As a small business owner, you may find yourself holding back from building a professional website or outsourcing your site to a website developer. You’ve probably heard that websites are hard to build, don’t provide value, and are too expensive.
There are some common misconceptions about building and running a website that may have caused you to put it in the “too hard” pile. As with many things, the truth doesn’t always line up with the anecdotes you’ve probably heard.
Moving your business online is now more important than ever, and it’s worth noting that not only are there affordable options for building websites, but that there are currently a number of government grants you can access towards this. But for now, let’s talk about the myths, and look at the realities.
Myth 1: Running a website is too hard for most people
When it comes to operating a website, or making changes or edits to your site, it’s important to understand that you don’t need to be an IT professional or spend time and money on extensive training.
While it’s absolutely worth investing in a professionally designed website upfront (2), a good website developer will train you in all the tools you need to know to make small edits and updates yourself, so you won’t need to be reliant on them.
Like anything, once you learn how to do it, it becomes easier each time. You don’t have to have any special skills, or know how to program: if you can update social media, you can learn how to update a website.
Myth 2: Your website will automatically show up on Google
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an integral part of your website. By ensuring your website can be found on Google and other search engines, you will enhance your reach, putting your business in front of customers or clients who may not have otherwise heard of you. What many people don’t realise is that your website must be designed with SEO in mind right from the start. It’s much harder, and more expensive, to go back and fix your SEO later than it is to get it right from the beginning (4).
Without great SEO, your website will simply be a pretty page with minimal visits.
Myth 3: “I don’t need a website: I’m not selling anything”
Websites aren’t just important for online shopping. 75% of people judge a company’s credibility based on website design (3), so even if your business is service-based, your website can add value and present information that a customer may not have found elsewhere. Incorporating FAQs, “About Us” sections and blogs into your site means a potential client can find what they want to know about you and make an informed decision to purchase from you.
Myth 4: Animations, sounds and graphics will make my website more enticing
While it can be exciting to design a website that is shiny and pretty, unnecessary functions that do not benefit the end user can get in the way of what you are truly trying to say (2). Perhaps more importantly, sites with complicated animations, videos and graphics can take longer to load. A study completed by Google found that 53% of website visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. For every one second delay in load time, conversion falls by 12% (3).
Keep your website clean and crisp, and use functions and features that will help your potential customers decide to purchase your products or services.
Myth 5: Websites cost too much to build and maintain
Website design and hosting fees can vary depending on a large number of factors, including your website building platform, standard inclusions within the platform, security and maintenance updates, and customised features.
But compared to other marketing and advertising expenses, websites are a very affordable way to help you connect with potential customers, and stand out from your competition.
- “7 Common Myths About Having a Website”, Freshpage Digital Media, https://www.freshpage.com/7-common-myths-about-having-website
- “Web Design Myths: Debunking the 10 Most Common Misconceptions About Websites”, Updated June 14, 2019, Trajectory, https://www.trajectorywebdesign.com/blog/web-design-myths-debunking-the-10-most-common-misconceptions-about-websites/
- Betsy McLeod, “75+ Small Business Statistics to Help Your Digital Marketing Strategy”, Blue Corona, November 26, 2019, https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/29-small-business-digital-marketing-statistics/
Marcus Miller, “SEO and Website Design: Everything You Need to Know”, April 19, 2017, Seach Engine Land, https://searchengineland.com/seo-website-design-everything-need-know-272899