This is the 2nd in a three-part series starting with: The Death Of The Business Website. This series actually questions the accepted fact of modern business—that you need a website. This article doesn’t look to the future in which websites will become increasingly dated and redundant; it doesn’t have to look further than the present in which for small- to medium-sized businesses, websites are overly costly and complicated. And, despite dLook being a company that makes websites, in this article we show you website alternatives which are more streamlined, specific, cost-effective and efficient for your business needs.
Firstly: The Downsides Of Websites
The downsides of websites are rarely spoken of, and the reason is that most businesses just accept the creation and maintenance of a website as a necessity. The hassle that websites can cause is now just part and parcel of modern business practice. But, at dLook we don’t just accept things. We have identified these problems with websites and we seek to find solutions:
- Setup: Complicated and multifarious. For a good website you want multiple pages, SEO, UI, multimedia, professional images, design, scripting. Most websites are the work of many people who specialise in different areas.
- Upkeep: Website upkeep can only be talked about in the broadest way because it involves so many things. All those guys who you hired to create the website will probably be needed to maintain it. Some areas of upkeep include posting fresh content, debugging scripts and updating design.
- Security: This is one of the main problems. Websites are notoriously susceptible to hacking because as a small- to medium-sized, you are not going to design your website like the NSA headquarters. And another reason is that the more complex your website becomes, the more security holes it will have. The prime example is WordPress. WordPress is the go-to website creator and yet its security exploits fill volumes (these volumes are in the hands of both cybersecurity and hackers). If you have WordPress, you should consider these alternatives and also uninstall as many plugins as possible.
- $$$: Websites cost money—for all the things mentioned, and also for hosting. Hosting is the way you get your website onto the web—it involves paying a company to use their continuously running computers to run the website. Here are the approximated costs: for the creation of a smart, yet standard website, you’re going to spend $2500–$5000. Then for hosting, it will be about $50 per year. Thankfully that’s cheap, but maintenance will need to be paid for.
These downsides must still be considered against the enormous benefits of a business website. Business websites are in 2017 still one of go-to places for interested customers to find out about your business online and hence the benefits will undoubtedly offset the costs. We are not discouraging any business from having an online presence. This is an absolute neccesity in 2017. But surely, for small- to medium-sized businesses aren’t there simpler, more cost-effective ways to have an online presence that does the few key things that you actually want?
A one-page website is still a website technically, but it’s on this list because it’s more cost-effective and simple than a traditional multi-page websites. And for small- to medium-sized businesses, it will probably do everything that you need.
When a potential customer is looking for your business, what they need is:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Opening hours
- Assurance that this is a quality business
A one-pager can do all this in the most straight-forward manner possible, with no clicking through menu bars and the like. The customer comes to your one-page website and they are not distracted by any menus, they just see all the info they need on one page.
Here are the keys to a great one-pager:
- Include as much of what your customer is looking for (see list above) ‘before the fold’ (without having to scroll down)
- Don’t make it an information overload
- Simple websites need to work harder to assure the customer, so you want a nice, modern design and convincing customer testimonials. For [reputation management look no further].
- Can contain a mini menu that links to positions down the page
- Completely free to make and no maintenance
- High security and reliable
- Usually ranks fairly highly on Google
- Can allow you to build a following
- Hard to do SEO to elevate Google rankings
- Hard to manage reputation due to the ability of customers to post and comment about you
- Doesn’t imply legitimacy or quality
A Facebook page will never hurt, and it costs nothing. So dLook, which always supports the multi-channel approach recommends making one. But as your only business page it’s a bit . . . tacky to be honest.
Actually, we shouldn’t have even put this here.
Tumblr is mainly for images. Around 2013 it tried to attract businesses but I think they kind of gave up on that. It doesn’t rank highly on Google. And . . . it’s got a reputation for being a hub of various teen subcultures including ‘emos’ and ‘otherkin’ which in most cases is not what you want your business to be associated with.
Listing your business in an online directory opens you up to a new stream of customers. It means that people searching for a local let’s say plumber in that directory may find your business. dLook is an Australian directory with over 1.7 million businesses listed. And it’s free to make a listing, so you should make one now and start tapping into a new source of customers.
But, should a directory listing be your only online presence? No. They are good for being found through a directory search but not as good for Google searches. That’s why when you sign up for a package with dLook, you get far more than a listing—you get a fully-optimised website. But this article is about those businesses who want something lighter, cheaper and more specific than a website, which brings us to the final alternative–
dLook Express Websites
dLook Express Websites are a new type of web presence and a new marketing channel that strip away the unneeded complexities of a website, leaving just what customers and search engines want to find.
Express Websites are webpages with a nice, modern, easy-to-use interface for getting the facts on a businesses core details: name, location, opening hours, etc. These pages are responsive, so display just as well on mobiles, tablets and desktops. But they are not just designed for users. Express Website pages are actually optimised to deliver these core business details to the search engines like Google, so that Google knows exactly your business details. This is quickly becoming the most important thing and the new way to find local businesses. As elaborated in the first article in this series, businesses are increasingly being found through the ‘cards’ that show up on the right side of search results and automatically through AI and voice search. For your business to be found in these ways you need to provide your details to Google in the optimum format. And this is why dLook Express Websites are the best alternative to the business website.