Just saw a question on Alignable about web design and small businesses, and thought I would post the question here and my response. Let me know what you think:
Why is it that most small business owners do not research the difference between 100% custom, and template based websites?
1. Small businesses run on a tight budget…a fully newly written website coded just for them is not usually an option, and yes they are way more expensive than using a WordPress theme for example.
2. WordPress has some great templates and themes that are fully functional for small businesses and allows them to incorporate all the features that they need, the site looks custom, and they also able to optimize for SEO using relevant keywords.
A good WordPress developer will take the tools and make them work effectively. I would not suggest to small businesses that they use Wix or other similar template options as yes, they are restrictive and yes they typically do not look professional and on a long term basis they end up expensive and ineffective.
3. I do not believe that anything is better than nothing…a dated, badly designed website will turn clients off and stop them from calling your company. It makes your company look inefficient and out of touch with todays world.
4. It is not because business owners are apathetic (read some of the comments below before I responded) and to be honest, I think that is an insult to most small business owners. A small business owner cannot know everything! Like any business professional they need to delegate when they do not have the relevant knowledge. In fact, the sign of a great manager and owner is the ability to delegate and to accept that they do not have all the answers. It has nothing to do with being unwilling to learn or to expand their repertoire.
5. Being a small business owner is challenging at the best of times and the owner needs to focus on what they do best…serving and supporting their clients. Web design is not a skill that most small business owners have in their arsenal. Doing due diligence on picking a web designer is based on a variety of things…location, price, value for money and customer service are used just to begin with. These are the things that most small business owners understand irrelevant of the product and service that they are selling themselves.
6. Referrals are the best way to find a contractor/web designer and small business owners recognize this. That is why Alignable is such an awesome tool and networking site for all small business owners.
Let me know what you think…either via comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!