Are you wondering if you can really get a decent website at GoDaddy for $1 a month? How about a SquareSpace website for $16 a month?
As a marketing consultant and graphic designer (who has been building websites for over a decade), I know that these offers really are too good to be true. In case you are still pondering this, here are four questions to consider:
- How much free time do you have?
- Do you enjoy learning about technology?
- How much do you know about marketing?
- Are you OK with a less-than-stellar website design?
Question 1: How much free time do you have?
Planning, building and launching a small website takes us a minimum of 3-5 full days. If you add in the time it will take for you to learn the platform and a little web coding, your website build can become a multi-week project that in the end, may not be a good investment of your time. A customer of mine recently told me she literally shed tears trying to get her Weebly site up. She is a very talented biotech PR consultant and is happy to have us taking care of her web projects now, so she can do the work she enjoys, and not fight with her Weebly site any longer.
Question 2: Do you enjoy learning about technology?
A big part of the build-your-own-website challenge is investing the time to learn about technology. Here are a few technical issues you will need to address:
- Choosing a CMS platform (WordPress? Concrete? SquareSpace?)
- Understanding the basics of HTML and CSS code
- Pointing your domain name to your web files
- Integrating, categorizing and tagging your blog posts
- Making sure your website looks great on mobile platforms
- Choosing your email service provider
- Setting up your email capture and auto-sequences
- Figuring out how to update your website software
- Figuring out a reliable way to backup your website
- Linking to your social channels
Setting aside all of these pesky technology and time issues, It’s worth reviewing the basics of good design: your website needs to do four things really well:
- Attract lots of ideal prospects to your site
- Clearly explain the services you offer
- Explain how you are uniquely qualified to deliver these services
- Convert visitors into paying clients
Question 3: How much do you know about marketing
With these best practices in mind, how much do you know about the basics of marketing strategy?
- How will you differentiate your business from your competition?
- How will you attract prospects to your website?
- What content (and how much?) should you include on your home page?
- What topics should you write about in your blog?
- How will prospects know you are qualified?
- How will you make your site SEO-friendly?
- When a prospect finds you, what are they supposed to do?
- How does your website support your overall marketing plan?
Personally, I think WordPress is the best choice of CMS platform. Here’s why:
- WordPress is open-source. This means that it isn’t privately owned and can’t go out of business like Weebly, Wix, or SquareSpace.
- WordPress is beautifully designed and crafted, and is always being further enhanced.
- WordPress makes updating websites really easy.
- Out-of-the-box, WordPress is SEO-friendly (which means more sales leads for you).
- WordPress can continue to expand to serve new functional requirements.
Question 4: Are you OK with a less-than-stellar website design?
Your website represents you and your company when you are not in the room. I cringe when I see amateur-looking websites from professionals I know and love. These sites are not serving them! Think about it this way — do you want your website to look like the Dollar Store or Nordstrom? If you aspire to grow revenue, increase your rates, or attract a higher-level client base, investing in a professional design can really pay off and help you compete in a crowded market of similar-sounding consulting services.
Even though the Super Bowl ads offer websites for pennies, this isn’t a good investment for a serious business. If you are billing over $800 a day (or aspire to), you would be far better off hiring a pro to help you build your next consulting services website.
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