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Advice for Business Owners Buying a Website

Updated on March 13, 2018
Inter Jonny Wills profile image

Jonny has been a B2B journalist and editor and is currently a website developer while co-running a business networking organization.

Everything on Your Website Represents Your Business

Everything seen or clickable on your site is a promotion opportunity for your business
Everything seen or clickable on your site is a promotion opportunity for your business | Source

Realise That Your Website is Marketing

For me being a website marketing consultant sometimes there are wonderful clients you meet who are wallets-out ready to spend on a website; the trouble is some of them don't know what their end goal is. There is no plan that markets either themselves or the business, so I can't with good conscience take their money unless we make one.

Perhaps it says more about a quick ambition fix or even vanity if they haven't commissioned a strategy to go with it: or more importantly, see the whole thing as marketing.

I know this story well, I was there with my own music .com back in the day, pleased that the world could see me, pleased my imagination full of fans would find me, somehow.

Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy to make standalone or 'static' websites for no-nonsense sole traders that just want a calling card for say, window cleaning or gardening. They may have even done it themselves and asked for a quick once over. They may even think: "That's your job, do as I pay". At your service, as anyone you hire would be, we are comfortable giving you our bank transfer details while you pay for our time as developers, designers, copywriters et al.

But first, if a website is not marketing your business, what is it you're asking anyone to do for you then? In a sit-down consultation you would of course go through this, but to ensure you are represented professionally, you need to see the bigger picture.

Nail Your Objectives and Strategy Before Buying

With a strategy for an ongoing site you will need to practice weekly 'planning' and tactics
With a strategy for an ongoing site you will need to practice weekly 'planning' and tactics

Find a Motivating Vision and Map it Out

Do you actually want fans, followers, clients?

Would like or be able to cope with more sales and customers? Once you have established you are selling to people would you not want them to return?

Do you think they will turn up like in the film Field of Dreams where: 'If you build it, they will come'? Unfortunately for me with my vanity they didn't. Visitors to my site didn't just appear and my website didn't open the world up like magic, like I imagined it might.

Oh, I played gigs, but that's gig-goers, I didn't really think about the rest of the world or cater for people that just like to look at websites and hate gigs.

The thing is, when we think about the end result and it's consequences, we can be reticent (certainly questioning) about touting for a bigger version of our operation. We ask ourselves: Do we really want this? For we all know 100% passion is what you need to make it work.

Because once we have this motivating vision and then when we do a bit more research we find there's work to do. Then if we want our enterprise to work we have to map out a plan to get to this dream. Otherwise this is the lack of thinking things through altogether, especially when considering your website will be live and ongoing and need love.

Shop Around for a Marketing-Led Website Maker

During the consultation understand who is doing what, why and when. Then compare prices
During the consultation understand who is doing what, why and when. Then compare prices

Define Your Digital Development Roles

So returning to point no. 2 about website maker job descriptions, let's get some clarity, who are looking for to help you?

A digital marketer helping you communicate through multi-channels? Yes, but do they build websites and start you from the ground up? Will they be able to grasp your business and consolidate your message?

A website designer? But is their creation, coding, build and making sure it complements the business? Then does it dovetail with the copy and content on the pages?

Copywriter? Sorting out the words that reveal you as the expert in your field that read naturally? Of course, ascertaining a business' most wanted actions and targets and converting them to readable advertorial is a basic skill of all marketing. But are they in the same office as the designer or marketer?

Ah, so you think you might want a web developer? This can be in the same bracket as a pure coder and associated with large-scale corporate websites. This can mean they're not linked to your marketing at all, they may just be focusing on technical updates for your website. You may sign up for a protracted 'development', which without a strategy, deadline and knowing who's doing what can prove costly.

Make Sure the Copy Mirrors Your Social Media Presence

When or where the next visitor will come? Consistent response and analysis will help results
When or where the next visitor will come? Consistent response and analysis will help results

The Online Set Up Should Point to Promotion

For anyone making websites for enterprise defining a remit for the benefit of the client is crucial for trust and transparency. The remit is a crucial way a business owner can nail what they want the website to achieve, and it's important to ensure that at it's core the marketing is strong and that if there are expectations then results and deadlines are outlined.

Beacuse there are many waiting on the superhighway these days to take your money or more, lock you in to direct debit, seemingly taking advantage of those who haven't done their research or understood the perspective of their target audience.

The website is basically your business personified, among other things, delivered in the form of:

  • USPs
  • best feature
  • products
  • services
  • profile
  • artwork
  • photography
  • video clips
  • contact details
  • history
  • team

Having established all that, honed the work, proofed it and synchronised it the design and build with the copy and content plus elsewhere online, we are thus marketing. This includes everything on page, everything off (social media, links to you etc) and an updated relationship with search engines in knowing their practices, requirements, follies and foibles.

Everything involved should be pointing towards promoting your enterprise for the long haul enough content on it to keep visitors coming back. Consideration must then be made about what things you want on your site that keep it current: a blog? Gallery? Calendar? News?

Website marketing is not a term you'll see often because actually, it's mine. But it is what you are doing, and hopefully you'll see the value of making sure that websites and marketing are fused holistically in your planning.

© 2018 Jonny Wills


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