Inna Needasite owns a small coffee shop off Wellitsgoingok Blvd. She was told that getting a website will increase her exposure and drive more customers to her little shop, and that behold, this small cheaply attained thing that everyone is doing, will double revenue stream for her. “You can do it yourself easily or you can just to go to a web development company and tell them you need a site. It’s cheap and easy!” they said. Inna hurried, contacted a company with a good reputation expecting an easy, breezy answer with an affordable tag. But instead, she receives a questionnaire. All confused, Inna filled out the questionnaire, wondering what SEO is and why would she need it and how is it different from CEO, which she knew she was. Then came a hefty quote that frustrated Inna Needasite and scared her off.
A few weeks later, Inna rolled up her sleeves and jumped into trying to build a site herself. She knew that her coffee shop off Wellitsgoingok needed a site and she was determined to get one. After realizing that building a website requires certain understanding of HTML, CSS, Photoshop, and much more Inna spent $300 on buying books. After many hours of work and many sleepless nights, Inna has gotten nowhere. She is now even more frustrated and feels that she may not be made for these new globally competitive markets that destroy little players like herself. After all the time and money spent, Inna gives up and returns back to not having a site and a bit of resentment towards any designer or developer that walks into her shop.
You probably heard this story before or were a part of one. It is hard out there when you are a little guy with a limited budget and all the desire to grow. But what can you do to make this situation a lot less painful and more profitable? Well, let’s talk about it
First of all, think about why you need a website. Are you trying to put your little coffee shop on the map and attract more customers? Are you trying to increase awareness about your cause? Are you interested in providing an online service? How do you think you can accomplish your goal?
Let’s return back to Inna for a second and use her as an example. What would be her goal? As you know, Inna wants to attract new customers through her site. And here is how Inna can accomplish this
- Provide a description of specials she offers
- Describe and show the study/work space
- Provide shop hours, location and contact information.
- Announce her new wifi network and how to get VIP access
Those are some basic things that Inna can do. And from this list, Inna should realize that she doesn’t need a complex all-out website. She simply needs an information page or two. She can easily create a simple site with an existing template for Content Management Platforms like WordPress. Now to put her store on maps and into search engines will be a little more complex and yet still attainable without the help of big SEO guns. There is a difference between coming up in a local search for a coffee shop versus dominating search results on coffee making. We’ll talk about that in another post.
Inna’s situation is pretty straightforward but it doesn’t mean that every website out there could be that easily handled. Let’s say Inna gets herself a website with a prepaid template and builds two pages. They are simple, contact and about pages. Times goes by and Inna realizes that her customer base has grown and she is now able and willing to invest more into the site to provide a valuable service to her customers; services such as after-hours orders for a batch of cookies and coffee delivery for a morning meeting, contact form for coffee distributors, employment opportunities, etc. This is where she would need to talk to a professional.
I am not trying to say that you may always need to start your website yourself and only if it successful, approach a web development company. It all depends on your needs. Here is a simple rule of thumb, if you need to share simple information only, and nothing that interacts with visitors or an outside website (contact forms, feedback, orders, etc, Google maps) you are most likely OK with getting a pre-maid template. Otherwise, you should contact a web development company that can help you with it. I will talk about what you need to know and understand before contacting a web development company in my next post.