How easy is it to create your own business website?

Not very – but it’s probably not what you would expect. You were thinking the difficulty is in the coding, design, domain, and hosting, right? Or how to get your text lined up to your picture and be the right colour?

The mechanics of a website can be easily learnt (I teach it) with modern Content Management Systems (CMS), but that is not the essence of what a web developer does.

What does a web developer do?

The traditional way developers created your website was for you to pay a substantial amount of money and then they spent six months creating it. It started growing old as soon as it was launched – until you paid more to update it in six months. They created web pages to satisfy the owner/manager with little consideration of the customer, and that did work when there was less competition, and when everyone was doing the same thing.

The modern web developer needs to create a living and breathing machine optimised to capture, analyse and improve the customer experience with constant updates based on the data it collects. A better customer experience, as it does in a brick and mortar business, means better engagement, more leads and a better bottom line. In 2021, a webpage is an essential business tool that will perform better as it ages.

Creating your own site to meet these criteria certainly isn’t impossible. There are several benefits, and the biggest is how much it costs – and you know more than a developer does about your business, your customers and your products.

Three out of four people avoid advertising.

There are huge savings in creating your own web presence with consistent planning, executing, and evaluating your customer’s online experience. If it sounds like a lot to add to your workday, don’t be put off. The process is scalable and requires more of a change in mindset than hours spent. Your web developer outsources parts of the process, and you can too. You also have far greater control over the process than if you went to a developer.

As with all sales, and all business is sales, whether a product, a service or even an idea, a website is about relationships. In web terms, relationships come down to user experience – simply how easy or pleasurable it is to use.

89% of consumers conduct online research before buying a product.

How important is user experience? A Stanford study found 75% of online customers admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility based on the company’s website. Merely listing your services does not build a relationship of trust.

More importantly, Google will ignore it and place you a thousand pages deep in their search results. Why? Because Google is about finding the best user experience (they call it page experience) to put at the top of their page. How do they work that out, without a human visiting each page? An ever-changing secret formula (algorithm) takes into account performance indicators like page speed, interactivity, mobile-friendliness, security and intrusive interstitials. Yeah, I had to look that up  – let’s say it’s annoying popup ads.

Although these things alone won’t drive customers to your site in droves, and keep them there long enough to develop a relationship.

Customers who TRUST a brand are more than twice as likely to buy the brand’s new products
(53% vs. 25% do not fully trust)
…stay loyal to the brand (62% vs. 29%)
…and advocate for it (51% vs. 24%)

Content is King

The other part of the user experience, and certainly part of Google’s algorithm, is what information you present and how you present it. Think of when you go searching for something, what is it that you want? It’s not a website – it is a solution. The solution you are looking for may be winning an argument, finding the nearest price/service, or finding out what to do when you’ve added unleaded to your diesel car. The website is just the way you get to it. The easier and quicker you get to the information, the more pleasurable the experience.

Google gives preference to a site’s “Attempt to help users” in its results and measures how long users stay on a page selected by their search term. Suppose the user finds the answer to their search. In that case, the site demonstrates expertise, authority and trustworthiness. You have started a relationship with that user.

What does all this mean to creating your own site? Your site should not be just about you. It should also offer the user additional information that they can elect to dig deeper into their solution. Information is why blogs rank so highly in search results and user experience. Look at two websites selling the same service, where one has a list of its services. The other has that plus articles relating to those services – which would you think was the expert, the authority and the trustworthiest? It doesn’t even have to look like a blog, so long as useful content is easily accessible – like guides, infographics, videos, or podcasts.

84% of 375,000 people polled across 33 countries expect brands to produce content.

Conclusion

Websites have become a science. The days of putting a brochure online and having people see it are long gone. There are over 250,000 websites added each day globally (1.86 billion in total). Users are getting savvier, and constantly bombarded by duplicity, fraud, scams and criminal activity on the web.

So the answer is, of course, you can create your own website, so long as you think like a web developer and keep your customers at the forefront of any decision making. If creating your own is all that your budget will stretch to, it is still better than having none at all, or having one that’s been dormant for years. Start small and grow, aim to help the user before trying to sell them something. Build trust. Start simple, adding content before functions, and update often. Ensure everything works. Ask what problem you solve and for whom, and be very specific about what action you want visitors to take.

Please feel free to ask questions – if you are thinking them, then someone else probably is too – and leave feedback. If you have a particular topic that seems a little confusing, please tell me and I will endeavour to answer them on this blog. If you need to rethink your web presence, have a question, or just want me to look at your site, as always, I am free to call on 0415 824 106.

Kindest regards

Jim Dobbin

Special Note: I go on about Google and its ranking algorithm in this post. You may be thinking that Google algorithms don’t apply to you because your traffic comes from other sources, but don’t ignore Google’s knowledge base. Treat it as an extensive study into what makes a great user experience for whoever visits your site, regardless of how they got there.

10 solid reasons why businesses need a website

Sources:

Three out of four people avoid advertising
Source: https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2019-06/2019_edelman_trust_barometer_special_report_in_brands_we_trust.pdf

89% of consumers conduct online research before buying a product
Source: https://www.vividfish.co.uk/blog/89-of-customers-begin-their-buying-process-with-a-search-engine-source-fleishman-hillard

Customers who trust a brand are more than twice as likely to buy the brand’s new products (53% vs. 25% do not fully trust), stay loyal to the brand (62% vs. 29%), and advocate for it (51% vs. 24%).
Source: https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2019-06/2019_edelman_trust_barometer_special_report_in_brands_we_trust.pdf

84% of 375,000 people across 33 countries expect brands to produce content
Source: https://www.marketingweek.com/content-havas-meaningful-brands/

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