Best practice from We Are Web.
Developing a business website can be a challenging process even for experienced individuals. There are a number of factors that can prevent people from considering development a website, all of these can be overcome with the right blend of planning and research.
The top ten barriers preventing development are:
Even though it can feel difficult to take time out of working ‘in’ your business, unless you work ‘on’ your business you may not achieve the long-term success you want. It is essential that you put some time aside every week to devote to marketing and the development of your website. This is time well spent and will make your business more secure and profitable in the future
You may feel that you do not really understand what the web is all about or have the first clue about how to produce your website or brief an external supplier. The best course of action is to keep it simple, consider investing in a content management system that allows you to update your site without the use of specialist technical web design software or computer languages. There are a number of good free systems available which do not require an annual licence fee or additional charges (known as open source systems).
It would be untrue to state that high quality, bespoke websites don’t cost money. However, budget shouldn’t always be a barrier as there are a number of options: Start small and simple and as the website provides business, reinvest that profit back into your site through development or content and features.
Find a supplier who will work with you and is willing to share knowledge and allow you to learn the skills necessary to produce some of your website whilst they help with the complicated parts Share your website (and therefore cost) with another organisation which is an indirect competitor. Give this option some consideration however as the practicalities of sharing a site can be difficult to manage Ask a supplier if they will consider staged payments which would ease your cashflow
There may be those in your organisation who doubt the justification for developing a website and the budget this requires. Make sure that you have a strong business case for the website, put this in to some kind of document and make sure you get sign off from the senior individuals in your business. Demonstrate your business case through examples and hard figures rather than anecdotal evidence.
The old saying, ‘many fail to plan but no-one plans to fail’ may sound corny but it is worth remembering’. For a smaller business you will not have the luxury of a Project Manager to ensure your website is delivered on time and on budget. This doesn’t mean that you can’t successfully manage a small project however! Make sure there is at least a schedule for the work that needs to be completed and some kind of track of work completed and budget remaining. Keep it simple but make sure you plan, with this you should be able the successfully deliver your website.
With so many suppliers in one industry and many promising quick success and fantastic results it is not surprising that many businesses feel intimidated or afraid of being ripped off when considering developing a business website. Try to mitigate this risk by always looking for examples of previous work undertaken and testimonials. Don’t believe the hype, if a supplier is promising overnight success then it should act as a warning sign, the best results take time to develop – as with anything in business. Look for experts who are happy to share information with you and build your trust before taking any money from you.
Sorry, but this has to be on the list! It is a plain fact that many business owners and employees appreciate and understand that developing a website can be a lucrative and extremely effective course of action for their business but they continue to do what they have always done because this is the easiest most pain free course of action. Ultimately it is a question of success or failure in your market – those who stand still are actually going backwards as technology and consumers become more sophisticated
There are many businesses who (amazingly) continue to deny that the Internet actually exists. It’s true that for some businesses the development of a business website is not appropriate but to turn your back on this area and ignore huge potential benefits is not the answer.
Not right for my business
It could be that you have not developed a website for your business due to a belief that you will not gain any competitive advantage or revenue from such a project. It is certainly true that a website isn’t right for every business but take the time to consider potential benefits, look at competitors and what they are doing. Don’t be afraid to develop a website even if it is not something that is common between your competitors or in your industry – there may still be value in this course of action as you will be seen as an innovator in your market and may be the first to capitalise on potential returns.
It could be that you feel your business cannot communicate its services or products via a website. There are, however, many new ways of developing a website using multimedia content which can give close to or as good as a product or service demonstration as you could give to a prospective client face to face. Explore free tools like video online with YouTube or try writing about what you do in more detail and incorporating into a site or blog.
So now you can turn the top ten barriers to developing a business website into a ten step plan for success. Good luck, I look forward to visiting your website soon!
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