Let’s focus on my business for a bit. Usually, I’m all about my client’s business (the “if they do well, I do well” perspective), but we’ll flip it around for a change.
The websites/web-marketing industry is undergoing huge changes. Has been for years, of course, along with technology in general. Ask a website designer/builder to go back 5 years and recall how websites were built, and compare to today’s tools and techniques. It’s chalk and cheese.
And cheaper. Like most technology (except iPhones, it seems…!).
In the last couple of years, there have been 2 major developments that have led to a massive surge in the number of people who say they are available to build you a fabulous website. “Page builders” which greatly reduce or even eliminate the technical knowledge needed. And “Software as a Service” which lets you subscribe to functions & tools & facilities that you need, when you need them, without having any hassles with installation, maintenance, upgrades or backups.
You may have seen the Wix ads, or Squarespace, or GoDaddy. Yes, you can DIY – build a website right now, and it will indeed look good, at low cost (to start with). Get up and running in an hour or two. They don’t lie.
So we have a huge number of ‘experts’ out there now. The web industry has such low barriers to entry that it has become an enticing side-gig, a part-time activity that fits in with the full-time job or study. All you need is a reasonable internet connection.
The result is apparently a reverse hourglass effect. Squeeze at the bottom of the market (lots and lots of competition for low-priced projects), squeeze at the top of the market (high-ticket projects attracting increased attention from mid-range players who can easily access more advanced capabilities).
In the middle, though, there seems to be a more positive effect for business such as Winch Websites. A project can now include functions and facilities that would have been financially out of reach to small and micro businesses or non-profits. It’s here that clients typically already have experience with owning a website, and recognise the skills, expertise and benefits that a professional brings to play. Websites are no longer about the technology – it’s about what they are there to achieve for the organisation. More sales? More signups? More donations? More enquiries or leads? The focus is on the outcome, not the tool. Find out what the outcome is first, then find the best tool to make that happen. Then fine-tune and optimise, forever. Something worth investing in, in other words.
Anyway, what I’m getting at is that although the website and web-marketing industries have very low barriers to entry (and therefore many, many participants), it doesn’t mean that getting something good is easy and cheap as chips. A decent investment really should pay dividends.
However, riding shotgun with the low barriers to entry is the lack of regulation and control. If you haven’t come across outrageous claims already, you won’t have to go far to find some. Think “website in a day”, “Google page 1”, “10x your sales”.
How about your own industry? How easy is it for a newcomer to come along and think “Hmm, that looks like an easy way to earn money. I’ll say I can do it and then work it out from there!”?
If you too have low barriers to entry, you’ll be familiar with all of the above. And like as not, you too will have had customers who’ve tried the cheap and the quick, been burned, and are now looking for experience and knowledge.
When you go looking for website and web-marketing services, please bear in mind that there’s little to stop people saying what they like in internet-land. Take claims with a small pinch of cynicism and maybe do a bit of due diligence. Ask or look for evidence that your chosen service provider has done this sort of thing, and that it’s worked. Be ever-so-slightly distrustful of reviews and testimonials unless there’s evidence to back them up as genuine customers.
At Winch Websites, I’m well aware that the competition for your web-marketing dollars is global, huge, and a minefield of options, technicalities, capabilities and playing with the truth. I aim to provide honest and accurate advice, and if we aren’t a good fit for each other in terms of outcomes and objectives, I’ll happily refer you to services or businesses that are.
I want to take care of your website so that you can take care of your business – over the long term, ongoing. That’s not going to happen unless you get great value from Winch Websites. So next time you’re looking for website design & build, website care or email automation services, please get in touch. At the very least, you’ll get something to compare against. And I’d love to hear what you think when you do compare, business feedback is so hard to come by!
Good luck in your business, and may low barriers to entry be no barriers to your success!!
Once upon a time, in the ‘good old days’, I had a Triumph 1500. Cream-coloured saloon, 4 doors, double headlights, manual, leather(ish) seats. Great first car.
(photo: By Charles01 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11341226)
I did all my own servicing on that car. It was like a giant Meccano set (for those not familiar with the brand, you had all sorts of metal shapes full of holes that you could bolt together to make fabulous machines, the big-kid version of Lego). In that Triumph, you could take stuff apart, clean it, replace worn out bits, put it together, and it was better than before.
I do have a mind that likes taking things apart and putting them together, I will admit. All the same, the Triumph 1500 made it quite easy. Generally, access to things was easy enough, spares were easy to find. I was a Mechanic!! (and now I’m regularly on a big red fire-truck, but that’s another story…)
My next car was a much more modern Ford hatchback, I forget the model. It had electronic ignition, was packed into a small engine-bay. First time I tried to tune that Ford, I stuffed it. Because now you need specialist equipment, skills and experience.
So I gave up my car maintenance hobby and let the professionals do it. It costs me to get a car serviced by someone, of course, but a) it’s easy and b) I can be reasonably confident it will be done properly and quickly.
I’m sure I could still do it myself. However, I have other things I could and should be doing – including newer hobbies like family, doing up this house, learning guitar. Servicing my own car would no doubt still give me a sense of achievement, but it would suck up time and need a bit of learning plus some new equipment and gadgets (hmm, there’s a thought…).
This same principle is almost certain to apply to you. What are you doing, where are you spending your time, effort and funds to do something yourself that someone else could do more quickly, more effectively? If you enjoy it, stick with it. But if in a perfect world you could stop doing it, it’s worth considering the benefits of outsourcing.
Weigh up the cost of getting someone else to do it against what you would do with that free time, alongside knowing that it has been done properly (no left over bits!).
An example is book-keeping. Are you catching up on your accounts on a Sunday? Imagine just handing that over to someone else. Checkout Roneta’s services at Enhanced Power for what I mean.
Another example might be your website. When are you managing that? Are you adding new content every now and then? More importantly, how often are you making sure all the components are updated with security and bug fixes? Backups? Again, all of this can be handed over to someone else for around the price of a couple of hours of your time per month.
At Winch Websites, we offer a Website Care plan that looks after all the technical stuff (updates, security, backups, search-engine basics, speed & performance) and also lets you make any changes you like simply by sending an email with what you want done. Your website hums along all tuned-up. Easy and stress free.
Sure you could look after your website yourself. A great many do. This isn’t about whether you CAN though, it’s about whether you SHOULD. You’re running a business, it’s a business judgement you need to make – at what point is your time worth more doing other things? Are you going to build and grow your business more through DIY website maintenance or have you reached a point where it’s more cost-effective to hand it over?
I did really enjoy looking after that old Triumph 1500. The cars I drive now though, I’m not interested in getting under the hood. Aside from a wisp of nostalgia, I can’t say I regret that, with a lot else to do instead!