Websites. No business should be without one. Yet there are many business owners who haven’t made the decision to put one up, or those who feel they aren’t getting the results they expected when they did.
It’s certainly not a myth that the digital landscape can be difficult to navigate, especially if it’s not something you do every day. However, as professionals in the space, we’ve come across some common myths we’d like to explore with you. In this post we’ll cover eight:
- Once it’s up visitors will come
- Customers can find it on Google right away
- It can be built for free
- Hiring a developer or agency is too expensive
- You only need to build it once
- Only people who sell things online need a website
- If it looks good it will get more sales
- I can use my social media page instead
Whether you’re thinking about getting a website for your business or feel like your current website isn’t performing as well as you’d like, we hope you find this helpful in figuring out the next steps toward building an online presence.
1. Once it’s up, visitors will come
Visitors aren’t going to flock to a website simply because it’s there. Once your website is built, you need to build your audience.
Let others know where to find it and why they should visit by:
- telling current customers or clients about it
- including it on business cards and stationery
- networking online and adding it to social media profiles
- creating engaging content on your own website
- writing a guest article on more established websites
In fact, even Google won’t know about your website right away which brings us to the next myth.
2. Customers can find it on Google right away
Having a website that shows up on the first page of Google takes some time. Search engines need to be able to locate and access the pages of a website so they can “index” them. Pages with keywords matching what was typed into the search engine will show as a result, however, only the pages of better quality, relevance, or “ranking” will show on the first page.
Websites that are too new likely haven’t been discovered by search engines yet.
Sometimes it’s a matter of being in a highly competitive space as well. It would be beneficial to look into a good content strategy to help with that, but that’s a whole separate post.
3. It can be built for free
This is true if you’re a web designer / developer already.
While it might be enticing to sign up and learn how to use a website builder for free, consider the time invested into the trial and error, troubleshooting and experimenting. That’s either going to take away from your business or your personal time.
Not to mention you will have to put time into the graphics, content, and navigation. Those who sell items from their site will also have to consider building a shopping cart and messenger feature that most platforms don’t offer for free.
As one of our own developers puts it “pre-made themes, templates, or website builders may seem quick or easy, but most are built with bloated and convoluted code bases that take a toll on the website’s speed and create problems for future development / expansion. We design and develop our websites and themes from scratch to ensure they are clean, lean, and as fast as possible.”
4. Hiring a developer or agency is too expensive
Often the reason business owners try and build a site on their own or simply go without is the thought that it’s going to be expensive.
Consider the point above in myth #3. Think about how much time you would spend doing it yourself and now think of that in terms of billable hours. After all, that’s time you could be spending serving your customers (or recharging in order to serve them better). An experienced web developer won’t need all that time to learn. It’s what they do.
Sure, there may be somebody who offers a bargain, but it could end up costing more if it isn’t done right in the first place.
5. You only need to build it once
Think of a website much like a living document. It’s continually edited and updated as your business makes changes, trends change, products and services change, promotions are run etc… It’s true some websites are more static, but that depends on what the goals are. They still need some maintenance.
It’s a good idea to look at your website monthly or quarterly. Check if there are any areas for improvement or if there are outdated items to be removed.
6. Only people who sell things online need a website
Websites aren’t only for eCommerce businesses who sell products and services online.
In late 2018, the Retail Council of Canada released a white paper that gave insight on consumer behaviour. Some key findings were that Canadian consumers are well-informed and spend more time than ever researching products before purchasing online or in-store. Not only are they looking at the product, service, and pricing, but they are also looking into the business they will purchase from.
Websites not only help attract new business, but they also give customers the chance to see the benefits of choosing a product or service in the research stage of the purchasing process. While word of mouth is helpful, especially in a small-town setting, businesses without a website may lose potential customers to a competitor who decides to establish an online presence.
7. If it looks good it will get more sales
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. At 30pt Design Inc. we like to keep things simple, clean, and easy to navigate. Of course we want websites to look good, but we don’t need a ton of distracting features and animations in order to provide value to customers or clients. Not only are they distracting, but they can also slow down the speed of your website, and create unnecessary costs.
The goal of building a website is to build it with your ideal customer in mind. What do they want to know about your product or service? How can they easily find that information? Is there any added value you can provide such as a blog or simple FAQ?
High quality photos, a clean design, and quality content will go a long way. Special effects and animations usually aren’t the answer.
8. I can use my social media page instead
Social media is a great tool for you business to use, however, it doesn’t replace having your very own website.
Even though you create your own social media accounts and fill them with your content, you don’t technically own those pages. They belong to the platform. If you lose access to your account, get banned, or the platform decides to close – your internet presence would be gone with it.
Having your own website allows you to build trust with your customers using your own content. There’s no limit to how many characters you can include in your “about us”, you can include reviews from customers who aren’t on social media, and include all the ways to contact your business. Plus, customers without a social media account will be able to view the information as well.
Social media is a great tool to help drive traffic to your website by getting in front of your customers where they are, but it doesn’t replace having a website.
Building a website is definitely not easy, but you don’t have to do it on your own. An experienced web developer can help you get started or take a look at your current website to look for areas of improvement. Of course, we’re a web development firm, so feel free to contact us when shopping around to find the right fit!
In our next article, we’ll cover questions you should ask your freelance web developer or web agency when looking to hire one. Even though they aren’t your employee, it’s much like making any other hire in that you want it to be a good fit for both parties.