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Why did I choose a delicious-looking photo of orange juice for an article about business websites? That literally has nothing to do with the subject… or does it? I encourage you to read on.
Having a business website allows your business to reach a wider audience. Think of it as having a virtual storefront that is open 24/7, allowing potential customers to learn about your products or services, any time of the day. It can also help build credibility and trust with your audience, as your online presence provides a platform for you to showcase your expertise and customer testimonials. It improves your brand awareness, increases customer engagement, and (if done right) will ultimately drive more sales for your business.
Can I have a Facebook Page for my Business Website?
Ummm… no. While you could use one, there are several reasons why it is not recommended to use a social media page in place of a website for your business:
- Limited Customization: Social media pages like Facebook and Instagram have limited customization options, which means you cannot create an online presence that reflects your business or its brand values. Having an actual website means you can offer unlimited customization options to make your business website do exactly what it needs to do.
- Limited Control: When you use social media as the primary online presence for your business, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that particular platform. These platforms are constantly evolving, which means the way they work and operate can change at any time.
- Lack of Credibility: This is an optics issue… and you will hear me chant over and over again, optics are everything!!! A dedicated business website with a real domain name that doesn’t start with facebook.com, instagram.com, wix.com (more about that one here) conveys professionalism and legitimacy to potential customers.
- Limited Analytics: While some social media platforms offer basic analytics, they are typically limited in comparison to what you can get from a website’s analytics tools. When it comes to real digital marketing, a website allows you to track user behavior, gather insights, and A/B test the hell out of each aspect of your website that not only helps improve the customer experience on your site but also increases sales and profits for your business.
Hire a Professional or Build It on Your Own?
Now, this is the ultimate question and one I encounter often, hence why I wrote this article for you all. While my profession is a website designer and I’m hoping to have you on as a client… I do understand that some of you would like to at least explore the idea of building your business website on your own. I hope to be able to provide you with some pros and cons of both, so you are able to make an informed decision on how you should proceed from here.
Hiring a Professional
- Guaranteed Results: A seasoned professional or agency will have the knowledge and expertise to create a visually appealing business website that is functional, responsive to all devices, secure, optimized for quick page loading and search engines (SEO), and also meets current accessibility standards for people with disabilities (avoiding costly lawsuits).
- Time-Saving: Hiring a professional allows you as the business owner to focus your attention on what you do best, running your business. Any issues regarding your business website that may pop up would be best left to a professional.
- Customization: A professional knows the best available options and plugins to customize your business website to do exactly what your website needs, to best serve your online customers.
- Costly: Hiring a professional can be expensive, especially for small businesses that are trying to keep costs low. This is why many small business owners opt for the cheapest option, which, unfortunately, is the worst possible way to handle this challenge. You can read more about that in my article “The Hidden Costs of Cheap Websites“
- Communication Barrier: Communication issues may arise if the business owner and the web designer do not understand each other’s language or technical jargon. This point speaks to business owners who opt to work with budget-friendly (cheap) business website designers from other countries from websites like Fiverr and Upwork. Also, don’t forget about the time difference… when they are working, you’re sleeping. This may limit communications to 1-2 messages a day at best.
- Dependence on Third-Party Assistance: After your business website is built, it begins to get old, stale, and outdated. Having the ability to easily update your new website is crucial to keeping content fresh and your website listed higher than your competition on search engines. Depending on the designer or agency, you may have to rely on them for website updates, content additions, and platform maintenance… all of which carry additional costs.
Building a Business Website on Your Own
- Cost-Effective: It’s the popular belief that building a business website on your own eliminates the need for paying for professional services. While this one point is absolutely true, however, this argument is a double-edged sword. What is your time worth? I explain more about this argument in my article “The Hidden Costs of Cheap Websites“
- Learning Opportunity: Creating your own website allows you to learn new skills, such as coding and design. If you’re a tech-savvy person and have time to spare… go for it! I absolutely LOVE building websites and have been doing it for almost 30 years. If you have the time and skill to learn, I highly recommend it.
- Independence: You have full control over the website design and content and don’t need to listen to anyone else’s ideas or input. Again, this is a double-edged sword because a professional knows what works where on a business website in order to succeed. They also know all of the industry standards and have access to premium tools that cost hundreds and (sometimes) thousands of dollars to procure for client usage.
- Time-Consuming: Creating your own business website requires time, effort, and some degree of technical know-how. Setting aside the appropriate amount of time can be challenging if you have other responsibilities to make sure your business runs smoothly. Again… what is your time worth?
- Quality Concerns: I say this over and over again… optics are everything! DIY websites usually lack that “professional look” which leads to a poor user experience and page ranking on search engines. If your customers don’t like your website, it won’t get any traffic… ultimately resulting in a waste of your time and effort to build it in the first place. Allow me to refer to that little tidbit about what your time is worth.
- Limited Customization Options: Without prior knowledge of coding languages, it may be difficult to create customized features. You may not know where to turn for additional plugins which unlock powerful features on your business website, and if you do, many of them cost money for a subscription.
Ultimately, building a website on your own entirely depends on personal preference, budgetary constraints, and technical expertise. While anyone can do it… the real question is why?
Finally… an Explanation for the Stupid Photo
I have many sayings that I share with my clients during my free consulting sessions… one of which is “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”
You see, anyone can make their own orange juice. I would simply need to get in my car, run to Walmart, and buy a decent juicer and a couple of bags of oranges. Then, when I get home, I would have to read the instructions, juice all the oranges, and put the freshly squeezed OJ in my fridge until it was nice and cold. But that’s not all. I would still need to wash, dry, and put away the juicer, discard the dozens of orange husks, and finally clean the sticky spilled juice off my nice granite countertops.
When all is said and done… I ended up spending a couple of hundred dollars and wasted hours of time to make something that I could’ve easily purchased at Walmart for about $5. I’m not an orange juice expert, but companies like Minute Maid and Tropicana are. They have gone through the trouble to make and bottle the juice for me. They have had it delivered to my store where it’s then kept nice and chilled, ready for me to consume at my leisure. It already has the right amount of pulp that I like and probably tastes much better than what I can make… I think you get the point.
The lesson here is that the only actual benefit from this scenario was the satisfaction that I made my own orange juice. But…was the juice worth the squeeze? Not for me. I have better things to do with my time.
Is it worth it for you? Only you can answer that question.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I offer free design and marketing advice and am happy will help you to avoid the most common pitfalls associated with identifying the right designer for your business.
Thank you for reading and best of luck on your business journey!