Doing so, could be the most important business decision you ever make!

Having worked in the IT industry for the past 5 years, it’s clear that there is a correlation between investment and your online presence. While you may employ an individual or company to build you a website, you must see this as a long-term investment rather than a one off purchase that’s not going to lead to something great.

Website As An Investment

Your website is an extension of your business and just like any other facet (its products/services), it needs to generate money and prove to be a sound return on investment (ROI). During my time in this industry, I have seen people thinking of their website as a one-off purchase and leading them to nowhere. This has happened so many times now that it really began to scare me.

How could someone build a website for an individual, company or business without lead generation, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or design factors built into a Project Proposal?

You MUST consider your website an investment – something that’s going to assist you in growing your wealth and future in its lifetime. It’s too easy to build someone a website, hand it over and say: “there you go!” Forget thinking about how people will find the site online, any associated marketing or how the website will work for both the business and more importantly, its customers. Sadly, I see this in my line of work each day.

By treating your website as an investment, as opposed to another transaction, you are almost guaranteed success. And when I refer to ‘an investment’, I mean planning it all out correctly. You need to lay down some money upfront (sorry to say), liaise with a company who cares about you, your goals and your industry, have a thorough Project Proposal complete with goals on-hand, set deadlines and consider functionality aspects, add-ons while having a working SEO strategy that is mapped out.

Ensure your web developer or agency is responsible in some way for your website’s long-term success factoring in lead generation and conversions. This stuff isn’t difficult to achieve, especially through the use of a CMS such as WordPress (it powers 24% of all internet websites for a reason!), a powerful host, professional email addresses, ongoing maintenance/appropriate website care, identifying market gaps to compete in, branding and clean/sleek design.

Most importantly: you need a mobile and Smartphone friendly website. It’s essential – I cannot stress this last point enough.

Here are some questions to think about:

1. Has the web company or agency engaged with me? Have we had an initial meeting? Do they know my vision or my company’s ‘why?’

2. Has a long-term, organic search engine optimisation (SEO) plan been presented? Is it locally sourced and do I have complete access to this information? Has it been explained to me so that I can understand if it’s working?

3. Has a Project Proposal Document been submitted to me, covering the essential aspects of the website such as: functionality, my target market, industry scope, pricing, deadlines, SEO implementation, design, lead generation and legal jargon?

4. Has a designer mocked-up a clean design of what the website will look like in its finished form? Is my website not only functional but user-friendly enough for the average person?

5. Finally, what processes have been put into place to ensure I have ongoing support for updates, maintenance, back-ups and security of my website? Like any purchase, you’ll want to be armed with peace of mind that if you’re investing serious money here, that it will be maintained over the course of its lifetime.

Any serious business doesn’t overlook its online presence and all of the above elements play a key role in its success. Always look for local suppliers, be prepared to invest more upfront (doing this from the get-go always results in long-term success and less money spent down the line to clean up the mess) and demand to know the company you have employed, their policies, their vision and what you can expect from them moving forward.

Armed with this advice, you can ensure you and your website/business visions align correctly. And of course, you will have a healthy, happy and profitable business with an online presence that lasts.