It may seem like a strange question to ask, but how much website do you really need? Is there such thing as ‘too much’ quality, features or website for a business? In my opinion, yes there is.
The amount of website you need depends on your business stage, clientele and objectives. Bootstrapping businesses with non-sensitive clientele can honestly get started with simple DIY options. But it won’t drive business online. As soon as they can, I believe they should upgrade into a foundational entry level website, eventually moving up into a custom website built for scalability and growth.
Here’s what I mean.
Bootstrapping new businesses
If you are starting out and have next to no marketing budget, this is when you’ll need to head to your DIY options such as:
At this point, you may need to hold onto whatever cash you have in order to weather the storms of starting your new business. A $5000 website, when you have no resources to market and grow that website, is going to have a hard time to show a strong ROI if it is 10% of your yearly expected revenues.
What to look out for:
- From a website perspective, is to make sure you have at least a custom domain that’s yours. This is important because as your business gets older, it should naturally attract links to the site (which improve SEO) which can carry over when you eventually upgrade your website.
- Also, make sure you get HTTPs for your website by installing an encryption certificate, since changing from HTTP to HTTPs can be fraught with issues and expensive complications later.
- When picking designs on DIY options, pay attention to what the ‘mobile version’ looks like for the website.
- If you can, learn about Google Analytics and get this installed on your website. Google Analytics tracks anonymous user data that can really help guide your marketing efforts in the future.
Small businesses with revenue but low resources
Once your business is up and running, you should look at getting a proper customised website made. This is because a customised website will provide a foundation for handling some business functions online, such as through web forms or client content hubs, FAQs and document links.
It also has a function of providing the basis for generating leads via the web in the future from SEO or providing landing pages for your online advertising, something that is best suited to a website you own and that can easily be expanded and customised by adding other pages.
These kinds of sites will cost you around the $2,000 to $3,000 mark and are often semi-custom builds meaning that you will get control of making a few key pages high impact with unique designs or layouts.
What to look for:
- You are building a foundation for online growth, try to invest in getting some SEO work done to prime your website for some unpaid Google traffic.
- Make sure the website is setup in a way that you can edit and expand it yourself if you need to. This can allow you to do a lot of the heavy lifting on the web yourself.
- Also make sure the website is built in a way that it is comfortable for knowledgable services providers to log into and use without breaking the site!
- Get Google Analytics on your website ASAP. You will need this data to guide your marketing efforts, especially when it comes to getting feedback on your lead generation and site usability.
- Finally, please consider website care packages. These servers keep your website in good condition, making sure all the functions remain working, the site and it’s data stays clear and secure and that you can either repel online attacks, or remove malware attacks.
Growth focused or small established businesses
Once the business is properly established, you should see some level of business being generated through online channels. You or staff may have started playing around with improving your SEO results, doing a few bits and pieces with advertising, and generally trying to increase the number of leads generated online.
This is where you may become interested in the performance of your website. A 15% conversion rate improvement may not matter when you are generating a few leads per month, but when you are generating dozens of leads, this can make a substantial difference to your revenues. Likewise, having a website that can actually compete with well resourced competitors for the first few places in Google, and win, can dramatically increase the amount of business you are generating.
These results are often improved through thoughtful, deliberate web design to your website. Usability tracking can show when you are losing visitors, and suggest why. Speed improvements can help more users stay. Fully custom designs can increase the impact your website has in implanting branding messages about your business, positioning you to capture more market share of your target audiences and defend against competitors.
These websites require more customisation and functionality built in, and can start at around the $5,000 to $10,000 mark.
What to look for:
- Try to work with a website agency that can continue to grow your website with related services and ongoing website improvements, or will play nicely with your other marketing service providers. At this point, your website is a continuing investment in order to increase the amount of business you generate online, but also to remain competitive in the market against others who are doing the same.
- Consider advantaged integrations to save down work time, that can shave tens of hours of staff time off per month.
- Look for strong custom layouts for common pages such as services and staff pages, designed to optimise for conversion.
I hope by sharing my thoughts on how much website you need can help you avoid over and under-investing in your website presence. I’ve added a few tips as well to make sure you know what to look for at each point, so that you can maximise the use of your business’ resources.