Editor's Note: This post was originally published in January 2014 and was updated with additional information in August 2023.
Unfortunately, there are numerous website design and development blunders that are sending the website budgets of many businesses—even those with the best of intentions—right down the toilet! Follow along with our latest digital marketing infographic to discover the reasons why so many businesses are wasting their marketing budget and, more importantly, how you can avoid flushing yours down the drain. It's a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but we wouldn't have it any other way!
Common Website Budget Pitfalls
Running a small business in 2023 means carefully managing every dollar, and one significant expense to consider is your website. Many businesses wonder, "How much does a website cost?" The truth is the cost to build a website can vary widely depending on factors like web design, website builder choice, and ongoing website maintenance. Unfortunately, some small businesses end up throwing their website budget down the drain due to common pitfalls.
The Vital Importance of Your Website
There aren't very many businesses that have disposable cash that they can just flush down the toilet without a second thought. We've gathered a few facts from around the digital world to help you make informed decisions about the design and development of your website. The unfortunate part about businesses that flush their website budget down the toilet the first time is that they're reluctant to try it again, either because they're worried they'll make the same mistakes or that it isn't worthwhile. You've probably heard us say it before, but just in case you haven't, your website is still vitally important to digital marketing success.
Maximizing Your Website Investment
When it comes to maximizing your website investment, there are several key factors to consider, especially for business owners looking to build a new website or improve their existing online presence.
Firstly, your choice of a website builder or professional website designer plays a crucial role. Depending on your needs, you may opt for a website builder to save on costs or hire a professional website designer for a more customized and tailored solution. Consider the type of website you need, whether it's an ecommerce website, a custom website, or a simple informational site.
Once you've decided on your approach, there are other costs associated with website development that you should factor in. These may include domain name registration, website hosting, and ongoing website maintenance costs. Be sure to budget for these expenses to avoid surprises down the road.
Moreover, a well-designed website not only enhances your online presence but also improves the user experience, reducing your website's bounce rate. A lower bounce rate means that visitors are more likely to stay on your site and engage with your content. This is crucial for business owners aiming to convert website visitors into customers or clients.
Beyond Copywriting: Design & Optimization
These days, great, error-free copywriting is (or should be) the standard for creating content. It goes without saying that there's plenty of bad content out there. However, just because the content is well-written doesn't mean it's great. A digital content creator must be a great writer, a good marketer, have expansive SEO knowledge, and, as discussed above, have design skills (or at least a good eye for design and access to a designer). If it sounds like a lot more than just writing, that's because it is - and 57% of companies don't know how to optimize the content on their landing pages. Make sure your content creators are up to speed with optimization to ensure that the money you're putting into your website is going to good use (and not down the toilet!).
The Role of Website Builders
For small businesses looking to build a website, website builders can be a cost-effective option. They offer templates and easy-to-use tools to create a website without the need for extensive web design skills. But it's crucial to choose the right website builder that fits your budget. Consider the cost of building a website using various website builders and evaluate their monthly fees. Keep in mind that website maintenance may also be an ongoing expense.
Speed Matters: Website Load Times
Website speed is a critical factor that impacts both the user experience and search engine rankings. Slow-loading websites can lead to frustrated visitors who may bounce from your site, negatively affecting your bounce rate. 40% of your users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Take a second (or three) to let that sink in. And be honest - have you ever thought about your website's load times before? If the answer is no, there's a good chance it wasn't even a consideration for your development team, which means you very well might be completely losing 40% of the traffic you're currently receiving. That's probably a staggering thought. That means out of the 40% you're potentially losing, only 1 in 10 visitors will ever come back. All of that is to say that addressing site speed during the development process is a great way to avoid wasting your marketing budget. Consider optimizing images, utilizing efficient coding practices, and choosing a reliable website hosting service that can handle your website's traffic. Faster load times not only improve user satisfaction but also contribute to a positive perception of your business.
For those who lack the technical skills or time to address speed issues, it's wise to hire a professional website designer or developer. They can ensure that your website runs smoothly and efficiently, reducing the risk of visitors bouncing due to slow loading times. If you hire somebody cheap or let your developers get lazy, you'll probably end up with a slow website. But the good news is that if you make speed a priority, you'll wind up with a blazing-fast website (and a budget that's going to work for you instead of swirling down the drain).
The Bounce Rate Impact
If that last fact didn't hammer home how important your website's speed is, maybe this one will: a load time of 8 seconds or longer bumps your bounce rate by 150%. Understanding the impact of bounce rates on your website is essential for business owners and website builders alike.
To lower your bounce rate and keep visitors engaged, it's essential to invest in professional website design and user-friendly website-building tools. Visitors are more likely to stay and explore a well-structured and visually appealing website. Ensure that your website's layout, navigation, and content are tailored to your target audience and the type of website you're running, whether it's an ecommerce website or an informational site.
Additionally, offering valuable and relevant content can significantly impact your bounce rate. High-quality content can capture visitors' attention and encourage them to delve deeper into your site, reducing the likelihood of them leaving prematurely.
Learn More About Website Conversion
For business owners, understanding website conversion is essential for turning website visitors into customers. Whether you're building a new website or optimizing an existing one, conversion should be a top priority. Conversion involves various elements, such as compelling calls to action, user-friendly navigation, and a seamless checkout process for ecommerce websites. To enhance your website's conversion rate, consider A/B testing to identify what works best for your target audience.
Moreover, investing in professional website design can significantly impact conversion. A website designer can create a visually appealing and trustworthy online presence that instills confidence in your visitors, encouraging them to take desired actions.
To learn more about website conversion, business owners can explore resources and webinars that provide valuable insights into optimizing websites for higher conversion rates. Additionally, hiring a professional website designer who specializes in conversion optimization can be a wise choice for those looking to achieve the best results. By focusing on these key aspects, business owners and website builders can create a website that not only minimizes bounce rates but also maximizes the potential for conversion and online success.
Navigating Your Website Budget for the Best Online Success
Managing your website budget effectively while ensuring you have the best website for your business or company is essential in today's digital landscape. Understanding your website needs and investing wisely in website development, design, and maintenance can make a significant difference in your online success. Your website budget should encompass all the aspects necessary for creating a website that meets the specific needs of your business or company. Whether you choose a website builder or opt to hire a professional website designer, it's crucial to consider the type of website you require, such as an ecommerce website or a custom website.
Furthermore, addressing the content of your website is paramount. High-quality and relevant content can reduce bounce rates and engage visitors, ultimately improving conversion rates. It's essential to invest in user-friendly website navigation, compelling calls to action, and a seamless checkout process for ecommerce websites. To manage your website effectively, consider ongoing website maintenance to ensure it continues to perform optimally. Regular updates, security checks, and improvements are vital to keeping your website up-to-date and secure.
In your quest to create the best website for your business, exploring resources and webinars focused on website conversion can provide valuable insights. Hiring a professional website designer with expertise in conversion optimization can also be a strategic move to achieve the desired results. By carefully managing your website budget and making informed decisions throughout the website development process, you can create a website that not only aligns with your business objectives but also resonates with your target audience. A well-designed and optimized website will serve as a valuable asset in establishing your online presence and driving success for your business or company.
And for the big finale, here's the full Expert's Guide to Flushing Your Website Budget Down the Toilet infographic in all its glory. Explore how to create a website that maximizes your investment and avoids common budget pitfalls:
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