This really really needs to be said, and said again and again.
Let's be clear - I don't "do" websites. I could, sure. But I'm not a developer or a designer, I don't "do" web stuff, I'm not up on the codes. It wasn't until I was working at Reaction Marketing that I even learned how to use basic HTML elements to edit blog posts in a CMS (or what those acronyms even meant).
I had an interesting conversation online today with a women from Virginia who wants to create a basic but professional online presence for her clients, complete with the ability for them to receive money for their services, in 12-24 hours. In my most professional way I told her she was wrong.
What I said to her was this: If someone is going to build you a website in 12-24 hours, they're not getting to know your business well enough to create something that will last you more than a year. I'm of the opinion that having a website can be more than just online presence, and should be leveraged accordingly. Spend the time to have a website developed that suits your business and what your customers needs will be, as well as having some personality. Take the time to find the right developer and get it done right. This is one area not to skimp out on.
Now, she explained that if you have more capital in hand and know what you're going for then yes, spend the money and do it right; however everyone's had a bad website at one time and it would be better for folks with small budgets to build a site they can feel good about, get out there, make some money and then upgrade their site later. One step at a time, she said. And THEN she tells me she's actually a wellness coach, but because many of her clients have had this challenge she's in the process of adding it to what she offers, and won't tell her clients with small budgets "sorry, you really need a bigger budget and the right programmer to start". Which isn't what I said at all, actually.
Insert heavy sigh. I was about ready to go all Scott Stratten up in here, but I let it go. She didn't quite see my point. Having a website for the sake of having a website does not mean anything more than that. That's not how web development works, and it never will be. This is why I don't do websites.
Last week a former colleague of mine wrote on this exact topic, and I honestly couldn't say it better myself.
“Can anybody make a website? Yeah, probably. If you’ve got an aptitude for computers, and the ability to google, sure, you can slam out a website, easy, for cheap.
But that doesn’t mean it’s good. That doesn’t mean it’ll generate leads, or have functionality that your users depend on, or an experience that promotes your brand. It means you have a presence on the web. That’s it.
If that’s all you want, then by all means. Make your cheap easy website and enjoy, there’s nothing wrong with that.
But if you want a website that your business can do business through, if your users matter, if their experience of your online presence is important, if you want to convey the heart and voice of your brand in a digital medium, you need to know things. You need to understand things. You need to analyze, strategize, problem solve, develop, then do it again over and over.
That’s what the company I work for offers. We’re not here to give you a cheap easy web presence, we’re here to advance your business. If you want a cheap easy site, we are not the company for you. We’re not a production house.
Please, stop treating creative agencies like they merely exist to make your cheap easy website for you because you don’t have the time. We have incredibly talented people who are applying skills you don’t have in a manner you are not qualified to do. That is worth something. To the right business, that can be worth everything.”
— FAYE POLSON, WEB DEVELOPER
A can-do attitude and a little know-how can get you a website, sure. However, a quick and easy website is not equal to quick and easy web development. There is no such thing.
Web development takes time. Proper web development takes a metric shitton of research. It takes hours upon hours of backend work to code excellence and beauty into a site that can build more than just an online presence - it will generate leads, it will build commerce, it will take your business to the next level. It takes more than a Wix account and 12-24 hours. Investing in your business' website can do incredible things. I can guarantee with next to absolute certainty that, when developed and strategized and leveraged by professionals, your website can and will build a long-term ROI for your business. That's how you do it right. That's how web development works.