Salveson Consulting specializes in high-tech services for low tech industries.

Our clients include small industries and old-school businesses whose expertise lies in manufacturing and serving traditional, blue-collar markets.

THE BIG SECRET

Suffice it to say that a business without a website is like a business without a telephone -- it is a requirement for doing business effectively. I will show you the secrets of keeping website costs under control.


Most developers recommend a site built on the Wordpress platform, and there’s a good reason for this -- it keeps them busy with constant maintenance and monitoring. An amazing array of themes and plug-ins allow it to be customized further to perform almost any task you can think of. If you have a significant budget for IT, Wordpress is your baby.


But for those whose businesses don’t rely solely on their website, it is overkill. A properly developed and maintained site can easily cost thousands per year in labor alone. You need regular backups, you need someone you can call when something goes wrong. You’re at the mercy of people who speak a language you don’t understand - technobabble.

Combine this with an uncertainty of the value to your particular business, and it is understandable why many are still lacking in online presence.


The surprising answer

The answer is to use a website builder such as Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace. For a budget between $10 - $50/month you can have the website you need and not have to worry about an IT budget beyond that.


Each service has its individual strengths and weaknesses, but they are all fairly easy to use and come (necessarily) with a number of common advantages, the greatest of which is not having to worry about your website crashing -- or paying emergency rates to fix it when it does.

These companies employ large IT staffs who look after the service 24/7. They are careful not to implement changes without thorough testing. They maintain complete server backups to restore your site in the event of a catastrophe. They worry about and patch security vulnerabilities. You just pay your monthly fee.


Another benefit is the ability to edit your website on your own. If you’re fairly comfortable on a computer, you can easily make changes, add photos or videos, change prices, post specials, whatever you want. Wordpress allows that ability too, but it is far more difficult to use for anything beyond basic text edits.


What do you need me for?


Well, you can buy everything you need to build a house at Home Depot. If you’re confident you can pull it off, more power to you! Like building a house, building a website isn’t rocket science. But skill and experience can be the difference between success and failure.


You need me to be the architect and builder. You may need me to do some remodeling from time to time. You will want my advice where and when to spend money on other Internet marketing activity.  (As much as I hate to admit it, Facebook is a powerhouse for marketing local businesses. You may want some help understanding how to use it effectively).


Are these websites as nice as a custom designed site?


For the most part, yes. The aesthetic design of a site is important, but it’s primary function is to present your content (information) effectively. These web builders offer hundreds of designs and implement the “latest tech features” like video backgrounds and photo sliders.

The artwork you supply and the techniques you use to implement it into these existing templates are the key to an attractive (and effective) website.


Will my website rank well on Google or other search engines?


The cold, hard truth is that it probably won’t unless you make that a priority and fund it accordingly. Your ranking depends primarily on the traffic your site receives and the quality of the content, not to mention how many other sites refer their visitors to your site.


You can’t really expect “Small Town Bakery” to pop up first whenever someone searches for “bakery.” Or can you? With the advent of location services, your bakery could/would be pushed to the top of the Google results within a certain area or zip code due to relevance. Let me know if you need some help setting up your location so Google knows where you are.

What’s the downside?

Customizability. There are limits to what these web builders can do. But consider this scenario…

“The boss want’s feature xxx on our website!”
“Sorry, the (Wix/Weebly/Squarespace) platform can’t do that.”
“Crap.”


Compare with Wordpress:

“Sure we can add that feature! Let me talk to our programmer and get you an estimate.”
“It’s going to be how much? I’d better call a meeting and get back to you.”

“Okay, we had the meeting and decided it would cost too much. The boss is upset, but the board stands behind the decision.”

The bottom line
Most businesses don’t need more than a basic website. Yes, you can sell things and accept credit cards on what I’m calling a basic site. You can host videos, have discussions, take reservations, chat and more. The limitations are in how these elements are implemented -- if you don’t like it, tough.

But if you can live with that, you can save a lot of money that would be better spent on developing an online marketing strategy and communication plan.


Any of these tools give you everything you need for online success. Unless you’re competing with Amazon or eBay, you’ll never likely never see a point where the limitations of your web builder website are holding you back.


The other bottom line

Success in marketing online depends almost entirely on your participation. It is up to you to provide content that is useful to your customers. You will need photographs. You will need information on your products and/or services. Testimonials are a nice touch, case studies, informative articles in your area of expertise all help build your site into a useful resource.


Not to belabor the point, but your web designer/developer cannot do this for you (unless you budget a week’s worth of on-site interviews and photography). You will need to contact your suppliers to use their artwork and logos.


To a point, the more you put into it, the better the result. The less you put in, the more disappointed you will be in your “wasted” investment.