Business websites are a waste of money.
That’s what many business owners tell me.
Polite and careful questioning elicits the experiences underpinning this belief.
‘I paid a fortune for a website and it doesn’t appear anywhere in the search engines’
‘My business website disappeared from the front page of Google’
‘My website looks dreadful on my daughter’s iPad’
‘I haven’t made a single sale from our business website, if you don’t count my Mum buying something to make sure it was all working’
Understanding Business Websites
It’s experiences like these that make business websites a ‘grudge’ purchase. Business Owners agree to engage a Web designer to build a website without engaging in the process.
Missing from the sales and purchase discussions is the fact that business websites are living and breathing things.
A business website is not something you build and leave. You can do that, but it’s the same as having a batch of beautiful brochures printed and then putting them in their box in the cupboard under the stairs. You wouldn’t do that. You’d hand those brochures out.
In much the same way your website needs to be ‘handed round’.
A Business Website is an INVESTMENT, not a cost
Business Websites and Search Engines
Search engines constantly look for the most up to date and most relevant answers for those searching on their sites.
Google isn’t going to be in a rush to list any website that hasn’t been updated for months.
It’s a little like offering out-of-date cake to your Mother when she comes round for tea……it may still be OK to eat, but who knows?
The Internet has been with us for a very short time (relatively speaking) and in that short time it has changed, developed and grown.
What looked good, worked well and found you lots of traffic 6 months ago, often no longer works now.
Your business website has to continually change, develop and grow if it is to work for you.
Maintaining Business Websites
If you are not going to maintain your business website, keep the content updated and fresh, update the look and feel on a regular basis and join in the social media conversations that are relevant to your goods or services, you are probably right: business websites are a waste of money.
Budget for the cost of ongoing maintenance when you commission a website project. I don’t mean hosting – that’s another ongoing cost. I mean tending to the actual website:
– regularly updating all software – hackers quickly identify and exploit vulnerabilities in outdated code.
– taking regular backups and store them in a separate location from your website files.
– regularly updating content, which will usually involve doing some market research so you can see what your market is talking about.
– scanning and monitoring your site for malware and uptime.
– attending to the database housekeeping (if your site is built on any one of the popular CMSs around).
– house-keeping client comments and responding where appropriate.
– checking for broken links and fixing them.
– analysing analytics reports so you know how to improve your content in the next cycle of updates.
– doing all the things the search engines expect you to do (currently) if they are to list you on their front pages.
Many business owners don’t understand what it takes to keep business websites ‘alive’. They resent the ongoing costs of maintaining a website as often these haven’t been explained up front. It’s a struggle for them to find the time to do things for themselves. Eventually they come to the conclusion that having a business website is a waste of time and money.
This Guy Gets It!
Compare this experience to the business owner who understands from the word go that his new website is going to need almost daily attention:
– receiving weekly or monthly reports on traffic, keywords, bounce rates and other key metrics so he can constantly improve his site and make it relevant.
– appreciating that a high percentage of his Web visitors now use mobile devices – he has the proof in his weekly reports – so he doesn’t resent the cost of ensuring his business website design is fully responsive to whatever device it is viewed upon.
– participating on the relevant social media sites and he monitors these so he can listen in to the conversations that are already happening about his market sector. He joins in those conversations – but not in a pushy ‘Here I am’ way. He understands the etiquette of participating in such sites.
– budgets for Web activities.
This business owner knows that business websites are not a waste of money!
He has traffic and sales to prove it.