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If you’re looking into launching a website for your side hustle or small business don’t go it alone.
There are tons of services and products that offer you the tools to create your own website at a low cost. That’s assuming all you want is a website.
But you’re not really looking for just a website.
You’re looking to achieve a specific goal. A website is just a tool.
Defining your website goals
Before you even get started on a website you should know what your end-game is.
Do you want to get more leads for your business?
Do you want to grow your market by selling products online?
Are you looking to build authority for your brand?
These are just a few examples of the different goals a website can help you accomplish. And they all require different knowledge.
A page builder isn’t going to help guide you optimize your website for achieving these goals. It’s not going to inform you that if you’re capturing leads you may be liable to protect user data from the European Union1. Or teach you some of the best practices for generating high conversion rates.
What a professional provides
The professional’s job is to guide you through the process of defining requirements for your project. Then performing the tasks needed to generate your desired outcomes. And giving you ways to measure the results.
A web professional will help you define the goals for your web project and provide you with the solutions to achieve them.
You’d be pretty angry if you had a house built and walk in to find no bathrooms. Only to be told you didn’t specifically ask for a bathroom and you’re out of budget. So the best they can do is put an outhouse in out back.
A web professional is going to help you determine all your needs up front so there aren’t surprises later in the game. They will help guide you through the process so you can be confident you’re going to get your desired results.
The web is constantly evolving
Let’s say you do go ahead and build your website on your own. You still need to have a plan to manage the ongoing maintenance needed for a website.
You’ll need to keep all the software your site is running up to date. That includes any software like WordPress or any themes and plugins. If you fall behind on updates your site could become vulnerable to hackers.
You’ll also need to keep an eye on your page speed to make sure things are up to snuff with the current web standards. You don’t want to be the site that uses 10% of a user’s data plan in one visit to load a giant image they never even scroll down to see. That’s like taking money out of their pocket.
Finally, the web is a constantly evolving ecosystem. As more people take to the web new regulations and guidelines pop up for things like accessibility and data protection. A professional can help you guide the murky waters of things like the new European Union GDPR. Which you need to account for unless you’re blocking traffic to all of Europe.
It’s a lot to keep up with even for a web professional working in the ecosystem everyday. If you’re just dipping your toe in on the side it becomes even harder.
I write about the web frequently and I’m stressed out thinking about how GDPR is going to effect all of my sites.
A good web professional is going to be proactive and help you plan for these outcomes.
Believe me, I know the price makes it tempting to go alone. And as a developer I’m under a constant struggle to keep myself from just rolling my own solution.
But then I think about the opportunity cost. Sure I could build my own social media post scheduler. But that would take hours of my time I could be sinking in to more productive work.
And there’s always the inevitable point where I realize this is more complicated than I originally thought. Next thing I know I’m at double the time I had initially planned.
Don’t be afraid to get help when you’re building your website. It may cost more now, but it could save two-fold down the road.