The first thing to contemplate is what are you trying to do online? The fact is, some people and businesses don’t really need a fancy website to represent themselves or their company online. A lot of times, clients I work with have already invested in expensive websites that, quite frankly, they never needed in the first place.
Websites are great for a lot of things. You can advertise your brand or business, provide answers to questions, have an easy way for people to get in touch, the sky is the limit. In fact, there are so many things you can do with a website often there’s a tendency to try and do it all. It’s important to set goals before deciding which route to go when jumping into the digital domain. That means if you’re selling something, determine how many leads or sales you’d like to generate online. Make a list of benchmarks that you want to reach and then focus on making that happen. It’s easy to get caught up with all the bells and whistles of designing a website, so sometimes it’s nice to use a pre-built customizable Content Management System. Which is the not so subtle way of segueing to the next thing you should be thinking about.
If you start counting from one and just kept going up without stopping that’s how many of these “build your own website” platforms are available right now. But don’t let that scare you away. It’s likely that one of the big guns Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress or Joomla will meet all your CMS needs. A Content Management System is just a fancy shmancy way of saying “how you get your stuff to show up on your website.”
Luckily there are really smart people out there working on ways to make our lives easier. And what’s even better, oftentimes the things they come up with, they let us have for free. If you haven’t already checked out the names of some industry-leading website tools we mentioned in the previous program this is your cue to do that.
Who told told you a website is necessary? In my opinion, not everyone needs a website. Sure, you want people to find you online but who says a Twitter account, FB page or a one-sheet landing page isn’t a viable destination? Using online social channels as portals or hub pages is a completely valid option. Of course, if you’re selling something or have a goal in mind that encompasses more than people getting in touch with you a website may be a great option.
To be clear, there are still plenty of reasons to build a custom website. If you can get a good programmer/designer and maintain a unique page layout it’s a great way to catch people’s eyes. An aesthetically pleasing website with good content is a powerful online ally. As always, it’s important to identify your goals before deciding which online path is right for you. But with some careful thought and awareness of what’s available a good decision is easy to come by.