So you’re probably thinking that your small business needs a new website. And that’s great that you’re thinking about it.
But before you dive head first into the world of creating a new site, you first need to sit back and figure out if you really need that new website or not.
Yes, even if you think you need a new website right now, you might actually not really need one. Instead, maybe you just need to spruce up your current website or what’s working for you right now is good enough.
So before you start to spend hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars on building a new website, let’s walk through some questions to figure out if you actually need a new website or not.
Do you currently have a website?
So the first question here is the easiest: do you currently have a website for your small business? If the answer is yes, then you can continue reading further.
But if your answer is no, then you really probably need a new website. Let’s face it, we are in the midst of an increasingly online world. The current pandemic situation has only made that quicker. And once we get through this, the odds are that we’re going to stay online more, especially with our shopping.
So your business needs to be online as soon as you can if it’s not already. And you need to have your own website that you can control. It will help you get found faster with search engine optimization, especially in local searches that really matter. And you can sell products or generate new leads too.
And the good news is that your first website doesn’t have to be super fancy or anything. You can sign up for basic hosting, install WordPress, pick a cool WordPress theme, install some plugins and then you’re on your way. Or you could use something like Wix, Squarespace or Shopify. You do have a ton of options that don’t cost thousands of dollars.
But getting your business online is a big priority if it’s not already.
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Does your website look modern?
Next, if you do have a website, take a look at it. What does it look like? Is it inviting for new visitors to come in and learn more about what you do or sell and to buy from you? Or does it look like it was built back in the mid 2000s or even, gasp, in the 1990s?
The design of your website plays a pretty big part in converting people to be customers. People like to see images and to be able to read what you have to say. And usability (and accessibility as well) are also crucial parts. If people can’t easily navigate and use your website, they are going to leave.
Hint: If you still somehow have a flash website, it’s high time that you build a new, beautiful HTML website.
Plus, on the back end there have been some pretty big changes between the new HTML 5 markup and how search engines index websites. If your website is older than 10 years, you need to be serious about creating a new website.
It might just be the best way to refresh your branding and bring your online presence to the 2020s.
Is your website converting customers?
At the end of the day, the goal of any website is to convert visitors into customers. Now, what defines a conversion and customer depends on each business. It might be as simple as getting someone to make a purchase from your site or getting them to sign up for a service. Or it could be getting them to sign up for your newsletter or become a member of the site.
Whatever your end goal is, you need to make sure that your website is completing that goal and “converting” customers. If it’s not, then it’s probably a really good idea to entertain the idea of creating a new website that is built to do just that.
If you don’t know if your website is converting customers, that’s also a bit of a problem. You likely don’t have analytics set up, which could give you insights into figuring out if your website is working. You can tell if there’s a problem getting people to your website, or if there’s a problem getting people through your sales funnel.
So if you’re in that situation, get Google Analytics going on your website, wait a month, take a look at the data you get and then figure out if your website is converting customers or not.
Do you need a new website?
Can your business do everything you need to do with the website?
Another thing to look at is whether or not you can do everything you need to do with this website.
Depending on what happens with your business, you might outgrow your website. For example, if you initially set up a Wix or Squarespace website when you first started because that’s what worked for your budget, that website might not be right for you anymore. Maybe you want to start blogging, but you can’t because it doesn’t really allow for it.
Similarly, maybe now you’re wanting to sell online, but you’re in a spot where you can’t do that with your current website. Or you want to start a membership section.
In any of those cases, you’re going to need a new website that’s built so that you can do what you need to do with your site. And it’s probably an even better idea to go ahead and build it out so that it can easily be expanded in the future (like building with WordPress to blog so that you can add an ecommerce solution easily later if need be).
Are there technical issues with your website?
Also, are you having issues on your website that you can’t fix on your own or require a lot of work to fix. So this doesn’t include image issues, text issues, content issues or anything like that.
Instead, these are issues that inhibit your ability to either add in content or display content. Or they might even be issues that cause your website to go down every now and then. At this point, your best bet would likely be to just burn it all down (so to speak) and then rebuild it all back up correctly to avoid these issues.
Also, if you’re having problems with your website’s page speed, which is becoming more and more of a priority with search rankings these days, you might want to see about getting a new website that’s built in a better way. There are sometimes when you’ve exhausted all of the tips from Google PageSpeed Insights where a new website built from the ground up in a better way is the only option.
And speaking of SEO, if your website’s underlying code is hurting your SEO for whatever reason, it’s also a good time to think about a new website. Again, creating something from the foundation up that’s geared towards SEO and all of the other good practices can be your only option.
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Can your business afford a new website?
Another thing you probably need to take into consideration is whether or not you can afford a new website, and a website that does what you need it to at that.
A completely custom website, you know the one you might be dreaming about, costs a lot of money. If you want a custom website design with an online store, you’re probably looking at $2,000 as a starting point. And the reality is that it might be closer to $5,000 when all is said and done.
That’s probably a jarring paragraph if you’ve never researched website prices before. And it can be pretty daunting too, especially if you don’t have the ability to afford that.
The good news is that there are other ways to create a website that don’t cost quite as much, though you might lose out on the completely customizable website. There’s always the Wix, Squarespace and Shopify option. And then there’s also using a content management system like WordPress or Drupal and then installing a prebuilt template or theme and adding a few plugins. Both of those options might cost you a couple of hundred dollars.
But before you charge headlong into creating a new website, make sure you know the cost and if you can afford it. It will set you up for success later on.
Is this website helping your business?
Finally, what this all really boils down to is this: is your website helping your small business? If you know that the answer is yes, then you’re fine. You might just need to refresh a few things, but you’re in a really good spot.
But if the answer is no for whatever reason, this it’s time to get serious about creating a new website for your business.
Because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. The purpose of a website is to help your business grow. Whether it’s just getting people to sign up for your newsletter, helping people discover that your business exists or something more complicated like selling products online or generating leads for your services.
And if your website isn’t doing that for your business, you need a new one. You need to sit down with a web agency or developer and walk through creating a new website that does what you need it to do. You need to start from the ground up to create something that becomes almost like an around-the-clock employee.
When everything is said and done, that is the reason you need a website for your business.