Last week, we discussed Personal Investment Opportunities For Small Business Owners; today we will be talking about 7 Essential Things To Consider Before Building A Website For Your Business. We discussed these with Ayodeji Agboola – an experienced digital entrepreneur and digital marketing trainer.
Deji, how long have you been building websites?
I have been in the digital space for quite long, I started building websites after my national youth service programme in 2009. Between then and now is about 8 years of website building.
Aside building websites, what else do you do?
Naturally, after building a site, the next thing is to market that website. So we started also helping businesses advertise their websites and their businesses, i.e. online advertisement and digital marketing. Eventually, these businesses in need of online advertisements needed training to achieve these. So we moved into digital marketing and digital marketing training for businesses.
So, what are all those things we need to know before building a website?
Many times businesses say they need websites so a lot of people can see what they do, their services and goods. This decision comes out of the thinking that once there is a website a lot of their problems are solved. It is true in a sense, but there are quite a number of things businesses need to take into consideration so they don’t end up with non-functional websites. I must have built about a hundred websites in these 8 years and I have seen a pattern emerge. This pattern is what I will discuss as these 7 essentials to know.
1) If your business is about a product or service, first consider selling on social media. This eliminates incurring the cost of building a website and still gets your products and services to customers. The target audiences you want to reach are already on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can sell on these platforms.
When you have sold on social platforms, you have time to understand your business till you get to a point where you can assess if social media still meets your needs and if it is time to move on to a website.
2) This second point goes especially for service-selling businesses. In the service industry, you want to have some form of thought leadership in your field; to let people see you as one who has unique insights in what the industry does. To achieve this, you need to write regularly about the happenings in your industry and about the problems and challenges that you are solving.
This should be done on a platform where your audience can read you and comment on your articles. This is about engaging your target audience. Naturally, this is done on a blog or your website. But if there isn’t a website yet, then there are free blogging platforms that can be used to set up a free blog. Free blogging platforms include Blogger, WordPress, Medium and even LinkedIn’s free publishing platform.
3) The third point is about what I consider the most important – cost. It is what I call the total cost of ownership. I will explain this term with this example: if one buys a tin of milk and uses just some out of it for breakfast, one has to store the rest in the refrigerator so it doesn’t go bad. This action has simply increased the total cost of the tin of milk. This is so because one has to employ a refrigerator to keep it fresh, a generator (in cases where there isn’t public electricity supply) to power the refrigerator and petrol to run the generator. If it had been bought at N200, the total cost of owning that tin of milk is now more than N200. This applies to owning a website.
You need to consider how the articles you want to put out on the website will be produced. Will you hire somebody to do the writing? Will you do it yourself if you can’t hire someone? Do you have the time to write those articles? If photos are needed for the website, how are the photos going to be sourced? Therefore, the total cost of owning a website goes beyond building it. There are going to be management costs and other considerations. Websites are fantastic tools when used rightly. But one needs to know what will be involved in running the website.
To give an example, if your website is an online clothes store, total cost of ownership will include the method of acquiring display images of those clothes to be put up. Do you have a camera or you need to hire a photographer? If you have the photos already, do you upload the photos on the website yourself or you need to train someone to do that job? These are costs that need to be understood before building that online store. These costs usually take the unprepared business person by surprise. (Other costs are website hosting costs and paying for your domain name.)
4) The fourth essential point is about domain names and hosting. You only arrive here if you have finally decided that a website is absolutely important. Domain names and hosting are not complex as people think. To explain them
A domain name is simply www.abcdrycleaners.com or www.redahliaworkspaces.com
Hosting is the server (a computer) on which your website will be stored.
As much as possible, the business owner should buy the domain himself. To expand on the definitions, the domain name is like the house address pointing to a house. It points to the hosting computer (where the website is stored). It is important to buy domain name and hosting by yourself from registrars (people in charge of selling domain names), after checking for availability.
The way the internet works is that the person who buys a domain name (say abcdrycleaners.com) is considered the owner of that domain. So if you tell a website builder to purchase a domain on your behalf, but doesn’t transfer ownership of the domain to you along with the finished website (due to any number of reasons), when it is time to renew your subscription, he might no longer be available to do this.
5) After deciding to build a website, you need to write a brief on what exactly you want. You need to document what you need the website to look like, so developers don’t build what you don’t want. For example, you have to document that you want customers to be able to pay on your website, that you want an About Us page, or you want email addresses displayed, etc. This is what the web developer looks at to give a cost.
After the brief, you need to create content. Problems arise here between website owners and web designers. Because the content for the website is not available, website designers get bogged down waiting on the owner to supply text, photos and other information that the owner wants on the website. It is wrong to assume that the web designer knows what goes on the website.
6) The next step is to get a website builder. Naturally, you will look for recommendations from others and do due diligence on what works the recommendations have done before – taking into account their attention to details, graphics, etc.
7) The last point is agreeing on payment terms. A lot of times, you converse about the website building over the phone – the cost also. There is usually no way of documenting agreements reached. Therefore, it is advisable to send a text message or email to the developer listing the agreements reached and points made, and have them confirmed by the developer. It serves as a form of documentation, especially in case the project completion drags for a long time and the parties forget what agreements were reached.
These points prepare businesses or website owners to manage their websites that will function properly as planned and intended.
Join Us Next Week
This was live from Tango at ReDahlia Workspaces, 43B Emina Crescent, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja.
We are happy to give you a FREE tour of our facility anytime. We will continue featuring guests on our Facebook live videos. So if you run a successful business and want us to feature you on our platform, then send us an email on email@example.com or give us a call on 08188122223. See you next week (interactive edition) on https://www.facebook.com/redahliaworkspaces/ for another informative session.