I’ve been in the web business for over ten years and in that time I have seen way too many website design projects where money and resources were wasted because of over-engineered solutions that wouldn’t provide the client or their audience much benefit. This is the dirty little secret most web design companies don’t want you to know about. They’re agencies and like any agency they want to bill you for their time and often for building solutions they wouldn’t even consider taking the risk building for themselves. In addition, if a fancy solution is proposed most agencies are likely trying things for the first time and billing you for the time it takes them to learn how to do it. Sure, it’s cool to have an intensive site and pour tons of money into design…if you aren’t into making money.
Unless you have complex website needs that require integration with other systems, hundreds of pages, and/or eCommerce then you shouldn’t have to pay more than a few thousand for a website. For most SMB that have basic needs I advocate that only 25% of your website budget should go towards design/development and the remaining 75% go towards promoting it. A fancy new website is not a solution – Having a website strategy is.
You’re probably thinking “Harley, you offer web design services and have written previous posts about the value of good web design, so aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black?” You’re right, I do offer web design services and do value good design, HOWEVER, my definition of good design revolves around the effectiveness and efficiency of the solution to deliver results. This is very different than design from a “what’s cool” or aesthetic perspective and typically what web design agencies bill clients through the nose for. I’m a big fan of keeping things simple and as Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Who can argue with that?
So, what is an effective website strategy? It’s simply three things – Attracting visitors, converting visitors to action, and analyzing metrics in order to optimize efforts.
Did you notice that neither website design or development were mentioned? That’s because they’re not as important as actually having a website strategy that gets results. In fact, a proper strategy may not even need to include the redesign of your website. Instead, you should focus on all the the activities surrounding your website. The state of the web is becoming increasingly decentralized; people spend the majority of their online time on search engines and participating in social networks. On top of this, it’s a generally accepted stat that 80% of website visitors only read 20% of a website’s content. So, instead of putting all your online marketing budget on a fancy centralized website you should consider how you can leverage the decentralized nature of the web by optimizing your current site for search engines and appearing in multiple places online. Use these efforts to drive people back to your website where you have landing pages or specific calls-to-action.
For a good example of this in practice please read the case study for Lexis Developments – This custom home builder redesigned their website for less than $5000 by leveraging the existing social media spaces they were operating in and optimized the website design for both user experience and search engines. Within a week of their site being launched they were being found in search engines and had prospects calling them!
What are your thoughts? Please comment below OR send me an email OR give me a call at 306 229 9437 OR request a free consultation. One more option, I offer an email subscription for receiving new blog updates.