A friend of mine recently asked me to give her an estimate for a sharing economy app idea that she had and she wanted to know roughly how much it would cost. I gave her an estimate and she is now in the process of designing her web site from SOMEONE ELSE. SMH
I guess it holds true that you should not do your job so well that you are no longer needed holds true but I am glad I was able to help. One thing that is still quite surprising though was that in the course of researching her project, I notice how few small businesses actually have web sites and even more surprising how many small businesses have poorly designed web sites. The typical formula seems to be to give the job to a tech person and have them write the web site content including the entire copy. The results are usually blood curdling as American restaurants have web site content written in India and the grammar, spelling and cultural mistakes are so obvious that the web site likely loses business rather than create a good impression. In this post, I will argue two contrary points; why creating your own web site yourself is a bad idea and why you should definitely do it (at least at first).
Where To Start
When starting to research, you will probably Google, “how to create a web site” and you will be off to the races. For the next month or so, your Google ads, YouTube ads and even Facebook ads will all be sponsored from Wix, GoDaddy or other website providers. You might even see a small business sponsored ad on Facebook offering you to help create your web site. I recommend start with a free (Yes FREE) web site builder such as Wix or GoDaddy and start writing the web site content yourself. You will find plenty of content ideas from your Googling so go ahead, GIYF. You will be overwhelmed but remember, that is the point. It is a bad idea to create your website yourself but there is a method to the madness I am recommending.
When creating a website, you will come across a bevy of technical terms that will throw you for a loop.. What is Search engine optimization? What is mobile first? Who is bootstrap? Go ahead, read through some of the content on these topics. You cannot be expected to be an expert on these technical topics. However, your cursory understanding will give you an insight in to why a website is such an important part of your branding and how an online presence is no longer optional even for a small business.
Since you are using a hosted solution, you can start by writing your website in an online editor. The most beginner friendly one I have found is Wix. The reason you should write the web site copy yourself is that you will get exposed to these technological term while writing and you will be forced to learn about these technologies such as SEO. You will feel overwhelmed but that is the point. It will come together in the end.
While creating your website, you will need to write content writing for your site which is not the easiest task. Any self guided blog post you read about creating a website for your bossiness will give you some place to start but once you try writing an about us page, company mission etc, you will get writers block. You must go through this gauntlet to come out the other end have an appreciation of what you want to communicate about your business. What this will help you do is clearly articulate the value proposition of your business and what you bring to the customer. What this will also do is it will help you organize your thoughts before handing it to a pro. You will make mistakes with your copy but that is ok as you must start somewhere.
Do your manufacture widgets? Great but you know nothing about technology? Even better. This will be your first exposure to technology. If you and your business are good at making widgets, you should focus on your core task that brings home the bacon and not be bogged down by technology even as simple a task as a web site should be outsourced. But then why am I recommending that you do it regardless? Because you will soon learn that in the modern, technology is not a non core task. It is almost as core as manufacturing widgets. Do you know about social media marketing? Do you know about yelp and yelp reviews? Do you know about Facebook and pages? If you don’t, you are behind the times. It is quite surprising to me how many small business owners don’t keep tabs on what customers are saying about their business. Writing your web site will help you get educated on all these topics.
Once you have at-least a starter template, you can then hire a pro.
Hire and Pro
Now, that you have gone through the gauntlet, do hit me up 🙂
No really, hire a pro so that they can help you with site design, content creation, online marketing and even legal compliance. Since you will have struggled with doing this yourself first, not only will you know that pros bring lots of values to the table, you will also be able to contribute positively to creating an online presence for your business.
That’s it folks. Let me know if you need help designing a web site.