As of 2012, there were almost 28 million small businesses in the United States (source). How is “small business” defined, exactly? Well, it depends on the industry, but the general rule is a company with 500 or less employees – and they tend to make upwards of a few million dollars a year (you can read more about that here). Of those 28 million small businesses, 55% do not have a website (source). Are you asking yourself, So what? Small business don’t really needs websites. Well, that actually couldn’t be further from the truth.
Why You Need A Website
First and foremost, your website is the central hub of your business. Any print advertising, social media, even when you put your company name on the back of your truck – it drives people to your site. It lends credibility to your company. Says Andrew Ruditser, lead technology coordinator for a top website, “I don’t know how anyone today can realistically be in business without having a proper online presence. It’s kind of as important as having a professional looking business card.”
Having a website is also great for revenue. For the average “small” business, having a website can increase revenue by over $1.4 million dollars (source). So why the disconnect?
Why You Don’t Have a Website
After years in the web development business, we get it. You pay a huge amount upfront, anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000. You wait six months for your site to be ready. You launch your site and pop some champagne! And then, in most cases, you never update your website again. Here’s a sample of a typical timeline:
Building a website is expensive, and it takes months before you get a finished product. Maintaining a website is time-consuming. The acronyms and jargon are downright confusing. The traditional web build just isn’t possible for most business owners.
In many cases, building a website with this model can actually hurt your business! Having an out-of-date website can make you look unprofessional, or like you don’t care. “If I find that the store or restaurant or service provider doesn’t have a website – or has one that clearly hasn’t been updated since 2003, or doesn’t provide an email address or phone number on the home page – I discount it immediately. I assume (rightly or wrongly) that the enterprise is unprofessional and low quality,” explains Forbes contributor Erica Andersen. Most traditionally built websites get a complete overhaul every 2-3 years, meaning going through the same financial and time investment again and again.
The third flaw in this plan is that your website – any website, to be truthful – is initially built on assumptions. Yes, these assumptions are often backed by psychological theories, historical data, etc. but they are still assumptions! There is no way to launch a “perfect” website because you can never perfectly predict human behavior. That’s where Growth-Driven Design really makes a difference.
The GDD Difference
The Growth-Driven Design plan may seem counter-intuitive at first. Your marketing team will still take time to analyze your business plan and goals and create and idea for your site, draw up a design, and implement your content, but it will start out on a much smaller scale. Your site timeline may look something like this:
As you can see, this timeline is much faster. There’s also a much lower financial investment upfront, drastically limiting your risk and making a web build more accessible. The website is built faster because we will build the highest priority pieces before launch, and add less important pieces later as we study how consumers use your site.
You’ll also notice that this timeline continues after the site launch. Although we only show one month of analysis and edits here, the great thing about GDD is that the post-launch updates continue indefinitely, meaning your website continues to improve indefinitely based on consumer behavior! Changes are no longer based on assumptions, but facts. We will also continue to evolve your website by adding more content, which in turn boosts your SEO.
Best of all, you never have to do a total overhaul again. By making small changes on a continuous basis, your website will always remain up-to-date. Whether you’re a big or small business, that’s just good business.
Not sure how your current site is doing? We will give you a FREE 5-Factor Site Audit!