It’s Never Been Easier to Start a Website. Here’s Why That’s a Problem.
With the internet growing at an unprecedented rate, having a website for your blog, side hustle or small business is absolutely essential these days. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever before to start a website and get your message, product or service out there. But what they don’t tell you is the amount of time you’ll need to invest in keeping your website going. Sure, it’s possible for anyone to learn and you can do it yourself — but most people serious about growing a profitable website don’t have the spare time to filter through all the tools your website and business will need. Those of us who go with the cheapest options soon realize what it costs in the end and those who go with expensive options forfeit the precious limited capital we could’ve used growing our website into a real business or at least profitability. There has to be a better way! Here, we’ll discuss what a website is in 2021, why the simplicity of starting a website misleads people and how to start your own blog or business online avoiding invisible pitfalls that many companies, especially do-it-yourself website builders, lead aspiring website owners right into.
What Is a Website?
First, let’s define what it means to have a website in 2021. It’s not what you remember from years and years ago. I recall dabbling in HTML as a kid on our first family computer in the mid 1990s. I was enthralled by the ability to change the background, font size and colors of a page. But since then, websites have become increasingly complex. Many people get the impression that a website is static like in the early days when it simply displayed information to passively read. Not today. A website now is dynamic and can interact at a high level with its users. Notice how we don’t call them readers anymore? A website in 2021 needs to be interactive. It has to have a database of information about your topic that can be searched and filtered with ease, video on demand, an email newsletter sign up form and some level of social media integration for comments or chat.
In order to provide site visitors with the best and smoothest experience, a site should consider the visitor’s intention, location, individual preferences, budget and much more. As a simple example, some visitors prefer to communicate using live chat and some prefer email. Some people prefer to use a messenger like WhatsApp and others prefer to stay anonymous for fears of being bombarded with marketing messages. Some prefer reading content while others enjoy watching or listening to content. At first sight, a modern website displays information, but that is just on the surface. Beyond just the raw data, there’s an ever-increasing range of site features to choose from that will need to be considered when planning out the purpose of a site. A site may not have a blog but may still want discussion forums or community chat boards. It might include a video section with YouTube integration and live-streaming capabilities, for example. To support all these features, you’ll need a number of different tools that integrate with your site like automated email, RSS feeds, user levels, payment portals, and the list goes on.
Why You Should Think About Outsourcing Your Website
Just take a minute and think about your favorite websites that you use on a constant basis. How much user interaction is happening back and forth for it to be a pleasant experience? It’s most likely not a simple announcement board. We haven’t even discussed how a website will be monetized. Will there be ads or sponsors? Will it have affiliate marketing? Will you have partners you’ll refer to in order to earn a commission? How will you track that? Let’s not get discouraged with all these complexities. It’s unlikely you’ll need all of them at once and that’s the great news. But here’s where the misleading part comes into play. Starting a website has never been easier but sifting through all the possible choices of tools to start a website gets increasingly more difficult and time-consuming. It’s like knowing you need a lawn mower to cut grass and when you go online to shop for one, there are 50 models to choose from. And you thought you were done with homework after graduation! You want one that will work for you for a long time, get the job done right but you don’t want to overspend. If you’re not one of the people who can dedicate their time and effort into making sure your site is running smoothly with the right tools as you grow, then you need to consider outsourcing the technical and admin work, especially if you work alone or have a small team with few resources to spare.
Because there are so many easy-to-use tools in creating and managing a website, the limitless amounts of choices take lots of time to weed through. Who do I choose as a hosting provider? What domain should I choose? What website builder is the best? What email service should I use? What email marketing software is better for my newsletter? What payment gateway should I use? How do I attract visitors? How do I attract companies to advertise on my blog? The list of questions you run into is outright daunting when you’re first starting out. And when you search for answers in Google or on YouTube, they always sound so confident that this is the best program to use for this or that. Are they saying it because it really is the best or because they get a commission check when someone buys or signs up for the software? Mind you, this is only the research stage. Then it’s time to make a decision on what platform and tools to use and start building.
Up until to this point you’ve invested lots of time even before getting your website up and running. It’s not hard to follow the tutorials and guides but now you need to test it and figure out what’s not working or what needs tweaking. Statistically speaking, this is the point where many people consider just giving up, and they haven’t even begun doing the thing that they enjoy doing, which is helping their customers and clients. Before you as a website owner start off on this path that can eat away at your time, it’s best to ask yourself whether you’re in it to learn the process along the way or is your website just the means to get you to your destination, which is doing what you love doing. If it’s the latter, it’s clear you need a teammate in your corner to help you get where you want to be. You will need to outsource your website to reach your ultimate goals.
Starting and running your own website is nowhere near impossible. You do not have to learn any coding or programming languages. There are lots of resources out there including endless video tutorials on YouTube. It’s actually quite satisfying to be able to get a site off the ground, and then you share it with friends and family. The real problem comes down to the only currency that really matters, time. Not only do you need time to start and run your website, you also need time to search for the best solutions for your specific case. Outsourcing your site design, upkeep and maintenance will save you time and money when you have more pressing matters to attend to like client work. It will also give you access to sound advice instead of reading irrelevant reviews online for hours on end. Sooner rather than later, you’ll realize that the time you spend on your site would be far better spent with customers and clients.
How to Start Your Own Blog or Business Online the Right Way
As you may have guessed, there are two ways to start your blog or website and get things for your business online. You can get a website online fairly easily with any number of tools, but let’s briefly discuss a few that you might consider based on your situation. If you already have a stream of revenue and you sell products or services online, you can go with something like Shopify, Squarespace or Wix. The advantage of these tools is that they allow you to build your website and easily start selling products online without the need for extensive technical knowledge. The disadvantage and a serious one, is that these tools typically have tight limits, and they don’t allow you to add multiple streams of income with customizability. They’re usually good for doing one thing, but you’ll need more flexibility when you outgrow that. And if you’re a business, then you will reach a crossroads when you need to restructure and switch.
The other option, and my personal recommendation in most cases, is something called WordPress, which allows you more customization. WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS). Because it’s so popular and widely used, WordPress attracts lots and lots of developers who create solutions for your specific case. Think “there’s an app for that” environment. WordPress allows you to add endless tools at a very reasonable cost. You can start out selling your main products or services and easily add blogging for affiliate marketing, online courses, memberships, various payment gateways so you’re not paying Shopify’s commission rates. Many of our customers actually started a site on something like Wix and felt they had outgrown it due to the limitations in directions they can take their business. The learning curve to WordPress may have deterred them in the beginning, although almost anyone can learn it.
It’s Time to Decide and Take Action
Now that you have a better idea of what a modern website needs to have, whether you should outsource your website and how to start your own website, it’s time to take action. To conclude, let me offer some general tips that will help make your next move easier.
If your livelihood depends on how fast you can deliver your products or services, start with an online store that offers more or less an all-in-one solution. You will most likely be spending less money up front but more in the long run in exchange for speed to market and ease of use. You build that brand more than your own by using another platform. You will reach a point where you want to customize the experience for your customers to stand out from your competitors and find your current setup doesn’t allow it. At that point, outsource to HG Pro, and we’ll help you transition to building your brand your way while saving you money on a monthly basis.
If you have products or services to sell and intend to build your website and business to be scalable from the start, consider outsourcing to HG Pro. You will save lots of time getting things started at a low price, putting time into building your customer base and focusing on revenue-producing actions. HG Pro gives you the freedom to take the reins when you want and assign our team takes when you need. Unlike the current do-it-yourself website builders out there, you’re not locked into anything you can’t get out of.
If you don’t yet have products or services to offer or you’re not in a hurry and have some free time (you’re a student or in a similar situation), learning to do things on WordPress yourself may be a better option. You can learn a bit, better develop your products and services to get ready to offer people and then launch your site. This is the best option if you value your time between $5 and $10 per hour because you’ll need at least a few hours per week to get things rolling. If your time is worth more than $10 per hour, you should consider reaching out to HG Pro to offload website tasks.
Whatever path to success you choose, continually gauge how much time you’re spending on technical tasks (website and related tasks), how much you value your time and the end goal in one, two five years. Check out what HG Pro offers and you will find that with our team’s support, you’ll be able to accomplish far more, faster than on your own and save time and money along the way. Whatever your reason for wanting to start a website, HG Pro can help you get there.