Having an online presence is almost unavoidable for businesses that desire sustained growth. Creating a business presence online can be costly and time-consuming for a business owner so best practice is generally to hand it over to a professional to handle it.
Many small businesses try to confront this challenge themselves given budgetary restrictions which is admirable but most often than not, they find themselves spending their own time(time which costs money too remember), trying to learn and work out how to design a website, what SEO is, how headings work etc. Eventually, overwhelmed with the effort involved, give up and end up bringing in the expert anyway with a whole lot of wasted time involved along the way.
The thing is, depending on the need, whether the business wants an expert to solely handle it for them or, require training on the tools to be able to do it for themselves, there is always an option. In our experience, it is always best if the business gets involved with the day to day running of their online presence. Understanding how it works, how it can benefit a business and what needs to be done in order for it to work will set a business on the right road to success.
Investing time, or money for someone else’s time is the only way of achieving this. The decision is, whose time is more valuable? Either way, eventually that time, money and effort is supposed to pay off right? Otherwise, it is all for nothing.
Do you know your websites return on investment?
The whole idea of an investment is to gain a return. It’s a simple concept. It’s the cost over results. We can easily quantify costs of course as it generally comes directly out of the business account or out of time and effort, which we know ‘time is money’.
Prices of websites vary a lot in the market. The larger agencies charge the most obviously, and they are expected to deliver results. On the other side of the spectrum, there are the DIY tools that allow us to build our own. We have seen this on numerous occasions, particularly with Wix, but most often than not, it end’s in tears unless the business owner is adept at Web Development themselves. This obviously would be the best case scenario and a real cost saver for any business.
On the Cheap
Generally, however, small businesses opt for the next level up which is the freelancer or whatever is cheapest online. The freelancer is the cheapest “expert” of course as they have fewer overheads than agencies, but many assume, sure it’s a website, they are all the same and that they will do the same job as the Digital Agency at a fraction of the cost. The truth is there are some great freelancers but whether a Digital Agency or a Freelancer, each should know their worth and it takes time and expertise to bring business to a business.
We are living in an age of technology so would you prefer to have the Nissan Qashqai or a Lexus for a website? One has a vastly superior build quality, is more reliable, is faster getting to their destination, is smoother and frankly looks the bomb.
Go Compare, go compare.……
What is the main purpose of a website? To generate revenue directly or indirectly… Yes, its true, shock, horror and all of that. Tell me this, how much does it cost to put an advert in a local newspaper? I know my local paper here costs €1,650 for a full page, half a page is €850. That is ONE edition, ONE time, ONE price. Now, how much does it cost to get a stall at a large industry conference or exhibition if you can get one? It depends of course on the size but they do range from €300-400 up to €1,000’s.
Your online presence is an open portal, that can work for you 24/7, 365 Days a year into perpetuity. It is the best employee you will ever have. So, investing in a proper site should make more than “cents”.
A website is there to find the customers LOOKING FOR YOU and those of easy persuasion. People spend more time searching on the Internet to purchase they do by any other medium. Who remembers the Golden Pages?
The Internet is now the DIRECTORY of EVERYTHING. Your website is a long-term business asset that is supposed to deliver results continuously over the long term. A website is probably one of the most important assets a business will ever have.
So, as they say. You pay for what you get.
So how are sites priced?
Well, it is all about time. The more time involved building a site, the more it costs but with increasing results to follow.
Combinations of Skills
There are hosting fees which are minimal but generally, it is all about writing code, designing graphics, taking images, creating a video, doing the SEO etc. Really there is a LOT of time and care taken in creating a good website. There are of course templates that can be used. However, in order to really get the most from your site, there will need to be a strategic plan put in place.
This involves social media, design, marketing, seo, content marketing, updates, blogs, newsletters, lead follow-ups and more. These will not be part of the package if you are looking for a €300 website. Much of what goes on after the site is built is where a business earns that extra yard, with increased speed and return on their investment.
The major factors in costs are;
Management of the Project:
Communication is the key here and poor communication leads to lengthy projects. Parties need to be on the same page more or less.
Is it custom designed or a template.
Is there a lot of functionality that needs specific programming skills.
Whether it is photography, video, graphics or text, all of these are regarded as specific skills and of course have industries of their own. Many digital agency firms have individuals tasked with carrying out each of these on their own. One Freelance Web Designer is unlikely to possess all of these skills.
Here we are, the aspect that makes it all worthwhile. If you want your site to get noticed and start ranking, this is necessary. The rest of this is garbage and useless without a GOOD SEO foundation. I highlight the word good. SEO has changed a lot over the past 20 years and it is not just about using meta keywords anymore.
Understand, RESULTS WILL HAPPEN if your SEO is up to score and is continuous. If you just go for the website without the SEO to back it up, don’t hold your breath waiting for business to roll in, you will be the only SEO tactic directing people to your website.
Depending on the cost of your site, it may take time to reap the rewards and actually see your websites return on investment depending on a number of factors.
Websites return on investment may be direct in the sense of e-commerce sites where a business owner can see the return directly to their account. Leads are indirect where you gain valuable information from your site to enable business from the interest in your site.
Below are some of the main factors in determining the cost and the rate of return a business will generate from that cost outlay,
1. The Cost of building a Website
The basic cost of the building the site. Time x €/hr = Cost…..Simple!
2. Ongoing Publicity
Ah, ongoing? What? That is not it? Yes, it is the ongoing content marketing that is the real time consumer. Blogging, email marketing, social media, website maintenance and updates, promotions etc. Just like a shop front, a business needs to keep up it’s advertising continuously through their shop window to entice customers to enter the shop and purchase.
It may be a nice ‘shiny’ website but it will take time for customers to find you: enter SEO and content marketing. You, yes are reading this are you not? You are at this current moment, traffic.
Maybe you found this article interesting, maybe not, but you are here, you are on iBrutes website now. Somewhere, you found this article because of your search term or ‘keyword’ or perhaps it appeared on social media and it interested you. Engaging content is what does this, engaging and educating customers creates affiliation and trust. Traffic helps boost a website’s ranking because it is then perceived as interesting by a particular search engine and therefore rewarded for its content.
Now, that you are in, imagine this with your own site. People from around the world “Googling” and finding your content and subsequently familiarizing themselves with your business. Your business has gone global with a left click. Congratulations.
4. Conversion Rate
Having an e-commerce site makes it easy to visibly see the return on investment as revenue is generated there. The majority of websites in Ireland are static sites and therefore do not generate direct revenue. How do we quantify a return?
This can be done in a variety of ways but will only be visible when compared to previous periods. Profits may be up 20% but is that directly attributable to the businesses online presence? Careful analysis is required.
Analytics plays a large part in assessing success and also provides a benchmark to improve. Business owners should insist on having access to analytics reports from web designers or gain access to their own Businesses Google Analytics as they help gauge the success of a website and identify weaknesses.
For static sites, we generate leads through email contact & phone calls primarily. Sometimes, potential customers shocking also actually walk into a business, but nearly 81% of customers will research a business or product online prior to doing so.
It is important that a business owner finds out from a customer where they found out about the business. It is a great indication of what return is being achieved. The important thing to note is, that if a customer has already done their research, has made the call or has made the effort to come into the business, the sale is almost a foregone conclusion.
Getting contact is the difficult part and this is where good design enters the fray. Obviously, the product needs to be up to scratch but if the site is designed in a specific way, the user is led to the action which is making some form of contact.
5. Life of site
This depends, is it doing well or not. It may just need a makeover stylistically. But lifespans come to a close as sites do in fact get old. SEO algorithms change along with style and other aspects so it is good to keep sites up to date and looking fresh.
How to put value on your website
1. Visits = The page rank and search volume will determine the number of visits to your page
2. Leads = Leads are created by the level of interest carried out by a visitor (Number of clicks etc, subscriptions, email, visits etc.)
3. Return = Closing Leads(Sales) – Cost to Deliver the product.
So, in conclusion, going for the cheap site without thinking any further ahead most likely will not produce results. Unless you spend lots of time yourself content marketing, of course, doing SEO and keeping up with the Tech Industry. You do have a business to run don’t you know.
Why not find out a little more about how to get your site working for you. Contact iBrutes Media (Plug)