These days, the pressure is on for businesses to build and operate a website.
Everywhere you turn, there are content pieces, news articles and statistical reports telling business owners how much they need to represent their organisations online.
But is it really enough simply to download a website builder tool and launch an online presence?
How do you know your website is really working for you?
Too many businesses simply pay lip service to the idea of having a website. Yes, their business is represented online, and yes, their customers can find this web presence if they look for it, but it’s difficult to know just how much benefit this website provides.
The question is a simple one — is your website an expense or an investment?
Let’s define what we mean here. Of course, all websites require an element of expense. Website builder tools and management agencies are not free, nor are design services, SEO packages, and other key elements to running pages on the internet. But this will all be worthwhile if the website is delivering a solid rate of return — in other words, whether or not the website is doing what it is supposed to do.
To get the most out of your website project — whether you or improving your website or creating a new one — you need to ensure that your project is an investment, not a simple expense with no return.
Common problems business owners face
If you are struggling to decide whether your website is pulling its weight or dragging you under, you’re certainly not alone. There are a number of different issues and obstacles that are causing headaches for businesses in the digital sphere. Take a look at some of the most common problems we have encountered with our own clients.
Representing the brand
Your website needs to be a positive reflection of your brand. You may have a great website, with lots of fantastic features for your customers to enjoy, but if they are not connecting these features with your brand, something is wrong. Achieving consistent branding across all of your marketing materials, including your website, can be difficult to achieve. What’s more, this can harm your ROI.
Supporting user experience
User experience is something you cannot afford to ignore when building your website. You need to ensure that your users are able to find exactly what they need, or you may not achieve your expected returns. As many as 61% of users say they will head to a different website if they cannot find what they need quickly, underlining just how important this is.
Transitioning from traditional to digital approaches
You already have traditional marketing and promotion strategies in place, but how to translate these to a digital environment? This is something that many business owners find difficult.
Failing to find a balance
Your users expect great features and a multimedia-rich experience from your website. However, this cannot come at the cost of performance. For eCommerce websites, a loading time of above two seconds could result in lost customers and lost revenue, so finding a balance between features and performance is crucial.
Websites are not designed to be static. Instead, they need to grow in order to meet the evolving needs of your business. At the very least, they need maintenance and care if they are to continue performing at their best in the long term.
Is your website a liability or an investment?
Whether your website is an expensive liability or a shrewd investment really depends on how you plan to use it. A well-designed, fully functioning website is certainly in the latter category, as it provides a channel for customers to connect with your products, as well as a round-the-clock promotional tool that increases your scope and reach.
On the other hand, if your site is poorly developed and gives a bad experience, the opposite is true. In this case, any money you spend on your website is wasted, and it becomes a liability.
How to make sure your website is a good investment?
The truth of the matter is this — you do need a website, but you need to make sure that it is truly working for you. If you put the time in, you will find that your investment really begins to pay off.
But how exactly do you do this?
Plan your website
What do you want to achieve from your website? Do you want to make eCommerce your main source of revenue? Or would you prefer to provide support and guidance to your customers through content so they can get more out of your products?
In most cases, your desired outcomes will be a mixture of the two, but you still need to plan the results you want to see. Consider your metrics too — how you will recognise success from your website.
Create a strategy
Next comes your strategy. How will you go about achieving these outcomes? What increments will you use to measure your progress? Which teams and team members will be in charge of the different aspects of your website?
This strategy is likely to be flexible, changing over time to meet different needs as they arise. However, you should still test and hone your strategy to make sure it is the best it can be before you begin.
Perform market research
Market research provides you with the knowledge you need to make your website truly great. Remember, you are creating a website for your customers to engage with, not simply because you feel your brand needs one. Take the time to find out what your customers really want to see, and then put this data to work.
This approach will help you to put your customers first when you build your website. Aim to identify any points of friction or problems within their current experience, and then position your business as the solution to those problems. As you grow your understanding of what your customers want and expect, you’ll find it easy to grow your website and add great features and functionality.
Take care of it
Website maintenance is an ongoing concern. Not only does your website need to grow over time, but you will also need to carry out regular maintenance and repairs to ensure it remains in the best possible working order. If your website structure begins to decay or fall apart, your user experience is going to suffer.
Many businesses find it difficult to handle this ongoing maintenance on an in-house basis. They may lack the time or resources necessary to carry this out. This is why the services of website management agencies are so valuable to modern business owners, as they find that this outsourcing option is more cost-effective.
Get more from your website with a website management agency.
Let us help you make sure that your website is an investment rather than simply an expense. Reach out to our team and learn more about the website management agency services we offer, as well as the website design and build process we leverage on the way to crafting a winning website for your organisation.