Economy is essential to every successful business marketing plan and you want to apply the same analysis to your website design. If you’re not careful however, your website can turn from a marketing tool to a business drain. It’s important to keep in mind that as your business grows your website may need to change to account for new products services or features for instant you may want to consider whether or not you want to have a client access portal or members only content.
Here are the most important pitfalls to avoid in order to guarantee your web initiative’s long term success.
Pitfall-1: Free Domain Names:
Getting a free domain name may seem like the most logical solution for your new business website… however, this will turn out to be an unforgiving mistake which will cripple your business in the near future. There are few things to keep in mind when registering a domain name. First and foremost, your goal is and always should be, “owning your own domain name”. This is especially important, because domain names appreciate throughout time as you drive more traffic to them through marketing. Domain registrars know this, and they intentionally want to shove a free domain in your shopping cart when you’re looking to build a website. For example: a domain name which costs $12.95/per year, will end up costing about $10,000 in 5-8 years depending on the aggressiveness of your marketing strategy. It might even be more… therefore, if you receive a free domain with your website builder package, this means you are literally promoting someone else’s domain name, and if you even decide to move away from that specific service provider, they will certainly have you purchase that domain with the “appraised” price. Since a lot of businesses are on-line dependent and can’t afford losing the name of their company on the internet, they are forced to absorb the costs of these unethical practices presented by companies who do not have a genuine interest in helping you succeed in your venture. Having this in mind, always purchase your domain name. It will cost you less in the long run.
Pitfall-2: Builder Websites
Often times, business owners will try to cut few corners here and there to make their dollar stretch a little further in order to accomplish everything they have sketched out on their business checklist. However, your business website should be the last item on your checklist, if at all to get the “short corner treatment”. A prime example of this common mistake is the “builder website” technology which you see advertised all over the internet. Let’s first talk about the importance of having standard web technologies and why it is important. As you already may know… there are many different programming and server side languages which drive websites. In addition to this, there are also independent components which work based on these technologies and languages. Moreover, 99.9% of the “Business Class Web Engines”, such as Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, Magento, etc. work on standard programming languages and on servers which are configured based on industry standards. Matter of fact, these web-engines also get updates and patches through these standard technologies, as they are streamlined and benchmarked throughout the entire world. That is the beauty of the Internet.
Having this in mind, when Hosting Service providers offer the “Builder Website Technologies”, it may sound like a great deal at the time with a FREE domain name. In reality, it’s the worst thing that can happen to a business owner. The reason being is that these builder technologies do not comply with any internet standards at any point in time. They are virtual custom developed and uncertified environments which are “Pre-Programmed” by the lowest bidder at the hosting company to make the average consumer’s experience just a little easier in a sense of giving them the “necessary” tools to build their own website and taking their money upfront without consultation. In actuality, there is nothing to “own” in these builder sites. They are obsolete pages of code from the moment the site goes live. The site which gets build through these systems are pretty much useless in the future, as the option to hire a developer to develop custom functionality goes out of the window, which means you are stuck with 1 website with the limited functionality for the lifespan of your business as developers can’t help you with these systems at any point in time. Unless however, you decide to get a custom website from another hosting company, and realize that it will not only cost you as much as a brand new website due to the fact that you can’t transfer the “builder website’s” files over to another system as they only work with 1 vendor, but also the fact that you do not own your own domain name either, which we discussed in the previous segment above. What does this mean for you as a business owner? It literally means you will need to start the entire development and registration process all over again. You will also end up buying your current domain name from your current registrar for the appraised (inflated) value, and hire a developer to build you a brand new site which can withstand updates, upgrades and at the same time be an industry standard. If this is the case indeed… you have not only lost all your marketing effort for your previous site, but now you also ended up buying a domain name for thousands of dollars which you helped promote in the first place. As you can see… cutting corners when it comes to owning a business website does not pay off at all. In actuality, having the right technology from the start will actually cost you less in the long run.
Pitfall-3: Lack of planning
By not planning for the future you may end up selecting the wrong platform for your business. For instance if you use a company specific tool to create a website it may make it difficult to hire developers in the future when you want to add new features and you might not be able to migrate your website if you select a different web hosting service.
For an accurate estimate of your website development project, make sure there is room in your budget to account for unexpected events or problems that can occur after your website goes live. Key questions to consider include:
- How will additional information, such as news, be added to the site?
- Who will customers contact if a link or feature is broken?
- What process will be used if a customer reports a coupon code doesn’t work? Or worse, transactions are calculating incorrectly?
- How much will it cost if any of these events occur?
- Does it make sense to hire IT personnel or to outsource? How quickly can these problems be resolved?
Think about where you want your website to be in the future when determining which platform to use design website this will allow you the option to develop these features in the future without having to completely redesign your website, which can be costly and time consuming.
Pitfall-4: Not providing enough budget for maintenance
The old adage "you can’t get something for nothing" best describes Web management. "The biggest problem we see in web retailing is the fact that retailers don’t budget enough for maintenance". The site’s content has to be kept current and its links updated, and its look appealing. Money has to be spent on a continuing basis to support the site’s technical, logistical and marketing functions. Therefore, having this in mind, The Loan Consultants, Inc. provides you with lifetime website and I.T. support to make sure you’re 100% functional at any given time. We even help you plan and setup your site for the future.
Pitfall-5: Thinking small, looking small
You may be running your growing small business from your spare bedroom, but your customers don’t need to know that. You should constantly evaluate your website vs. larger competitors. With web tools and design services, there’s no reason your site can’t be as polished as your competitors.
Pitfall-6: Failure to hire a professional designer
While it may be tempting to let your neighbor’s computer savvy son build your website, I would be very cautious when the matter comes down to your Business Website. When some people hear “professional designer and developer,” they automatically think they won’t be able to afford it. Yet, there are reasonably priced web designers and developers or web service companies who offer assistance or customized services to give your website a professional look and feel from the very beginning at an affordable price.
Pitfall-7: Getting personal
This is a big one! We can’t tell you how many small businesses make the mistake of posting family photos on their websites. This is a huge no, no. By committing this grave Web sin, you have branded yourself as an amateur and you run the risk of swaying users to visit more professional looking competitor sites. Save the baby photos and details of your favorite golf club for a personal website and keep your business site all Business! Again, with the right design and a little effort, there’s no reason your small business website can’t put you on the same level as your larger competitors.
In conclusion, when deciding to establish a Business Website, it is imperative to plan ahead for the expansion of your website just like you would plan for your physical business expansion and longevity. This means staying away from free domains and website builder technologies as they can literally lock you in a non-written vicious grid-lock which will cost you exponentially more to get out of, than the actual website development itself. When purchasing website technologies, always look forward to owning your own domain name and getting a hosting server which is certified and runs industry standard technologies. Keep in mind that going live with your new website is only the beginning of your on-line venture, as throughout time technologies advance and system get upgraded and this is a great thing! However, you will need to keep up with these changes by having a dedicated developer be on call whenever needed in order to get your business through these rough patches. These are standard procedures which business websites go through, and the last thing you need while trying to flourish your business is a poorly planned web initiative which keeps draining your pocket.
The Loan Consultants’ Lifetime Support:
In addition to all the technologies you receive with The Loan Consultants, Inc., you also get lifetime consulting and support for the technological part of your business. We understand your venture is a dynamic and expansive medium, and we are always here to ensure its running smoothly! Read More