If you are in business or are about to step into one, or are even remotely thinking of having that simple presence online, it’s best to hold on to your thoughts until you can do a very basic reality check. Think in terms of what your needs and requirements are, before jumping into what can really be a nasty ocean of extreme creativity.
Like all things in life your returns are always going to be directly reciprocal of your applied knowledge, efforts and commitment.
Commitment is the key word here. Most of your digital learning curve is, unfortunately, going to come from actual experience and knowledge created by search engine and social media giants, which you will need to apply serious commitment to, to understand. A lot of this knowledge will be created in the real digital world and is way beyond the comprehension of any academic crash course that could quickly give you that advantage when you think you are ready to get into it. And I don’t blame the academia for this, as by the time they battle their bureaucracy and put a course together, the knowledge presented on paper will almost be redundant – such is the pace of today’s technology.
Digital learning is actually almost a life skill now and regardless of your expertise or desire to learn, you might just want to get your handle on it; it will certainly come in handy when you need it most. It’s like using your favourite social media platform; you learn just enough of what you need so long as you can get your message across. One word of caution is that you will never learn everything about a highly effective website and never try doing that unless you are building a career around it – it’s best you leave that to the specialists and there are one too many fiercely competitive specialists in this area to choose from.
Websites are a necessity in today’s world for any traditional or modern business models. For most businesses, it’s fairly simple to have one but by just having one; is not going to take you the distance if you are serious about what you are doing.
Websites add significant value to your brand and digital real estate (presence). Hence, it’s critical that you get this aspect right – it’s almost like putting your best foot forward, and why wouldn’t you?
1. Start with research – Research your product or service or even similar ideas about what’s already available in the market. There is very little or almost none that has not been tried and tested in terms of our product or service, that you are planning to offer to the market, including community purpose-built websites. And once you have found that similarity, don’t be afraid of the competition, just get that necessary inspiration from your competition under your belt.
3. Decision time – There’s a lot available online in regards to getting you started with building your own website with very cheap or free templates/options (with drag and drop options) and you might even test it out for your first webpage, but a majority of these efforts end up in mostly dignified failures. The only achievement is you have tried and put something together to get started with your venture. The way I see it is, a lot of it is counterproductive and largely adds to false economy – a lot of time spent on things that you don’t know, which you could have spent on things that you know – which is your product and your service that you are trying to bring to the market. Ask around, do some web research, or ask your friends or family if they have had experience with web specialist’s or companies who design, build and manage websites as their core business. If you get some leads, fantastic, then practice asking the right questions before you commit to the project. As a rule, when you are searching try not to click on advertised results on search engines (I do have a mixed feeling about this issue) this depends on what specifically you are looking for, sometimes you literally have to.
4. If you can afford help, concentrate on user interface – Think about the websites that you like to navigate etc. and try to replicate that as best as you can afford, for your product or service. Ideally, you need to have your content written to rank high on search engines without compromising quality and best practice for the end user. Having all the necessary API’s (Application Program Interface) for your website, to not only look beautiful but be ready for indexing purposes, you should have a budget from a minimum of $3,500 to up to about $20,000, anywhere in between should give you a very capable website. Anything less than that is cutting corners and most times if something is too good to be true, it is usually not true and that’s where you set yourself up for undignified failures.
Remember, in the digital world its not over when you have a good website, it is in fact just the beginning. When you are negotiating with specialists try and generally get an understanding of what it is going to cost you to maintain the website (ongoing costs). Again, there are one too many specialists available in this area, so, one step at a time. Unless your business model is heavily designed around digital marketing, I would avoid any further acceleration on this front. That is unless you have other wheels of your venture in motion first