Have you ever experienced buying something on sale because it was cheap, but later realised that you would have been better off spending a little more to get exactly what you needed? It’s a strange situation. You feel like you’ve “bagged a bargain”, but looking back on the situation, the fact is that you didn’t save money but in fact you spent money. Not only did you spend money, but you spent it on something that you didn’t quite need. Therefore, it would have been wiser to have refrained from buying the sale item, saved that money, and put the same amount of money towards buying something you actually needed.
Websites are like that, too. Sometimes we think we are being clever by looking for the cheapest website solution, but then we realise that what we’ve chosen may not be the best solution. We recently had the experience ourselves: initially focused on monetary cost, and later focussed on value. Allow me to explain.
When we were starting out in our business, we naturally looked at doing as much as we could ourselves in order to save money. Hence why, for our first website, we decided that we could take this on ourselves. Our first website took hours and hours to develop. We looked around the web for other websites we liked the look of; we searched through hundreds of website templates to choose the right one; we bought our domain name and learned how to link it to the website host; we set up a gmail account and learned how to link it to the domain and hence have an email address at our domain name; we wrote copy; we organised the photos…. All-in-all, it was a mammoth effort!! When it was all done and dusted, we felt quite proud. We were telling friends that we created the site ourselves, and that it was a lot of work but we worked out all the technical bits ourselves. Plus, of course, we saved money!
… or so we thought.
The more we spoke with Andrew Robards about creating a new website, the more lacklustre our current website was looking. It started looking kind of crappy, if we were honest with ourselves. The images were quite small, the navigation was basic, there was too much text, and it all just looked amateur. Our target market is corporate businesses and not-for-profits, and our website wasn’t speaking to that audience.
Suddenly we weren’t feeling quite so proud of the site, and we were even shying away from telling people about it!
Andrew started explaining to us what was possible in website design, we got very excited!
When Andrew started explaining to us what was possible in website design, we got very excited! Not only did he know how to create and code a website, but he knew design and marketing very well. So, once he understood the messaging we wanted to convey, he was able to design a layout that would suit that purpose and look good.
The process involved thinking strategically about what our website needed to do. Did we want to include blogs? A gallery? Case studies? Links to social media? A contact form?
We met with Andrew several times to discuss our needs and to come up with ideas. It was a very collaborative, fun experience and Andrew knew the capabilities and limitations in what was possible for our site. So, once we had decided on requirements, it was a matter of leaving Andrew to work his magic. He managed all aspects including: mapping the domain name to the new site; spending time on the phone with the domain name hosts; bug-testing; uploading our Terms and Conditions and other legal documents; ensuring all design elements were consistent across all pages; picking out the best font for our brand and for web readability; advising on the kind of language to use for the best possible SEO outcomes; and creating navigation that was simple and intuitive.
We love how the navigation works, how the videos and images resize and respond according to what device someone is using, and we just love the design.
Having someone else manage all of this was such a relief for us! Not only did this free up our time to focus on our business, but Andrew already knew the best solutions. So, by working with Andrew we gained time and leveraged off his experience for a high quality outcome.
Now, we truly are proud of our website. We love how the navigation works, how the videos and images resize and respond according to what device someone is using, and we just love the design. It’s clean and professional, which is exactly what we wanted. We know that every aspect has been carefully thought through to be as effective as possible.
Looking back on the experience it’s been interesting to think about the importance of value. I know so many people who speak of “saving money” by doing something themselves or by picking a service purely based on cost. I realise now that value should always be the key factor for consideration. Sure, you can do something yourself, but how much time and effort will that take, and therefore take away from you working on your business? Likewise, you can pick a service provider purely based on price, but how much expertise will they give you for that price, and how much time might you spend reworking what they’ve done?
In our example, we saved money by creating our first website by ourselves, but we may have lost far more money than we saved. Who knows how many potential clients came across our website looking for our services, but clicked away because our site didn’t speak to them?
It’s easy in this world to default to picking the “cheapest” from a range of options. The intelligence is in understanding what the hidden benefits and costs may be from the range, and selecting the option with the greatest benefits and lowest costs. Plus, when you are making decisions about something that represents your business to potential clients, don’t you want to pick something that makes you look good?