Your website is your little corner of the internet. It's purpose is to represent you, what you're about and tell the world how they can get more involved with what you do.
You want it to look good. But that doesn't mean it has to be expensive. Especially if you are just starting out.
Let's examine the options.
Shiny Objects Won't Make Sales
Don't let your website become an obstacle to selling.
Have you heard of Shiny Object Syndrome?
It's when you get distracted from your goal by shiny objects, whatever form they come in.
A website can become a distracting shiny object if you let it.
You are creating it to sell. But suddenly it's all about focusing on the right shade of green and the right photos and which kind of menu looks best.
Don't get me wrong. Branding and the visuals of your website are really important. The problem is when their importance overtakes the goal of your website; sales.
Try to stay focused on the objective at hand - creating a website that makes buying from you or working with you really easy.
The Most Common Problem
Not many small business owners are also web developers. So a lot of people take their big vision and pay someone else to do it.
This is a great solution as long as you are also being taught how to edit and run the website yourself too.
If you don't feel comfortable signing into the back end of your site and throwing up some photos or writing a blog post, it's going to sit there, untouched like a piece of art.
What Matters Most For Your Website
Yes, you want to have nice pictures and your brand colours well represented. But these are not things that will make or break a sale.
What will make or break a sale are the following:
-Being able to use your website
-Ability to quickly make edits
-Ease of creating a sales page/shop
-Having control over the site so that it can accurately represent you
-Your website being easy to navigate for your potential clients
-Your Call To Action being clear and easy to take
If you have a stunning website up that is picture perfect but you suddenly need to add a new product or payment method to make a sale and you can't, it's not much use to you, is it?
Pick A Solution That Suits Where You Are In Your Business
There is no right or wrong answer here, all that matters is what works for you.
It also depends on the size of your team, your budget and where you are in your business.
If you can hire someone to develop and then run your website, then do that! Just make sure you are able to communicate exactly what you want to this person.
If you don't have a team, yet, then you are going to be the one in charge of updating the site, right?
In this case it's more important that you have complete control over the site. You need to know how to quickly edit it, make changes, add products/services etc.
Open Source V Closed Source Websites - Simplified
You have two broad options when it comes to your website; Open Source and Closed Source. Let's simplify what that means for you.
WordPress is an open source website solution. That means that the code of the website is available for you to edit. You can customise your WordPress site to pretty much anything.
If you have a very specific need, like an elaborate booking system, then this is a good option. But you would need to either know your way around coding yourself or pay someone to do it. That's not to say you need to be a coder, but having a basic understanding is definitely helpful on WordPress.
If you are not tech savvy and able to find your way around coding, you risk losing a lot of control over your site as you rely on someone else to set everything up for you and edit it too.
Closed source websites are the template solutions, meaning you cannot edit the code yourself. You sign up with a company (Wix, Squarespace, Strikingly etc) and buy the right to use their templates. You can edit them yourself without needing to know code but if you are trying to do something complex you may run into problems.
It's a personal decision but if you're unsure which way to go just ask yourself what are your current needs from your website.
Is it more important that you have an elaborate booking system (Open Source) or do you need to have the ability to regularly upload a blog or edit your products yourself (Closed Source)?
And remember, the decision you make today, isn't forever. You could opt for a closed source website now, and then later hire a WordPress expert to take what you have and make it into a more professional WordPress version.
All that matters is that the website you have right now works as a sales tool for you.
I have a Closed Source website. I use Strikingly. I chose this option for my website because I wanted quick and easy access to my site and the ability to change it myself. I have also created sites on WordPress, but I found it too time consuming personally.
I have been with Strikingly now for about three years and I haven't needed anything more than what they offer. I have also created Strikingly sites for clients who wanted to sell products, have a blog or just have some kind of presence online. In my opinion it's perfect for anyone who wants an easy, accessible and affordable web presence.
To Recap (screenshot this to remind yourself!)
Your website is your online presence
Don't allow details to become an obstacle to your websites purpose - sales
You can have an open source or closed source website, the decision should be based on your needs right now
Open Source - WordPress, Joomla etc
Closed Source - Strikingly, SquareSpace, Wix etc
Choose what feels like the right fit now, you can always change later if you want to.
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