I get it. Everyone needs to find places to save money in their business. Every day I look at how we can decrease spending. It’s not easy determining where to “cut corners” or to go without something you may truly need. In hind sight there are areas I’ve learned to never cut corners and to invest in what we need to be successful.
All too often in my line of helping others, we see and hear prospects and clients look to cut corners. Sometimes it’s a negotiation tactic; often it’s in an effort to manage their cash-flow. I (meaning my team and I) help clients build websites and generate leads online. An area of business that is often undervalued and overlooked.
Now this post is not for the companies that have $100K+ budgets set aside for their website and marketing. You already know that you need to hire an agency; and why. You also understand the value of your web site (We’ll talk later)…
This is for the start-ups and small businesses marking under $1M/ year in revenue. I know this seems like a huge margin; but these are the folks who struggle with this decision most, the decision to hire an agency vs. getting your “nephew” to build it for “free”.
Your “nephew” is the term we’ll use to describe whomever that person is that can do it for you for “free”. Why is free in quotes; well the truth is that getting your nephew to build your website is going to cost more than you think.
You see, there’s so much more than you know that goes into building a good website. Typically more than one individual can know or do alone. This is very similar to building a car that’s safe to take on the road.
I had the privileged of working on the assembly line for Ford Motor Company, when they were in Norfolk, VA. In a single night we’d build 500 trucks. The F-150 specifically. I was a part-time employee (I worked Mondays and Fridays).
My job was to give the full time guys and gals a break from their regular job (the work could be very hard on your body) so they could potentially do an easier job. This required me to learn how to do between 10 – 20 different jobs throughout the plant while I was there. Each job could add 1- 5 parts to each truck.
Now, even though I knew how to install 10-50 parts on a truck and watched dozens of other jobs, I still can’t build or repair a truck on my own. I know what most of the parts are and even where many of them go, but there are way too many parts and things to do it on my own.
I know this is an analogy and you’re probably saying that websites don’t have as many parts and things as those trucks you worked on. You’re right, but there are still way too many parts for anyone person to good at them all.
There are so many things that need to be done and somethings need to be considered at every step of building a website, not only at the beginning or or afterwards.
On Page SEO should be considered all throughout the process of building a website. Understanding keyword, I man truly understanding them, is a task on its own. A Hint: keywords are not the words you want to be found for in the search engines; they are the words and phrases people use to find a solution to their needs. An SEO expert will know what to look out for and can guide you throughout the entire web design process.
Information Architecture seems to be an overlooked practice by many nephews and freelancers. (If they are even aware of it). Knowing how to weigh and structure your content is key. After all people are searching for content, right? They don’t want to find your website, they want to find solutions.
Writing content is an art. To be honest, you should hire a content writer for this. It’s a very specific skill that is not often done well by strategist, designers and programmers. We have a team of writers we work with to create content.
Now that you’ve nailed down the content, you can start designing how the site will look. Yes, after the content is written. A site should be built around the content. Again, people search for content, not designs. So, we shouldn’t force content to fit into a design.
Knowing how to design a site is much more than making it look pretty. Drafting wire-frames and user flow can be tricky, but necessary if you want to build a successful site. Would you build a house without a blue print? Then why would you build a web site, your best salesperson and greatest marketing asset, without a plan? It’s amazing how many people just pick the pretty template and jam and force their content into it.
We also often hear terms like UI/UX when it comes to design. How will the user interact with your site? Understanding how people interact with technology is huge today, considering all the devices people use. How Huge? Over 1/3 of the planet (More than 65% of adults in the US) have smartphones. More than 70% of smartphone users search on mobile before they search on any other device.
I could go on and on about design and how it should take into consideration call-to-actions, landing pages, optimization (not SEO) and conversion. This is after we discussed the brand and things like tone, texture, balance, contrast and all the other things graphic/web designers go to school for.
Now without going much deeper into all the development and other roles involved in building a website, do you really think your “nephew” can handle it all on their own and do each part well?
Remember I said, “Getting your nephew to build your website is going to cost more than you think”. (I did copy and paste that btw). Well it’s going to cost you countless new visitors who will never find your site, visitors that never convert, visitors that never return, and ultimately an unknown number of customers who never hire you. How much revenue can you afford to miss out on?
I know it seems very doom and gloom, but it’s true. With all of that on the line, is your website something you should entrust to your “nephew”?
If you say yes, then you’ve found a unicorn. Shoot me his contact info so I can hire him.
If your answer is no, then you should reach out to an agency that has a team of folks working to build you the best possible site for your business today.
We’d love to help you if you’d give us the opportunity. Stop by www.eternalworks.com