You’ve incorporated your business, you’ve got a solid business plan, and you’ve got funding. Now comes your website and your online strategy. Where do you go from here?! You hire a pro to build a professional website.
If you are smart, you hire a professional to build your business a professional website and initiate an online strategy. “If you build it, they will come” does NOT hold true on the web. The initial launch of your website is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many pieces that need to work together to make your online presence successful, including online search, social media, and web analytics to name a few. Hire a professional to take care of the heavy lifting on the web, while you concentrate on running the actual business.
Here are some basic rules to get you started:
Rule #1: You get what you pay for
There is no shortage of free website offers out there, look at any of the larger web hosting companies and you can get a template-based “website builder” as part of the hosting package. What you don’t find out until later is that you have no flexibility when it comes to integrating design or tools, and somewhere down the line, probably sooner rather than later, you are going to want to upgrade to something that is full-featured. And that is what they are counting on. You will not want to take the time or energy to move your website and content to another platform, so you will be stuck with paying to upgrade.
Rule #2: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is
A free website built on a proprietary “website builder” will only make you wish, in the near future, that you had a hired a professional. Building a professional website is just the beginning of a very long journey. Once the website is launched there is search engine optimization to get your website found by the major search engines and to make sure your website is speaking to your customers, there is web analytics to track traffic to your website and marketing campaigns, and to realize your return on investment (ROI), there are regular content updates to pages or blog posts to keep your website fresh and relevant, there are inward links and outward links that need to be cultivated and nurtured, there is administration and maintenance to ensure that your website is secure and safe for your visitors, and there is social media integration and interaction that has become a way of life for marketing and promotion on the web. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
Rule #3: You will be sorry that you didn’t hire a professional
I can work on my car, but I would never call myself a mechanic. I can mow my lawn and trim my shrubs, but I would never call myself a landscaper. I can sing in the shower, but I would never call myself a singer. OK, maybe that last one is a bit overboard, but the point is clear. Hiring a web designer or developer is going to give your business a better website than you could ever produce. Sure you can create one, and sure it is going to be ok. But will it truly be successful or professional? You deserve better. Your business deserves better. A professional website is an investment on the future of your business. There is an old saying, and it holds true for web design, do it right the first time and you won’t have to do it again. Hire a professional web designer to set you on the path to web nirvana. You won’t be sorry. Mark my words.