All growing businesses face the inevitable at some point -- a website project! Your website is your digital foundation. It’s key to driving revenue growth, lead generation and employee recruitment in today’s online world.
Add into the mix a pandemic that literally changed the world - how we interact, work and conduct business. This means: Your Website Must Change Too!
If your company website looks and reads the same as it did at the beginning of 2020, you are due for an update. Why? Because ...
Not all websites are created equal. And that doesn’t just mean some are better-designed than others. There are several other elements behind what you see on the screen.
The execution of these elements, as well as the “pretty,” is what can take a website from sub-par performance to becoming a high-performing extension of your sales team that also ranks well in Google. Let’s break down what these elements are in five categories:
During the 2000s, and even into the early 2010s, a business’ website often took on the look and function of an electronic brochure.
E-commerce websites aside, they existed to provide basic information about a company and often mimicked the content of their printed counterparts. If a point of contact was provided beyond a standard email and telephone number, it often was a contact form that sent a generic email to someone at the organization.
Website designers were primarily focused on making these sites look pretty. (Although, if we’re being honest, many were still cringe-worthy.)
Maybe this sounds like your current website. You’d be surprised how many companies have websites that look great and were recently redesigned, but have no strategic alignment whatsoever. They fail to drive leads, revenue and company growth and remain a largely useless piece in the marketing stack.
If you want to make the most out of your investment in a website, you need to approach your next website as a strategic corporate asset.
There should be goals tied specifically to your website. These goals should dictate a well-thought-out strategy that influences every aspect of the website redesign. From colors and font choices to the placement of call-to-action buttons, each part of the website should offer a positive user experience and, in some way, make an impact on those goals.
Your website is your No. 1 online asset -- especially as the world moves to more and more virtual events, interactions and buying experiences.
The majority of your prospects are online every day, and if you’re failing to put your best foot forward, you will fall behind your competitors.
That’s why it’s so important to look at your website as an investment. And it’s not just an investment that you make every 5-10 years when you think it’s time for a fresh look. Instead, you should see website improvements and updates as part of your annual budget to help reach your business goals.
Your website should be developed for flexibility and company growth. By positioning your website as an evolving system focused on user behavior, you will ensure that it will continue to meet your needs over the years.
An effective website is one that can prove through data that it is generating traffic, converting traffic to marketing and sales qualified leads, driving company growth and increasing ROI.
If your current website is not doing all of these things, then you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity in today’s digital world.
Consider the absurdity of asking “How much does it cost to build or renovate a house?” Such a question raises more questions than it answers. The size of the house, the quality of materials, the location of the build and the builders who were chosen all have an impact on the final number (along with hundreds of other considerations).
A website proposal is no different. Some factors that can contribute to a difference in cost include the number of pages on the website, the platform the website is built on, a template vs. custom development, the number of lead-generating forms it includes and whether you are building a new site or renovating the existing one.
Think of your website as an asset and extension of your sales and marketing teams. Your website does not clock out at the end of the day. It is literally working for you 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
When considering it in this light, it’s worth noting how much you’d expect to pay another sales rep annually. And if you want your website to help achieve company goals similar to a sales rep, you can expect to set aside a similar yearly budget.
With all that being said, costs may range anywhere from $1,500 on the lower end to upwards of $100k+ for a robust site. There is no set number for what a website should cost, and there is no “industry standard.”
The final number depends on your objective, your budget, your goals, the ROI you hope to achieve, the size of the website, the quality of the agency or developer you choose and more.
Do you completely tear your website down and build it back from the ground up? Can you patch and repair cracks and broken pieces? It’s a tough decision and a lot plays into the answer - design, user experience, SEO, the CMS platform, and of course, costs.
One of the foundational elements that can dictate the cost and user experience is how your website is built. Using a template will cut down on development time and cost; however, it will not have the capabilities of a custom site.
Here are a few key points to help you narrow in on what may be best for your new site:
Template sites begin with a premade template already built. This template can then be used as the starting point for various sites.
Developers place your logo, brand colors, copy and images into the template to make it unique to your brand. Most of the time on the project is spent adding content and styling individual pages vs. building pages from scratch with custom development. This significantly reduces development time and cost.
The downside can be in the template, you use as some templates are better than others. Watch out for templates built on shoddy code, which will only cause more problems than fixes. Also, stay away from templates that are very limited as they will be difficult to manipulate to fit your brand and needs.
If you do pursue a template site, work with a website agency or professional developer who has recommended templates they know are good to use or who can assess what you have picked out.
Custom-built websites are built specifically for your business, making them truly unique to you. They are often built upon a framework or theme that has been stripped down so that the only code the developer starts with is the bare bones to make that website function.
From there, it is built entirely based upon your organization's needs and usually mimics a custom mockup that has been designed and presented to you. As you can guess, there is a significant time investment during the development phase of a custom-built website project.
While you may see this as more dollar signs, you can rest assured knowing that a custom-built website is tailored specifically to your needs. If done by a reputable agency, it will also load quickly, present the best user experience and make the search engines happy.
Ready to get the ball rolling? We recommend getting a few website proposals to compare. Just note that website proposals can vary widely, making it difficult to compare apples to apples.
Therefore, when evaluating website proposals or vetting website agencies, here are few things to consider:
Just like in any industry, not all companies are created equal. Remember, your website should be an investment and should be working to help you meet your goals. The days of building a “set it and forget it” website are gone. If you hope to remain competitive, it’s time you up your game.
They should be well-versed on industry trends and best practices. Ask them to provide examples of sites they’ve recently completed and ask where they draw their inspiration. Do they regularly look at well-designed sites by other designers? Do they follow industry blogs? How long have they been designing and developing sites?
Your agency or assigned web team should clearly communicate that they understand your expectations, keep you abreast of a realistic timeline and be readily available for questions.
They should not be an order-taker. They should come to the table with strategic plans and creative ideas, and they should use data to back their decisions. What your organization really needs is a partnership to help launch and manage the most important aspect of your digital presence. Make sure you can see yourself collaborating with them!
Consider the significant benefits you will gain by employing an agency that truly understands digital marketing and will consider strategy first. A developer that works alone may come at a much cheaper price tag, but chances are high that they won’t have the full understanding of digital marketing. Their expertise lies in design and development. A full agency team, on the other hand, brings knowledge in not only design and development, but also copywriting, search engine optimization, social media marketing and more.
"Our website was old, was outdated ...
the challenge, for us, was 'can we afford a new website?' "
At Marketing Essentials, we’re a digital marketing and sales agency with seasoned team members who are results-driven and focused on our client’s bottom line. We invite you to set up a free consultation with our digital experts to discuss how your website can drive company growth today and into the future.