t have a lot on his plate – but you still have to pay them.

 

♦ Conclusions

 

This is the option you need if you’re massive company with a lot of IT infrastructure. But if you aren’t then this will be cost-prohibitive.

 

A Development Partner

 

Hiring a development company like SDI might be the most popular option for Small to Medium sized businesses, and even some larger businesses. This option attempts to thread the needle between website capabilities and cost.

 

♦ Pros

 

    ○ Development companies have a massive pool of experience from which they can draw. If you hire a developer or two as permanent employees, you are limited to the experience they get from you, as well as past projects. Development companies like SDI work on hundreds of development projects a year, providing experience throughout many industries and sectors. Plus, a good web development company will chose developers with experience tailored to your project.

     

    ○ The best web development companies offer either an Annual Maintenance Contract, or blocks of hours for various programming work. This is a great way to offset issues with ongoing maintenance and updating. Plus, it can be combined with many DIY tools to create a very inexpensive but effective tool for business growth.

 

♦ Cons

 

    ○ While development companies generally respond very quickly, a full time staff is obviously quicker;

     

    ○ You have to vet your partner well. Get in touch with them, talk to them about their past projects, their development principles, and their design approach. While good companies are upfront about all of this, there’s always a risk.

 

♦ Conclusions

 

Hiring a development partner is the preferred option of thousands of SMBs for a reason. It offers an excellent balance between cost and effectiveness. But If you have a business that employs thousands around the globe, having a full time IT staff is probably (though not definitely) a better option. On the flip side, if you’re business employs one (i.e. you) and you needs something simple – like a blog – then hiring a developer is pretty expensive, especially since DIY websites can easily achieve this.

 

We’ve striven to be relatively balanced here, but we have an obvious dog in this fight. That being said, we do believe we are an excellent option. We offer everything from development to marketing to ongoing maintenance – for companies as large as PepsiCo to as small as the local realtor. Give us a call at 408.805.0495/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

 

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