The world is trying its hardest to make web design easy. Services like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly are devoted to helping you make attractive personal sites with no coding experience and minimal risk and expense. But a personal website is different from what you need to run your business.
Small business web design will cost you, maybe more than you thought.
The Scarcest Resource: Time Is Money
The key to the cost of your new web design is time. Launching a brand new site will introduce new strains on your time that will inevitably cost you productivity and even require you to pay others to do things you don’t have time for or can’t do on your own. Keep reading for a break down of how all that time will cost you.
New Websites Always Need Troubleshooting
Bugs happen. While I always test and check important website functions like forms and form submission notifications, launching a site into the real world means introducing it to real humans. And humans are crazy. Real world users will interact with your site in unexpected ways, revealing flaws in you and your web designer’s careful work. There’s always something.
Don’t be upset by bugs when they come. Your first week of new website ownership will likely include making at least one “Please Fix!” phone call. Anticipate this trouble and work a little chaos time into your schedule. Make sure some troubleshooting is covered in your web design contract.
Web Design Projects Make Extra Meetings
Like any new project, web design uses up space on your calendar. Time you could be taking for new business development or spending with your family. And like going to the BMV, your best bet is to take time away from your business to meet your web designer at their office. Not to mention using up the time of your other staff involved in the project.
But these meetings are so worth it. They keep the project moving. They bring you face to face with your web designer. They keep the lines of communication open and make everyone more comfortable. The longer you go between face to face or phone meetings, the more uncertainty and misunderstanding creep in. Spend the time needed to succeed!
New Web Design May Require Staff Retraining
Some of those necessary meetings might be training. If it’s been a while since you had a new website, your old one may be built with obsolete tools. New tools mean new training. The staff you had delegated to do certain tasks will need to build new skills. You’ll need to pay your web designer for new training, or maybe pay for access to training videos on a site like Lynda.com.
And of course, you’ll want to consider the opportunity cost of retraining a staff member when they could be continuing with their regular work instead.
Prepare For New Monthly Fees
Why does everything just get more expensive, all the time? Buy anything new and it’s more expensive to purchase and maintain than what it replaces. The same is true of internet marketing. You’ll never find a sale on web design or email newsletters. Prices only go up.
In addition to ever-increasing design fees, the fast growth of subscription based design tools means that many important tools require monthly or yearly fees to maintain service. Improved server speed and performance cost more. Premium visitor tracking and analytics tools often have premium prices as well.
New Web Design Actually Hurts SEO (For A While)
Want to freak out a small business owner? Start talking about SEO. Something about it seems shadowy and dark, misunderstood, but necessary. Like a 90s mom with 5 Furbys in her cart, we aren’t sure what it is, but we absolutely must have it. Getting a new web design though can actually hurt your progress in getting to page one in Google Search.
New Web Design Changes Your SERPs
Any change to the core code of your site will affect your position on search engine results pages. It’s normal for your SERP position for some keywords to change. It may drop for a while and come back. Why? Google periodically visits your website to see if it’s still going strong and it loves to find consistency. The system kinda freaks out if anything changes or moves. So make sure you tell Google where you moved it to.
Make Sure You Configure Redirects
The number one thing to do to minimize disruption is something called a 301 Redirect. This is basically a table of all your old URLs matched up with the new ones and configured to communicate this important info to Google.
Why is this necessary? A new web design with a new content management system may show your URLs with a different structure. And better content practices designed to improve overall SEO might change your structure too. Like going from “yourname.com/1998/9/15/furby-mania-sweeps-nation” to “yourname.com/furby-mania-sweeps-nation”. Those dates unnecessarily lengthen the URL. Better to shorten it.
But for all Google knows it’s a brand new article. 301 Redirects make sure search engines aren’t confused about your updates. It costs nothing but time to properly complete this step so count it early in your plans.
The Cost of Abandoning Previous Strategies
A new web design is inherently disruptive. Have you considered what you leave behind when you pursue a new web design project? Depending on your site and previous marketing programs, a new one might require abandoning some work that’s still unfinished. You’re not going to sneak in a brand new design without affecting your other marketing.
While you may prefer fixing your marketing problems one by one, the best new web design project will be one element of a holistic approach that considers your overall branding, social profiles, content and email marketing, even PR.
You’ll be challenged to review your best strategies and your best performing tactics. Are they moving you in the right direction? Of the under-performers, which do you want to keep working on? Which will you let go of? And what do want to start doing?
Think about these before you meet with your web designer. New web design will ripple across your whole marketing program. What will you give up to start something new?
None of this is to scare you away from doing a brand new web design. In fact, I encourage you think about it more!
Review and take stock of your website every year and consider working with a web designer to redesign and rework your site every two years at least. So much will change in your business and in the world of communication and internet marketing that the cost of a new site is far outweighed by the cost of missing out.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm.