Your website today is probably number one in being the most important marketing tool. So getting it right is essential.
Picture this: Your brand new website has just gone live. You have worked hard to pull all the elements of the design together, and finally it is released to the world. But as you soon discover, some of the functionality and design you thought would be great and would bring in a new audience, is seriously lacking. You find your website analytics show a decrease in engagement, and your donation link isn’t being clicked as much as before. You feel a rising panic.
It’s actually more common than you would think. An organisation engages a website agency to create their online ‘shop front’. They tell them the strict budget, give them basic details and leave it with them to create. The results are usually disappointing, and the corresponding bill is like being hit by a bus!
1. You Took On Technical Debt
Many organisations have a limited amount to spend on a website, and understandably, choosing to get away with what you ‘think’ is a cheaper option for your website, can turn around to be very costly and overall a bad experience.
The term ‘technical debt’ is explained simply as = ‘You chose the cheaper option, and now you have to pay a lot more money to fix it!’
The shortfall may not instantly show up, but over the space of a few months you can see that your new website is not doing what you need it to, and you’re sadly going to have to spend a whole lot more money either revamping it, or starting over with a new website.
So to break it down into a fun experiment, let’s say you have a budget of $15,000. “This is our ceiling”, you tell your web designer. So they blow it out a little by $1,000, but that’s ok you can manage that. But as you soon discover, your $16,000 website looks pretty, but it doesn’t do much of what you need it to.
You ask if you can add in a store for your products, they can do it, but it may start at an additional $10,000 depending on what you need. You need some extra plugins to make your SEO work for you, and then you need logins to integrate and talk to your CMS(Customer Management System) platform, another $5,000. It needs ongoing updates and maintenance, so you pay more than $1,000 a year on maintenance.
So over the space of 5 years, your budgeted $15,000 website has now cost you upwards of $32,000.
TOTAL – 5 YEARS
But to flip it around, let’s say you take the time to clearly work out what your organisation needs in a website for the next 5 years, you approximate your budget and weigh up future costs, talk to the right people and engage your team. This is what your website cost could actually look like –
|BUDGET||ACTUAL||Add-ons/Maintenance||TOTAL – 5 YEARS|
Taking the time to work out exactly what you need and wisely consulting with professionals who can help you understand the unique needs of your organisation, can in fact save you a lot of time, money and frustration. The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’, couldn’t be more correct in the space of website development and design.
2. You Didn’t Really Know What Functionality You Needed
Sometimes the concept of what you need in a website is a little overwhelming. There is a world of plugins, pages, blogs, online stores, and the list goes on.
Other times you just don’t know what’s available to you as an organisation. Many times great organisations know where they are heading, but either don’t know or don’t have the right tools to help get them there.
No man or organisation is an island. Smart organisations use the teams they have, source the help and resources they need to take them in the direction they need to go!
One of the most helpful things you can do is to sit with a website team who understand your organisation and work out exactly what you need and where you are heading in the next five to ten years. Get the big picture, see what that will cost you in the future, and ensure that all of the functionality you need in your website will be planned in up front.
3. Your Website Is Not Reflecting Your Organisation’s Credibility
You know the core of your organisation and everything it stands for. You know the years of hard work you’ve sown into the foundation of your business, and most of all you know that your organisation values credibility, integrity and is trustworthy. But is your website reflecting everything that your organisation is and wants to be?
A poorly designed and non functioning website reflects very strongly on your organisation.
Have you ever met someone or maybe known a friend for a while and you finally go to their home. In my experience it’s changed my perspective of who they are. I’m either surprised by how nice their home is, or shocked at how messy and unappealing it is. Call it judgemental, but this usually causes me to sum them up in a whole different way.
Excellence is a term more organisations are using. It is usually applied from front to back of every part of an organisation. Smart thinkers look at every facet of their business from the carpark to the bathrooms through to their customer service. Organisations who embrace this concept of ‘excellence’ usually find greater success by engaging ‘high-end’ clients and customers.
Ensure that your website truly reflects who you are as an organisation. Most people will go directly to your website to find out more about you after first engaging with you at a meeting, or finding you through social media. Make sure your first impression is a surprisingly good one!
4. You Rushed To Get Your Website Online
There is an urban myth that if you don’t have a website you’ve been lost in a timewarp of 1986. With the fear of being irrelevant chasing you, you understandably rushed to get your website online. Now you can breathe!
Or can you?
Many times business owners will scramble just to get some sort of identification for their business online. While it is really important to have some form of web presence, the greater importance is that you get it right the first time!
When you rush anything mistakes can be made. I recently edited a site after it had gone live, and due to a pressing deadline it hadn’t been proofread. While it looked great and there were many great functions, a few of the buttons weren’t working or were taking me to strange pages. For someone new visiting this site, it could have been a real turn off.
It is really important that when you release your new website that every button and link works and goes where it should go, and grammar and spelling have been edited. Check any shop or donation pages are properly linked, and that there are no pages still ‘under construction’. Operating a business in the middle of a construction site doesn’t really work. So make sure you take the time to check every corner of your website, that it is ready and working.
Does Your Website Need Resuscitation?
We’ve been able to work with many organisations in creating excellent websites that fulfil their unique needs. We’ve also found many non-profit organisations who just needed some help identifying where their pain points and greatest needs were. Their websites were the instigator to get some help, but that led to discovering other important areas that needed refining.
One of the most effective ways we’ve seen organisations move forward is through our strategic meetings and ‘Discovery Workshop Sessions’. These sessions are designed to identify exactly what your organisation needs, and then the steps that need to follow.
Investing in a strategic plan for your website could be exactly what your next step is.
Contact Heartburst Digital today to look over your organisations website and help you to develop a forward plan.