Websites? Everyone has one right? Something we all know but when it comes to the technical jargon and design of a website, most entrepreneurs are novices. More than 10 years ago, when I was on the verge of starting JTB Consulting, one of the key aspects I had to consider was the design of a Website. Selling services and not products meant I had to have something tangible to convey to potential clients. And a website was that first tangible component of my start-up business.
A Synopsis of the Lessons I Learned:
The first route I took – having thought I were the ‘Jack of all Trades’ – was to use cheap software to design the website myself. How hard could it be, right? Having spent 2 weeks ‘teaching myself the basic website design skills’, I jumped into the deep end of an unknown world and started the design. Another 2 weeks of sweat, tears and frustration later, I had something that I could publish to the world. Was the website perfect? No! Was it functional? Yes. Did it provide me with a sales tool to use during those early days of calling on prospects? You bet!
As the years went by, I soon realised that I needed a more responsive, professional-looking and most importantly, Google-friendly website that would not only ensure Top Page Rankings on Google, but would not require my involvement to try and achieve this goal! So the logical next step was to search the market for the endless number of Website Designers and in most cases, So-Called Website Designers out there.
Supplier 1 costed me R80,000 and a lot of empty promises!
Supplier 2 costed me R50,000 and more empty promised with no results.
It was only 5 years later having stumbled across the best Supplier that would fit my needs and business (which I only realised after numerous grueling vetting and Q&A sessions) that JTB Consulting’s website managed to reach the status of being a Responsive Website, i.e. professional and user-friendly experience across all devices and platforms. What’s more, JTB’s website have managed to reach 1st Page Rankings on Google for the past 3 years. But it took endless frustration! Thousands of Rands! Hard lessons learnt! Interviewing numerous wannabe website designers that would lie to your face and that was just out to make a quick buck!
Lessons That You Can Learn:
What I have learned can be summarised in the following 5 key lessons:
- Google Recommends: Google is the primary search engine which single-handedly monopolised the search engine market, so it is a smart move to love what Google loves. Google not only recommends Responsive Websites but also favours the mobile optimised sites for searches on the mobile device. Even from the SEO perspective, a single website is much better than a separate website for mobile and desktops.
- Website Many Devices: Responsive Websites provides easy navigation and seamless transition between different screen sizes and multiple devices. You can check for something on the mobile device and yet continue to the same website on the desktop without hampering the user experience.
- Ask the Right Questions: Read up on the industry jargon and ask the right questions to prospective website designers. Don’t be fooled by flashy websites, industry jargon, and a lot of promises. If what they are selling sounds too good to be true, it is! If you are in the market to buy empty promises, by all means, go ahead. But if you are in the market to partner with a reputable and results-oriented designer, then take the time and effort to ask the tough questions. Don’t waste your money. A website is an investment and you need to right partner to achieve the returns on that investment that is your website.
- Speed is the Deal Breaker: The content on the web page should load under/between 2-3 seconds according to Google Developers. This gets tricky for a desktop website to load fast on the move, but it is also observed that people often don’t wait long enough for the site to load. Optimise your web media to load quicker.
- Responsive Websites Is a Money Saver: Responsive web design calls for one single website across all devices, thus the extra expenses of maintaining two separate sites are cut down. Furthermore, a complicated, well-crafted responsive design can be expensive, but once published, you can easily maintain it. Taking care of separate desktop and the mobile site requires having separate Google AdWords campaigns, SEO campaigns, and separate Google Analytics reports. Managing one site is, of course, far easier than managing two sites, it’s just simple mathematics.