What’s the point of your website?
A website should essentially do one of two things. Your website should either:
- Make you money
- Save you money
What’s the one thing a website should NEVER do? It should never cost you money. A cost is a loss. A negative. And there is no room in your business plan for it, is there? So let’s talk a little about how we build websites that cost nothing.
Rule #1: TANSTAAFL –
There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Before start talking about websites that cost nothing, let’s talk about sites that do cost something.
What can a website cost? It can cost you money. It can cost you time. It can cost you missed opportunities.
It can cost you money if you pay a developer to build you a site that is not an integrated part of your business. If it just sits out there, on the web. It can cost you money if you do not understand what benefits you receive from having a website. From the promotional opportunites to the customer service choices to the direct sales it can generate. Do you truly think of your website as an extension of your business?
A website can cost you time. You can try to do it yourself (DIY) with a book, a popular WYSIWYG editor, an image editor and a hosting plan. You can spend hours and hours of your life annoyed and frustrated because you think it should be easy to build a website. It is, actually. Once you get the right tools and a little experience (or in my case, over 10 years worth), you can create a website. And that’s all you’ll probaby have. Not an extension to your business. You might create a halfway decent brochure site. But it probably will not make you any money. Or it might make you a little. But when you put the hourly that you calculate for yourself against the "profit" from the site, you need to ask yourself, "Is building and maintaing a website really what I want to spend my time on?"
A website can also cost you in missed opportunities. Have you ever visited a company’s website and thought twice about doing business with them? If you are like me, you do a lot of professional networking to support and grow your business. Have you ever checked out the website of someone you met? Did you still do business with them afterwards? Probably sometimes yes and sometimes no. What happens when people visit your site? You do, after all, want everyone who comes to your website to do business with you, right? Do they?
So those are just some of the ways that a website can cost you money. There are many others, as well.
Let’t talk about how your website can make you money.
There are several very good ways to make money with your website. You can sell things. You can support the things you have already sold. You can find new people to sell things to. You can better communicate with your staff, customers, vendors and suppliers. You can sell more things to people who have already bought from you. These should all be goals of your website, because they fit into our model of a website doing only two things, Making Money or Saving Money. If you can think of others, great!
Now that we have an idea of WHAT we want the website to do, we need to think of HOW.
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