Website Solutions. It’s a minefield! There are so many aspects to finding the right solution for you. The more creative you are, the more work you put in, the more results you get out, the more you find yourself logging hours and hours to make it perfect. And, let’s not forget the add-ons. Social Media plug-ins, CRM implementations, MailChimp, video management, event organisation. The list is endless. Now, you don’t have to be a web developer to continue reading. Throughout this blog we are going to look at how you can sift through the mine field and get the online solution you need.
First of all we need look at the obvious. What kind of website do you need? Do you need something basic that will tell your customers who you are, what you do and where you are? Do you need to sell your stock or services online? Do you need to manage your “Digital Shop Front” and run updates to your back office systems? Everyone will fall under these 3 categories. So let’s look at the first one.
#1. The Standard Info Site
When we look at a website, we see into the world of someone’s business, hobby, or interests. Within this website, there is a goal. Whether that is to share your knowledge with the world, engage with other like-minded people or to bring new and existing customers through your door. Once you have established your goal, you can then work out what type of info-site you can go for.
There are lots of online site builders out there. From Wix to WordPress, each requiring a different level of skill (or level patience). I’m not about to go and review them all… That would be a bit of a long winded approach, not very helpful one either. So let’s me give a few pointers that will apply to most scenarios, and help you pick a solution to best suit your needs.
Keep it Simple
Look for an online builder that suits your skill set. I am not telling you not to learn new things by any means, but like I said before, the web development world is huge and you don’t want to get lost. Keeping it simple can sometimes bring you the best results with the least headache. If you go in over your depth, you are more likely to set the website to one side and not get very far with it. So, staying within your understanding and skill set is key to making you info site work best for you.
Look for the most memory. Sometimes this might not be the cheaper option, but in the long run, as your website picks up momentum, you don’t want to kick yourself because you have reached the limit of photos or videos you can upload.
Keep it Social
Make sure you can link your social media sites to the info site easily. Your social media is what is going to get you your traffic. If you can’t easily share content and updates through social media, your audience aren’t going to see the work you’ve put in.
Look for the best support. Lots of the online site builders will have chat desks that will point you in the right direction should you get stuck or need assistance with any issues you have with their solution. It’s their job, use them wherever you can.
There are lots of other tricks and tips, but for the sake of this blog, these are the main ones. Should you wish to know more, why not engage with me on twitter, or email. I’m always up for a coffee. Anyway, back to the subject in hand.
If you’re a small to medium sized business (SME) you might want to consider a professional approach. By all means, if you have someone in the office who is great with branding and marketing, consider the online site builders. There are some great professional packages out there, but my main tip for SME’s is this… Your company’s reputation on the line. People will judge the integrity and legitimacy of your company based on your website. So choose wisely.
#2. eCommerce Websites
There are lots of options here, and again it all depends on what you want to achieve and the level of success you are expecting from your site. What do I mean by this? If you are going to be shipping 10,000 units a month to foreign countries then a standard eCommerce site isn’t going to cut it for you. If you are selling a few items a week or shipping small quantities, then a standard eCommerce site may do what you need.
A standard eCommerce site can be built on an online site builder, but most will have a number of limitations. Such as the amount of products you can display, some might even take a small commission on each sale. So please *READ THE FINE PRINT! The best tips for a small eCommerce site are as follows.
Get in touch with someone who has worked on a website of this scale before. Even if it’s just for advice. Many businesses and idividuals have started out with this type of website, so there will be people who can help you in this area.
Use a safe and secure way to complete transactions. The most common is PayPal.
Share The Love
Allow social media sharing. If someone buys from you, give them the opportunity to share it with their friends.
Ask For Help
If you are out of your depth, use professionals. Again, this is your business, you don’t want to make any mistakes.
And finally. I must say it again. Read The Small Print! Know what you are signing up for and don’t get caught out. You could pay for it in the long run.
Whether you use a basic online site builder or a professional solution, always seek guidance from others in the industry to help you make the best decision for you and your business. Try and consult different solution providers, and solutions. Dont settle for the first because it sounds like the best. It may very well be the best, but seek out a couple to help you make the best informed decision.
#3. All Round Solution
This type of web solution is not for the faint-hearted. It covers most aspects of your online presence. From your campaigns and basic SEO to CRM,ERP and eCommerce. This solution is best suited larger companies who want to monitor their websites activity, capture the details gained from call to actions and update their sales opportunities automatically by a company clicking a link on their website. But it’s not only the functionality that makes it suitable for larger companies, it’s the finance. These types of systems and websites cost, this making it ‘out of reach’ to most SME’s. So what are my tips for the all round solution?
What's The Return?
Always look for the ROI (return of investment). Are you going to benefit from a site that saves duplication of input, monitors your activity and creates reports and dashboards to show your web activity? Are you going to see a return from a site that can manage your inventory, updates your financials and sales opportunities? To answer this, you may need to work out your TCO (total cost of Ownership). What is your current website costing you? Is there double input of data? How many people do you employ to manage your website and its transactions?
Some of these fully integrated solutions can have limited design functionality. There’s no point having a website that can link your ERP, if no one goes to your site due to bad design or poor navigation. Make sure that you can see demo, or example sites from the solution providers to ensure you can get the design and functionality you need.
When choosing a solutions provider, keep your options open. Shop around, and get informed, ensure that you are educated to select a solution that fits your business needs.
Hopefully this blog helps you decide what suits your needs best. The flowing theme throughout this blog is to get more than one opinion, look at other alternatives and investigate many solutions to fit you. If the website doesn’t fit your needs where you are at right now, then it’s not the correct web solution for you.
Why not have a chat to us about the various solutions there are out there. We will walk with you through the process and help you pick the solution that fits you.