Budgets are always tight for small businesses and startups. Every dollar counts, so you must look for ways to save money wherever possible. When you’re going over the budget, however, take the long view of your needs rather than the quick and dirty view. Will the decisions you make now yield good results later on, or will a cost-cutting measure that looks good today bite you back later?
This is exactly what you’ll be wondering if you go with a “cheap” cookie-cutter web development platform like Wix, Squarespace, Web.com or Network Solutions. The idea seems great on the surface: you pay a low monthly fee and you can “design” your own website for yourself. So cheap! So easy!
But so risky! Here’s why:
1. Cookie-Cutter Websites Steal Your Uniqueness
One of the most important things you do in all of your marketing efforts is to point out to potential customers why you are different from everyone else. What makes your company special? What can you give them that nobody else can? A cookie-cutter website is totally at odds with this message and can blunt your marketing strategy. Since your website is often the first sales “employee” from your company that prospective clients meet, you must ensure that that their first impressions aren’t like this: “Meh. We’ve seen this before. Next!” Or, “They’re not even serious enough to get their own website? I’m outta here.” Or, “I can’t get this to load on my phone… I’m done.”
Sure. Maybe you saved money up front, but now you’ve lost clients and sales because of a poor first impression. It’s not worth it if you want to grow your business.
2. Your Website Isn’t Really Yours.
With Wix, Squarespace, etc., you’re basically renting templates and hosting from them. It’s their proprietary system and therefore, your level of control over your website is alarmingly limited. If you decide later that this website isn’t getting the results you want (leads and sales) and you want to migrate to a different platform, you’ll have to start all over from scratch. You can’t just take that website and transport it to another system. That means that even if you have built up some SEO authority from the cookie-cutter website, you’ll lose it in the starting-over process. In such a competitive online marketing atmosphere, this can spell disaster for your company!
3. SEO Invisibility
Speaking of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), cookie-cutter website’s can’t give you the help you need to achieve this essential piece to the success of your website. It’s how potential customers find you. If they type “Fabulous Sock Widgets” (or whatever your product or service is) into Google and your business isn’t listed within the first few results, your business is basically invisible. And it’s not just a matter of choosing a few pre-selected keywords from a template (which Google really doesn’t like anyway). It requires considerable market research, back end coding and constant vigilance whenever Google and other search engines change their search algorithms to shake up the game a bit. Cookie-cutter websites are simply unable to keep up with these demands and don’t give you the best return on investment for making your website visible and functional for your customers.
Cookie-cutter-canned-template websites are a bad investment for your company. They are not unique, they are not yours and they are not as flexible and code-solid as they need to be to meet the constantly shifting demands of Internet marketing.
Your company website is an investment in the future—and when you think of it as your first sales employee (who never asks for vacations or sick days), you’ll realize just how affordable it really is to do it right the first time by getting a professionally-designed, regularly optimized website that is uniquely tailored to your business objectives!
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