Professionally-Built Website or DIY for Small Business?
In recent years, there has been increasing talk of “digital transformation”. To achieve this, businesses undertake software implementation, migrate to managed cloud services, and adopt process automation to evolve their operations. From a marketing perspective, a digital marketing campaign is the primary method to change the way a business reaches out to its target audience. More and more businesses are recognising that having a solid online presence is essential for long-term business growth.
Under the calm surface of the internet, businesses are constantly vying against one another for digital market presence. Digital service agencies compete to deliver the best campaigns to secure rankings and conversion for their clients. The premise, in simpler terms: the easier it is to find your business via Google, the better off your business will be.
The humble website, which has been popularised since the boom of the internet in the 90’s, now serves as a foundation for digital marketing campaigns. As a business owner, there are a few main purposes of having a website:
- To provide information and updates about your business, products, or services
- To create and increase awareness of your brand
- To generate new enquiries and leads
- To create sales for your products or services via eCommerce
- To provide support and updates for existing customers
As people are becoming increasingly adept with technology, and with the emergence of user-friendly website builders, businesses can now opt to build their own website. Content Management Systems (CMS) enable users to customise their site with pre-built templates, styles, and content to match their corporate identity. This opens doors to a cost-effective solution, which may seem ideal for small-medium businesses (SMBs) that are not ready for an expansive digital marketing budget.
In this case, should SMBs still look outwards to build their website?
The answer is simply: yes. While, at a glance, cost-saving seems great, the underlying costs and long-term benefits well outweighs the investment cost of having a professionally-built website. The following are some reasons why.
Having a stunning website serves no purpose if people can’t find it via search engines, particularly Google. As such, one of the primary objectives of a digital marketing campaign is to help a website gain traffic in the form of visitors. The best way to do this is through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), with the primary aim to be listed on the first page when users search for keywords related to the business.
To achieve this, the website and its contents must be optimised for SEO purposes. There are specific guidelines to follow to achieve optimisation; each page should be easily crawlable and readable by Google’s algorithms. Best practices change from time to time, and professional digital marketing agencies will ensure that all of these are observed to ensure optimal results.
Internet access, which once used to be a high-end feature for mobile phones, is now an expected standard on every new device released today. More and more people are browsing through websites using their mobile devices, with the increasing affordability of hardware and lower mobile data costs. Therefore, it is vital to have an updated website that is responsive when viewed on mobile devices or tablets.
With CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Wix, mobile-responsive templates can be easily built. However, there are limitations to building a mobile-responsive site without the necessity of development skills. In addition, proper testing and checking of a website across different platforms can be a very time-consuming task. Experienced web developers and testers will ensure that your website is built to support the latest browsers, devices, or operating systems.
Just as conventional sales, delivery and customer support work towards providing a positive customer experience, a website should be built towards providing its users with a satisfying user experience. Poorly-built websites can be frustrating; users can get lost navigating through winding pages, unable to find the information they need, or simply blocked by broken functionality. When this happens, it often results in the user giving up and closing the tab – an opportunity for the business lost forever.
Neat design layout, well-structured content, easily-navigable pages and quick enquiry forms are just a few aspects of a website optimised for user experience. Having built numerous websites, professional web developers know exactly what to look out for in terms of creating a site that is user-friendly. In addition, quality assurance processes ensure that a site is properly tested before being deployed live for public viewing.
One Seamless Digital Solution
A comprehensive digital marketing campaign aiming for maximum impact involves more than just web development. A well-built website still requires SEO, Google AdWords and social media marketing to help generate traffic. Conversely, digital marketing campaigns can only work if the website is well-built and optimised.
This inter-dependency of both components means that a business should seek out a competent digital agency to deliver one seamless solution. In addition, a reputable, full-fledged digital services provider will house a team of specialists from different fields: web developers, SEO technicians, performance media (AdWords) specialists, copywriters, digital strategists and consultants. By engaging a digital services company for work, a business is essentially leveraging the skills of a wide range of experts.
Focus on Business
A business should, after all, work towards generating sales, delivering products, and keeping their customers happy. With so many core operation units (e.g. sales, finance, HR, delivery) to manage already, it simply isn’t feasible for SMBs to undertake digital marketing campaigns using internal resources. Junior employees may not be able to get the job done, while senior employees’ time is just too valuable.
As such, full-time employees should be channelled towards daily business operations, while temporary campaigns or projects should be outsourced whenever possible. This minimizes the risks of disruption towards daily business activities as well as delays towards the campaign itself. In this sense, the hassle saved by a project outsourced to a reliable digital marketing agency can be effectively translated as a worthwhile investment in the long run.