Small businesses face a “chicken and the egg” situation when investing in a website because the best websites are expensive. Many new businesses want to know what are the alternatives to websites?
It’s a question that inexperienced entrepreneurs shouldn’t tackle without a P&L (profit and loss) and marketing plan to weigh the odds and plan the outlay of resources.
There are Band-Aid options but you will need the skill, patience and daily time to market yourself online without the big website. In the end, you may do twice the work without the results because website skill goes beyond design to function and search-engine receptive websites.
You Can’t Have One Without the Other
You often can’t have one without the other: business without a website or a website without business to promote.If you’re not online, people can’t find you and can’t find your business.
Without a website your services and products aren’t seen by the very people who are searching for them. What’s a struggling startup to do?
When to Build and Why
A website is generally the largest, most expensive marketing piece any business owner holds. People will see in on mobile devices possibly more than viewing it on a computer. Its visuals had better match what the target likes and its message had better be clear.
If it’s the last piece put into a marketing basket, it will work much harder than if it was the first element built.
Regardless of whether very large or very small business owners, inexperienced entrepreneurs or decades-savvy owners with multiple streams of income: No business should go into debt for a website without certainty that the investment can yield the return.
FYI: The properly built, carefully marketed website will work IF there’s a demand for what’s being marketed. Don’t build a website for anything if you aren’t certain. Many people have come to The Marketing Square with wonderful ideas for websites without marketing plans, P&L. Plan first. Research first.
The Marketing Square will help business owners determine best practices and timelines for website success. A marketing plan with a P&L will determine whether the website can definitely return on the investment. If a business needs direction, CPAs can be recommended and marketing plans can be created.
Revenue is the Goal of a Website Build
In some cases the price, quality, demand of a product or service will outweigh the return on investment for a website. As an advertising and a website agency, it’s only responsible to be straight with prospects.
Maybe the item will be sold well at a low price with expected high volume, but there is no demand. Maybe the competition will beat prices at every turn. Maybe there’s a corner on the market for a service as the lone provider.
Research will decide if there is a market for your product and online research for a service/product/business provides answers and a road map for rushed owners who need revenue now instead of relying on patience and time and a plan for success.
It’s best to have multiple sources of revenue coming in and planned for so the demand for products can withstand ups and downs in the market. Strong and steady wins the race, but demand and return combine with investment in advertising.
The investment in an advertising-based, WordPress website built by experts will provide a return the website will pay for itself and its monthly marketing.
Now, compare that to a homemade, barely functioning, unprofessional website on an unpopular platform and it will not yield high economic returns. Image is everything, quality websites matter. You will get out of it what you put into it and more. This is why a DIY website isn’t the way to go.
Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace, GoDaddy.com are $5 or $10 a month websites that will allow a presence, but a discount, low-end website performance. It’s better to wait until a quality website becomes affordable.
When people search for your website what they see online is what they’ll get from your business. When your website opens to a prospective client for the first time, you want it to provide everything that your new business offers with vibrant visuals and compelling copy that sells for you 24 hours a day.
What Are the Online Alternatives?
Social media accounts can give a business a very strong online presence with a professional photo, a nice logo and basic graphic design. Your social media will need to be built up over time and it’s a great idea to build it first.
Before setting up Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Google Plus, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, InstaGram, Vimeo and other social media, first invest in a professional photo and logo. The photo is worth its price and photographers can make you shine.
Next, begin by creating uniform graphics based on your logo. Use the colors, the fonts and the graphics that are identifiable across all platforms so that clients can recognize the company.
Most important: have a business e-mail address and phone number so that prospects, buyers and clients can contact you.
When you have the professional picture, logo, phone, e-mail and an array of pictures of your business and products, go to YouTube and search for step by step instructions on how to create the social media accounts.
You’ll learn by doing. It’s easy and if you get stuck, find a friend to help. If you can open an e-mail account, you can open a social media account. You can add your name, profile, e-mail and phone so that people may contact you.
Have many pictures available to post on the social media accounts and use a wide range of pictures when you build the accounts. It’s important not to duplicate photos during the setup. Use various pictures across all social media so that a wide range can be on display.
Open as many accounts as you know you can manage and respond regularly. Post daily, post often, post on all accounts–not only your favorite social media.
Social media accounts may be your first online experience and here your competence and professionalism are important. Follow, like, share, reblog, post and interact with other people and businesses on your social media accounts.
When you do build your new website you can link the social media to the site for valuable backlinks to help the traffic.
After Social Media is Built, Invest in a Website
Websites and marketing or advertising handled by professionals will always benefit a business and return revenue on the investment. So in answer to the rhetorical question, which comes first the website or the business to pay for the website…it’s a professional decision that the website should come first.
There are solid social median profiles that can be created. Use Google’s Blogger free blogging platform because cheap websites risk the reputation of your business. You can’t risk business image because a bad website experience could lose a client in the end.
First, Invest in a Marketing Plan
Before opening a franchise, coffee shop, online store, business run from your home, FIRST, invest in a marketing plan, then in a website that best represents the business built by professionals to advertise your business. In the end you’ll get out of a website what you put into it.