The Right Web Solution for My Organization
Let me start by saying we have a team of web developers focused primarily on building custom WordPress websites. Still, we have told a number of potential clients that a custom WordPress site isn’t the right solution for them. We’re just not in the business of selling people what they don’t really need. However, there’s always a need for a web presence and we’ve found and developed solutions for almost every budget.
I’ll walk you through some of the options we offer and give a broad overview of what the deciding factors are…but remember, I’m not the digital guy, so if you need more detail please reach out and I’ll connect you with the right people.
THE HARD TRUTH
The fact of the matter is that website projects are a lot of work. A lot. The number one complaint that we hear about website projects – ours or sites done with another agency – is that it’s a ton of work for the client. So if you don’t have the bandwidth or someone in your organization that can drive the project forward, rethink things. Because no one is going to be able to whip up a site that properly represents your brand without information, insight, imagery, guidance and feedback from you.
That said, we have developed processes to help. We have proven formats that help lighten our clients’ load and make the sites we build hard working websites.
HARD WORKING WEBSITES
We build hard working websites. We want your website to be working for you when you’re sleeping…when you’re in meetings…when you’re sitting on a beach. And we’re not just talking about selling products or taking donations (although that’s definitely good as well). Along with making money, your website is introducing you to new members of your target audience and giving them the information they need to become true believers in your brand.
All of that comes from a combination of brand building tactics. Are you clear on your audience(s)? Do you understand what your audience wants and how to explain how your organization benefits your audience? It’s important to be strategic about your website messaging, branding and first impressions.
Here’s a good one: Can your audience find your website? There’s a combination of saying the right things and presenting them in a way that’s search engine friendly that makes the answer to that question “yes!” Are you planning additional marketing tactics and is your website set up to support those tactics?
ALMOST EVERY BUDGET
There are plenty of companies that build cheap websites. But it really is important to look at whether a cheap website is going to serve your organization well. Why’s it so cheap? Great question…ask them. Are you going to have to do a ton of the work? Maybe it’s templatized without considering the downside this may have in a search. What I can tell you with certainty is that you must be clear on what you’re looking for your website to do for your organization and make sure it’s designed and built with that in mind.
We work with organizations to help figure out a solution that works for them and their budgets. As you’ll see below, there are different solutions, different levels of effort, and different reasons one solution may be a better fit than another.
WHY FULLY CUSTOMIZED
Our roots on the digital side are in search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing. And we’ve gotten very good at developing campaigns that reach a lot of people and ultimately drive them to your website. If you’re in a competitive regional or national SEO vertical, you need a fully customized site.
Other reasons for investing in a fully customized site would be unique programming of functionality…think a complex locator map, motion graphics, etc. Complex visual effects fall under that as well but they’re worth mentioning. If the user experience of your site requires complex visuals to properly convey your brand, you’ll likely need a fully customized or mostly customized build.
E-commerce or product catalogs as well as varied products in paid ads requiring multiple landing pages would be another reason. But if you are to this point with your e-commerce you’re probably aware of the need for a fully customized site.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
As I mentioned above, we have seen the need, especially since we’re focused on nonprofit brand building, for affordable options. One of the most powerful is the program we’ve developed for the hard working websites I mentioned above. It’s based on hundreds of websites and years of digital marketing for those websites. What this approach has done is allow us not to build templates (that’s a naughty word in web development) but to pre-build proven sections of websites that we can mix and match as needed. Not only does that bring the cost of development down, but it provides guidance for developing the content for your website. Remember, that’s the part that falls so heavily on the shoulders of clients, even when we’re the ones writing the content.
This type of build is still great for paid ads and is okay for competitive local SEO verticals. As long as you’re willing to work within the parameters of our pre-defined format it’s a fantastic solution for most organizations.
BUT…WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
When the marketing strategies of an organization don’t require a custom build, we build sites through hosted solutions. These don’t work well if SEO is the focal point of your marketing strategies. These hosted solutions provide pre-built sites that you pay a monthly fee for…but as the name suggests, you have to host through them and if you decide to leave, your site stays. Not a big deal because you can take all the content, images, etc. if you decide to move on. But something to consider.
These hosted solutions can be built by anyone with a bit of computer savvy. The difference in working with us is that we can help develop the flow of the site, the content, the brand graphics and all the other components that are essential to make your website hard working. It’s kinda like this: You can buy design programs, but that doesn’t mean you can design a logo.
Perhaps the length of this email is an indication of the number of factors that go into deciding what the best web solution is for your organization. The fact of the matter is, it’s best to rely on an agency like TIV Branding to help you figure out what you need, even if the final path doesn’t run through our agency. Happy to help you figure it out!