Finally realization dawns on you that without an effective small business website, you don’t actually have a sustainable small business. Fact.
Your friends insist you save by writing your own website in WordPress. The web developers talk about SEO and page-load speed. Your head hurts.
Your choice is simple, actually – know the facts and weigh them up for yourself:
CMS (content management system) e.g. WordPress / Wix
- Relatively simple and intuitive to learn and use – but there is still a learning curve of a couple weeks for most users.
- Gives the user control and flexibility to add to or alter without needing a web developer, for most basic requirements – so it is useful if, in your industry, your website is the best place for masses of often-changing content.
- Is not easy to add in non-standard tools and special processing needs.
- Requires a database as it parses the system framework with the changeable content in the database, to render a web page at the point when requested.
- Not having a webmaster means that you yourself will need to learn to program error-handling, .htaccess and robots files and where to place this on your domain server.
- It remains 3rd party software even if you don’t pay a license fee to use it. You are subject to software changes, upgrades and availability.
- If your website breaks, it won’t work again until YOU get a gap in your schedule to trouble-shoot, reinstall, roll-back an update etc – and if, before long, you just give up, you don’t have a website and you’re back to square one…
- “Free” costs you every time…
HTML – a custom-built website
- Static HTML pages are smaller and quick to load – Google ranking rewards page speed.
- If well developed there is huge potential for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as “alt tags” and pic descriptions etc can all be programmed to contain the search terms you want to be found for – Google ranking rewards key term proliferation.
- Greater flexibility with the look-and-feel of the website design.
- With a simple, free editing tool and some basic training, you can also make changes to your HTML website yourself, though you can mess things up if you get over-confident.
- You pay for development expertise and since a good developer can build a website fast, it is typically NOT expensive to outsource; maybe the price a a fancy family meal or two unless you require an extraordinarily complex website.
- Once live, you back-up your HTML website and forget about it. There are no system or template version updates that can mess with settings or crash your site.
- Because a database is typically not required, an HTML website can be hosted on a cheaper server service – a monthly saving going forward.
- Learning to delegate makes you a better business owner every time…
What are your web goals?
For most entrepreneurs the goals are:
- an effective website that REDUCES demands on your time and energy
- for customers to find you on the internet with minimal advertising spend which means you want a website with excellent SEO.
Your main business may be web development or blogging, in which case it becomes a no-brainer to develop your website yourself. But if not, do you really want to take a couple weeks upfront; plus ongoing hours in perpetuity, away from your core skill (physiotherapy / museum tours / beekeeping / photography etc) to spend on yet another conflicting demand on your time and energy?
CONCERNS WE HEAR MOST OFTEN
“But how will I know if my website is effective?”
Exactly! A professional web developer will be helping you with SEO, Analytics, dealing with canonical issues and more – all to help you assess and tweak the effectiveness of your HTML website on an ongoing basis. You will not know or do these things with WordPress, which now means another couple of weeks you need to spend to learn extra skills.
What business are you in again anyway?
By trying to do it cheaply yourself, you lose out on one of the main benefits of professional advice – the fact that it is professional advice…
“I need to load new photos and videos on my website all the time!”
Do you? Is your solid, stable credibility-building website the right place for this, or should you be using your Facebook Business Page or Blog to communicate ongoing, transitory news or specials? Do you know how the different parts of a Digital Marketing Engine work together and which to use for what purposes? If not, get some urgent guidance!
It depends on your industry whether your website is the right place to change passing product descriptions and details all the time. If it is appropriate (a marketing strategy can guide you), then WordPress may be better for you and you can overcome the poorer SEO more easily if you have a strong brand (e.g. people go search for Makro deals specifically).
In our experience, for most small businesses, the business website is the place to introduce who you are, what you do, create trust and credibility with testimonials and awards and of course introduce your core product or service that remains the same in essence.
Your occasional pricing or staffing changes can be done easily by yourself or you can pay your tech-savvy person for the work of an hour or so – if much more, they are lying to you and you need to find someone you can trust.
Remember, the bigger your business grows (what you want, remember?) the more you want people you trust to handle the details while you focus on the strategy and core income-producing processes.
You need to understand the pros and cons of WordPress and HTML as well as your own business imperatives in order to know what is right for you.
What did we do for ourselves?
In our own business Small Business Volution, we use a fast HTML website for small business marketing for all our stable core needs and we use WordPress for our small business blog, which we integrated to look similar to our website (this was a 2-week job and took 3 installations of WordPress to get right, and this is our competency! Not to mention re-doing posts after an upgrade messed them up – urgh… I don’t wish the frustrations we suffered on you!) You can easily see the difference in page speed between our site and blog. We use Facebook Business for ongoing PR, specials, news & educational content. We use AdWords for time-relevant marketing of a specific product or service to a narrowly targeted audience.
The number one problem in small business is cash-flow. It stands to reason that you should keep to your strengths to bring in income and outsource small-cost items to experts who can do it faster and cheaper than you ever could.
The number two problem in small business is that the owner tries to do everything themselves instead of focusing on core skill and strengths and delegating the rest.
Think about it!
Don’t you owe your family a nice meal out while the techie slogs?
STAY AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITION!
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Author: Ronel Pieterse
Ronel has spent 24 years in the corporate world (finance, banking, mining, manufacturing and agriculture) and has also started 5 small businesses herself over the past 20 years. Four of these are still operational today in one form or another. Ronel's passion is to use her considerable skills in spheres of business and IT to help other small business owners and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to the next level and to attain sustainable competitive advantage in the process. View all posts by Ronel Pieterse