Is an affordable small business website really what you need?
By Ian Messinger |
If you’re just starting to take your online marketing seriously, you may be looking for the most affordable business websites out there to quickly jumpstart your online presence. But will a “cheap” website really give your business what it takes to succeed online?
88% of people will research a business online prior to making a purchase decision, so having a quality website that represents your company in a positive light is essential.
The three A’s of building a new website
Of course you want to choose a website or hire a website developer that you can afford. But you also need to think about both what you can afford to spend today… and what you can afford to invest for tomorrow.
It is possible to find reasonable services without sacrificing quality, but since your website is an extension and virtual representation of your business, you need to look at your website as an investment in your long-term success.
Plenty of affordable business websites are built by business owners using a DIY website platform, or built by someone they’ve hired off of Craigslist that promises to do a great job for pennies. A lot of these sites are lacking the basic elements of a successful website:
- Is it professionally written?
- Is it professionally designed?
- Does it have everything it needs in the content and code to attract search engines?
- Is it mobile-optimized? Is it optimized for voice search?
- When it needs to be updated, do you have the time or know-how to change pictures, add new menu items, or redesign the entire site to keep it “fresh”?
An affordable business website is about much more than the sticker price. Anyone can build a cheap website by using a template and replacing words and images. Your site is only as good as the amount of effort and time you’re willing to put into it (or pay someone else to).
You need to be sure that everyone can find your website and then use it when they get there. That means your site needs to work for search engines and potential customers on both computers and mobile devices. Consider the following:
- Does your budget website include even basic On-Page SEO… or more advanced (and time-consuming) Off-Page SEO and Local SEO?
- Does your budget website work on phones and tablets?
- Can Google, Siri and Alexa return information about your business when asked?
“Building a website” and “building a website that works” are two very different things. If your business website wasn’t built by someone who understands and thinks about online marketing, SEO, mobile devices, User Experience and so many other things… you may have saved some money only to lose business.
The website provider you choose needs to be able to build a custom website that not only fits your brand and voice, but is SEO-optimized and easy for everyone to navigate.
Yes, people will judge your website based on how it looks. The design of your site — the visual wow! factor when your site first loads on their computer or phone — needs to make a powerful first impression. And after that first impression, your site design needs to follow standard conventions to create a positive user experience (UX). A mix of visually pleasing design elements that speak to your company’s brand plus intuitive site navigation equals website success. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your budget website include all the design elements that a professional designer thinks about?
- Does your budget website say the right things to your site visitors — so they can make a decision and become customers quickly and confidently?
- Can your site visitors find the information that’s important to them — who you are, what you do, and how to reach you?
If your answers are “No” or “I’m not sure”… you might want to start thinking about investing in a good website instead of a cheap one.
[Related: What Makes a Good Small Business Website?]
The bottom line for your bottom dollar
Sometimes you really do have to “spend money to make money.” While an inexpensive business website may sound like a low-risk, win-win decision today… it may not include everything you, your customers or search engines need tomorrow. Your website is an investment in your business and your success — so remember that your company’s website needs to be high quality, informative and an accurate representation of your business.