As a Web Designer I guess you would expect me to be rather vocal about the benefits of having a website and insisting that a website is a ‘must have’ for every business in existence. Well, to the contrary I often surprise my clients by actually questioning their decision to jump into the deep end and commit hundreds of dollars on setting up a website – and I want to explain why.
You see, to me having a website is a bit like owning a pet – bear with me on this analogy…
Just as the RSPCA insists on interviewing prospective pet owners before handing over a new fur-baby into a family, I like to be upfront with prospective clients on what the future requirements are once committing to becoming a website owner.
Whether it is a Great Dane or Greyhound, a pedigree or a mutt you can be sure that there is a dog out there for everyone, not to mention the purrfect feline friend. However, just because it seems that everyone else has a pet, it does not automatically follow that YOU should have one too.
With Ownership, Comes Responsibility
Face it pets – just like websites -require ongoing care and attention to reach their full potential. Sure, you do not have to feed your website and take it for walks every day, but you certainly cannot just expect it to sit ignored in the corner and perform at its best. Unfortunately, however, this is what often happens when business owners jump on the website wagon without committing to any ongoing care and maintenance of the site. I am sure we have all come across websites that contain out-of-date information, graphics that scream “made in the 90’s” and out-dated links that lead to nowhere. Each of issues show a lack of professionalism, and can often lead viewers to question the site owner’s commitment to their business – certainly not a positive form of advertising in my opinion.
Still with the pet parallel, let’s talking about immunisations and worming treatment. Those regular responsibilities that pet owners undertake to ensure the ongoing health of their furry companion. As pet owners, we accept that keeping on top of these regular requirements often prevents bigger (and more expensive) issues from arising. Well, yes, you guessed it … websites are much the same. Ensuring that software updates are regularly carried out, plug-ins are updated and hyperlinks are checked are just a few ways of keeping your website healthy and looking its best.
The good news is though, that just as there are specialists who can tend to the ongoing needs of your pets, there are also those of us who specialise in the ongoing maintenance of websites – thankfully though for you the client, web management is nowhere near as expensive as vet bills.
A Website is a Long Term Commitment
I could go on with the whole pet/website analogy, but I am sure by now you get the drift of where I am heading with this. Deciding to become the owner of a website comes with responsibilities that need serious consideration. Just like those cute furries a lot of us own, our websites need ongoing financial and time commitment to enable them perform to their best, otherwise they risk becoming outdated, non-operational and an embarrassment to our business.
There is no argument that having an online presence is extremely beneficial for businesses – after all being discoverable online is definitely a requirement in this day and age. However, whether you choose your presence to be via a self-managed Facebook Business page or a professionally run website – make sure you are choosing the option that suits your business best in the long run and know what you are getting into before you make a financial, and emotional, commitment.
If you are unsure of what steps you should take in relation to gaining the right online presence for your business, feel free to get in touch with me – I’m happy to discuss the many options with you in detail.