A website designer is the last consideration, in launching a new small business. Be it a traditional / main street or online, there is so much to building a successful business.
Building a successful online business includes things like understanding what your potential customers really want, paid advertisements, and more.
Then add to that taking your business online and having to consider content marketing, sales funnels, conversion optimization, search engine optimization (SEO), and so much more.
All of these take time and dedication to learn and to experiment with.
With the buzz of ‘online’, website design may seem to be the one thing you can control and accomplish now. It’s east too. One simply throws money at a website designer and you get a hot looking website – online presence done with minimal work by you.
When you are just starting out with your business is not the right time to hire website designers. What, after all, is the point of a good design if your business idea fails?
Good design works… but only if your business succeeds.
- A good looking website with a well-designed layout can help you promote your brand, improve your visitors’ experience and increase the confidence of your visitors in your business.
- A beautiful website can make your business look more legitimate.
The question then is: Why would you consider spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a custom website design, before you know that your business can make money?
The right time to spend money and energy on design is when your business is achieving a satisfactory level of success; and after you establish that people will pay you for your products or services – regardless of how your website looks.
Building a long-term, viable business relying purely on the look of your website … your online shop front is not a good strategy.
If that’s your strategy and only competitive edge, you can be sure that someone else will throw even more money at their website to outshine yours.
So don’t invest your start-up capital on something that is not business building. Your business foundation is not reliant on the design of your website. Initially your website design need only be good enough.
Instead, focus your time, energy and money on business building goal orientated tasks, such as:
- Attracting and talking to your potential customers, to understand what problems they really need solving – not what you think they need.
- Developing your products / services to solve their problems.
- Promoting your products / services.
- Learning how to communicate better to engage your target customers.
These are essential elementary tasks and are way more important than how your website looks.
Your website need only function and look good enough, so you can budget more money and time to building your business (instead of your website).
There are ways, without spending much, to have a good looking website that works ‘OK’. A website is after all just a tool.
- Your website is not your business.
- The business’s offering is what can solve the problems of your target customers.
- Your website is just an online shop front, and communication tool.
Ultimately, if you cannot offer a good product or service that can actually solve problems, it doesn’t matter what your website looks like.
Build a Cheap Effective Website Quickly and Easily
Until recently, a website designer or a coder was essential to help you build a website.
To have a good looking and functional website, you no longer have to know how to code, website design, or worry about all the technical back-end headaches.
Online website builders with a broad range of free template designs are now available that allow you to build your first website. These ‘drop and drag’ website builders do have limitations and they can’t do everything to help your website look presentable.
Most of these website builders are free for you to use, and others very affordable. They are quite easy to use. You can even publish your first website in less than a day.
This is far better than hiring a designer for tens or hundreds of thousand of Rands, wondering if you’ve made the right choice, and then waiting 6 weeks or more before you have something published.
They are good enough to build most if not all startup websites. It is absolutely possible to run a successful and mature business with them.
It’s all about managing your risks, especially when you are starting out with a limited budget. As your business develops there is a good chance you may grow out of the drag & drop website builders.
Building A Low Budget Website
In summary using a Drop & Drag website builder makes sense for you if you are in the launch phase of your business, as:-
- You can launch a functional website quickly.
- There is no need to get distracted by technology.
- There is no need to wait weeks or months to have a website up and running.
- You can allocate more of your budget, time and energy to start-up functions such as researching your target market, product development, marketing your products / services, etc.
- You can make changes to your website on the fly, saving budget and without relying on someone else to make those changes.
Here are some website builders to consider:
Wix.com is a cloud-based web development platform that was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company also called Wix. It allows users to create HTML5 web sites and mobile sites through the use of online drag and drop tools. They offer you hundreds of beautifully designed templates that cater to a wide range of industries including eCommerce, photography, music, design, hospitality, restaurants, and more.
This enables you to build a fully functional website without you having to write a single line of code.
Click to see Wix
Weebly is a web-hosting service featuring a drop and drag website builder. The company is headquartered in San Francisco. Weebly is possibly the most user-friendly ‘drop & drag’ website builder in the market today. There user interface is super intuitive, allowing you to learn almost everything about how to use Weebly in less than an hour.
The features and tools they offer are limited though, so better suited to the technologically challenged.
Click to see Weebly
Keep in mind that you can always invest in an improved web design after your new business is established and showing a profit.
When to Engage A Website Designer?
Hiring a website designer is, as discussed earlier, best done after you get your business off the ground… once you achieve a net positive cash flow (profit – surplus after paying all your expenses) and have a well established brand / product.
This doesn’t only make financial sense, but also gives you time to ensure that the website content meets the needs and wants of your customers.
You can decide to hire a professional website designer, once you’re cash flow positive, to improve your website taking the holistic needs of your business into consideration, and ensuring:
- good brand promotion,
- content marketing
- sales funnels
- conversion optimization
- good and correct SEO – Search Engine Optimization
- responsiveness to smart phones and other devices
- improved visitor experience to increase the confidence of your visitors in your business
- and more
A website designer today commonly uses advanced website builders similar to the ‘drop and drag’ options mentioned above.
The benefit of this is that:
- Website designers are generally somewhat cheaper that website developers (who build custom websites)
- You can safely engage freelancers, as you can, should the need arise, change to a new designer without complication
When to Engage A Website Developer?
While most business would never need the services of a website developer, this would generally not happen until your business is well established and you find that a website with special and unique functionality is needed.
A website developer would be essential though, if your business were to specialise and need special coding for the website, or if you required a technical Application (App).
- There are many temptations to focus on things that you can control, such as how your website looks.
- It’s far easier to throw money at a website designer to build an awesome looking website.
- Whether customers will pay for your products and services is determined by whether what you offer can solve a real (their) problem, and not determined by how your website looks.
- If what you offer does not solve a customer real and painful problem, then it will be extremely challenging for you to build a vibrant business – regardless if you have an award winning website design or not.
- Your website is just a tool for your business. Your website is not your business.
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