March 5, 2019 - Episode 22

Everything a Small Business Needs to Know About Websites

Every business needs a website, but all websites are not created equal. Jake and Mirela explain why you need a website and how it helps your business grow. We’ll discuss what information you must have your website to maximize your online marketing. Learn how to get a website, who to hire depending on your budget, other resources, and requirements. We’ll also go over how website pricing works, break down the different ranges, and how to get a website at any cost. Basically all of the most important information a business owner needs to know about websites is in this episode.


Episode Transcript

Jake Braun:
Welcome to Kickin’ it with Kapok, a podcast about business stories and marketing advice. I’m Jake.
Mirela Setkic:
And I’m Mirela.
Jake Braun:
This is episode 22, “Everything a Small Business Needs to Know about Websites” Today, Mirela and I will be talking about websites. We’ll go over everything you need to know about websites. We’ll explore what information your business must have on it’s website. We’ll also discuss how to get a website and how much it should cost. How should we get started Mirela?
Mirela Setkic:
Well, I guess we can talk about why a small business would need a website, and I think this is one of the most popular topics that we get calls about or emails about, someone starts the new business, or they've been in business for a little bit, and they want to know if they really should get a website, or if they should take their current website to the next level, and the answer is always yes, you do need a website if you are a business or if you are taking yourself seriously as a business, and the way we kind of talk about it and we frame it as the foundation for your business, as essentially your online face or the platform that allows you to I guess manage your brand and your reputation and your image, and it's also the foundation for all of your digital marketing efforts. So, for example, if you decide to run online ads and you don't have a website, then where are you going to take people to? I guess you can just run ads and waste money, but
you need a website if you want to have an online reputation and if you want to do business online, and also, it's a given. If someone tells me about a restaurant, the first thing that I do is I go to Google or whatever search engine and I look for that business. If the business comes up and there's no website, then I think that there's something sketch about it. Maybe, I don't know, maybe they're new, or maybe they've even gone out of business. So it's kind of a given. It's en expectation that everyone has. It's 2019; if you are a business, you should have a website.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, you need to have a website if you're a business. Like you said, it's how you get started in digital marketing. If you don't have it, anything else you're doing on digital marketing is probably not gonna be that effective, or you're gonna be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, and people might think that you're not even real.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, I think we've seen some stats before that, I don't know, upwards of half of people expect you to have a website and judge you if you don't have a website or if your website doesn't look quite right, if it is some website you tried to do yourself but maybe you didn't do enough research or understand enough to make it look professional.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, and if I have never heard of a business or I just learned about a business, I go to the website so I can kind of see, look at their pictures. If it's a restaurant, I wanna look at the menu. If it's a boutique, I'm expecting them to have their inventory online, so I wanna see what they have in store for me. So, it's just kind of a first step, the foundation. You have to do it.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, and like you said, the word of mouth marketing, when you do tell someone else, then they're gonna search on Google, and if they don't find your website, then they're gonna think something's up. So it's super important.
Mirela Setkic:
Mmhmm.
Jake Braun:
So maybe we should talk about what your website needs.
Mirela Setkic:
Mmhmm.
Jake Braun:
So obviously, the first stuff is the basics, the name, address, phone number, and you'll see some people on the internet calling this the abbreviation NAP, which is kind of like an SEO term too, because having that basic information on your website is both critical for people who visit your website who obviously want to know what is this business, how do I get to their store, or how do I call them. So it's important for the person visiting, but Google also uses it to match up your business with where your business is mentioned elsewhere. They look for matches of that name, address, and phone number, and the more often they see that match, the more they're gonna give your website a little bit of a boost and think that it's a legitimate, real, local business, and maybe we should give them a little bit of preferential treatment, depending on what your competitors or other businesses in your region are doing. So it's super important that you get that info
rmation correct on your website and make it super visible so that the people visiting can see that, that basic information, and be able to get in contact with you. So once they get that done, I think there's similar marketing-type stuff that they should be doing, some branding and maybe the look and feel of their website. What do you think?
Mirela Setkic:
Yes, obviously you want to have your name and your logo and any type of slogan or mission statement that you have, and that name and logo should match your physical name and logo that you have. You should not have a different personality online from what you are in person, and also, you should have some type of a call to action or CTA. Do you want people to contact you for something? Do you want people to go shopping on your website? Do you want people to download a free guide? Whatever the case is, you should have that, and it shouldn't be multiple things. You don't want your website to have just whole bunch of calls to action, because that will confuse people, and then people will just X out and leave it 'cause it's just overwhelming. And by going back to the information that you mentioned about having your hours and your phone number and all that, that stuff should really be up-to-date.
Jake Braun:
Yes, that's super critical.
Mirela Setkic:
Recently, I had a little bit of a situ. Actually, it was last Friday, I wanted to buy a gift certificate for my sister, and I went to one of the local spas, and I was expecting them to have certain business hours which were stated on their website, but when I showed up, they were closed, and I showed up during the hours that their website said that they were going to be open, and I was very upset or pissed off. So that was my first time going to that business, and it was a terrible experience. They sort of lied to me online. They were not open at the time they said they were going to be open, and I'm not gonna go back. They essentially lost me.
Jake Braun:
That's a big no-no, even before digital marketing. Like, you gotta be consistent with stuff like that. If you have hours that are out there in the world, people expect you to be open, and you can't just say, oh, I don't feel like working today. I'm not gonna open my business. Like, that's a huge mistake.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, and I understand, maybe it was a slow day and people wanted to take off early and go and start their weekend, it was a Friday. But I understand it was a Friday, but they made a certain promise on their website, and I went, I took my time. I actually walked from our office here to get this gift certificate, and the let me down. So it was a terrible, terrible experience, but let's go back to what else people should have on their website.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, I wanted to piggyback on the call to action. If you do have multiple calls to action, then don't have 'em all on your homepage, or make one the very big and clear one and move those other minor call to actions to their own page, and you could even create a landing page if you wanna send certain traffic to some other call to action that's not your primary one. It's just on any given page, you don't wanna have conflicting messaging on what you want the person to do next.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes, that's a good clarification. I wasn't saying that for your entire website, you should not have more than one call to action. I was just saying for the home page, don't overwhelm people with, you know, do this, do that, go here, go there, and then, as a visitor to your website, I'm thinking, oh my God, what exactly do you want me to do? Like, how are you prioritizing this?
Jake Braun:
Yeah, and I think this wraps into the next thing we wanted to talk about, which is the usability of your website, which is both important, again, for people who are visiting the website, and SEO. Google looks at this stuff and sees, especially on mobile, are elements too close together? Is it gonna be hard for someone to touch their finger on one element, and maybe it's gonna register as the other one? You wanna make sure you have a nice user interface and it's designed well and people understand the flow of your website and the layout, and you just want it to be super friendly for anyone regardless of what device they're on. You want a responsive website, which means that it looks good on however big the screen is. If you take your browser and you kind of adjust it, you'll notice on responsive websites, they'll start shift around in a way that it always looks good, no matter what size the browser window is, which then correlates to phones. If you get
to a super narrow browser window, that's kind of what it would look like on a phone. So you wanna make sure that it looks good on all of those things, and the best websites are actually deploying a strategy called mobile-first, because most people are actually browsing the internet on their phone nowadays. So you wanna make sure that the website looks good first on the phone and then work your way from there to make it look good on larger and larger device sizes, also taking into account not having too much content on a single page so that it's slow for someone to download maybe on a 3G network or lower cell service. So those are all so important things to consider. You want it to be usable, both for the visitor and to boost yourself in Google maybe a little bit.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, essentially, don't make the visitor work extra hard to find the things that they want to find. If you are a restaurant, if someone is coming to your website, they are most likely looking for either your hours of operation, or they're looking for a menu. So don't hide your menu from me, especially if I'm hungry and I'm on your website and you have hidden your menu from me, and I've had to jump through the hoops. I will be super annoyed at your restaurant, and I probably will not come.
Jake Braun:
Yeah.
Mirela Setkic:
And it's just, you're making me work too hard. When hunger kicks in, I don't want to work too hard. I just want to eat something.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, and just a few other things to look out for, if you need a privacy policy on your website, if you're an attorney or a doctor and you need to make some sort of disclaimer. Also, if you're running an e-commerce website, you wanna make sure your website is what's called PCIDSS compliant, which basically just means you're complying with what the credit card companies want you to do so that your website is considered secure and you're not gonna get in trouble like one of these big companies we've seen on the news where their data gets stolen. So I think that's about it for what your website needs. Maybe we should talk now about how exactly you get a website.
Mirela Setkic:
Okay, well, this is a question that we get very often, and it's a reasonable question, it's an important question. So how do I get a website? I'm brand new, I know I need a website, and so, what are my options? I think we always tell people that you have a couple different options available to you, but before you begin any of this, you really need to think about what is your budget? What do you want your website to accomplish? How intricate do you want your website to be? And then based on that information, you can decide what the best option for you is. So one of the options is to do it yourself, and this costs, this is the least expensive way to go, but it's also the most, I guess, difficult or limited way to go, especially if you don't have a graphic design or web development background, because you're pretty much using one of the free or very cheap platforms like Wix or Squarespace to pretty much get a fill-in-the-blank website, which can kind

of be a trap, but it can sometimes work out.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, it can work. I think you just gotta be careful of the hidden costs and the opportunity costs like you touched on a little bit. If you're the owner, there's probably other stuff you could be doing that might be a better use of your time potentially, so keep those things in mind too.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes, everything has an opportunity cost. So you have to decide, how valuable is your time, how much time do you want to devote to your website, and if this is something that you want to be involved in. If you decide no, I don't wanna do the do-it-yourself, then maybe you can hire a freelancer or you can have an employee do your website. That's also an option, or if you really want to go really all out and get a really, really good website, then you would consider hiring an agency that has a lot more experience and expertise and can get you a really, really good website.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, they're doing websites all the time, so they are kind of up-to-date on all of the trends. They can lead you in the right direction too. You mentioned Wix and Squarespace, but then if you want to maybe get into a little bit more complicated of a situation, maybe you go with a Shopify or a WordPress or even Magento if you're running a very large e-commerce solution. That's a popular platform for big e-commerce sites. But probably most people will be using WordPress if they move out of the Wix and Squarespace environment.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, but if I'm a business, and I want a super good, fast, SEO-friendly website, and I want to spend $50, I'm probably not being reasonable with my expectations.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, those two things are incompatible. You can't do both those things. That's like saying I wanna spend $1,000 on a car, but I want a brand new Ferrari. Like, yeah, you want both of those things, but that's not the way that it works. It's a balancing act. The more money you spend, the more quality you're gonna get out of it. There's exceptions. You can waste your money on stuff, but in general, as you spend more and more money, your quality and your luxury and all of those things increase. So you just have to figure out. That's why it's important to start with your budget, because you can get such a different website for $100 than a million dollars. That's why it's important to figure out, what range do you fall into? Are you gonna spend between 100 and 1,000, between 1,000 and 5,000, and then once you have that range, an expert can help you figure out, what's the best thing that we can do in that price range, because you can do very different thing
s for hundreds of thousands of dollars than millions of dollars.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly.
Jake Braun:
And I think we also, that was the next thing we were gonna talk about, is pricing.
Mirela Setkic:
Is the money.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, the money.
Mirela Setkic:
All right, let's talk about it.
Jake Braun:
So maybe let's dive into that. So in the do-it-yourself, I kind of touched on this a little bit already. It's free in the sense that you don't have to pay any money to anyone necessarily, other than a few bucks to Wix or Squarespace, but what is the opportunity cost? What could you be doing otherwise that would increase the revenue streams at your business, or if you do need stock photography or you need help with the copy or the messaging on the website. Do you then have to hire someone to help you with that, or are you also confident that you can do that, in which case maybe it is free for you, other than whatever your opportunity cost is. And the bigger your company is, the more revenue that you are bringing in or that you expect to bring in, the worse and worse of an idea it probably is for you to do it yourself, unless you happen to also be a website designer by trade, and then maybe it is the best use of your time.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, and you're kind of boxing yourself in. You're limiting yourself in terms of what you can do if you just get a very, very basic Wix website and then later, you're like, oh, well, I wanna have an online store, well, like, you have a Wix website.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, I think Wix might have a little package where you can run an e-commerce store, but it's probably definitely not the way to go.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah.
Jake Braun:
Shopify or Magento's probably your best bet, or maybe WordPress with WooCommerce, but we're probably getting into too many details with all that. So, moving from that is the freelancer option, the next option, or maybe you have an employee that has a little bit of experience with this. So maybe you're gonna pay someone between 20 and 80 dollars an hour to help you customize a theme in WordPress or help you get your Squarespace just how you want it, and you might need that person to work between four and 20 hours maybe for a super small website, depending on the features and whatnot. So you can do the math on that and kind of get a range or ballpark on what you could get accomplished with that, and then your final option is when you move into the agency or the firm world where you're getting either a company who specializes in website design and development or maybe a marketing agency that has that as a component of what they do, and when you're in tha
t situation, there's actually several tiers probably to marketing agencies and web design development companies. There's like your low-end people who are not, they're still good at what they do, but they're probably the cheapest option, and they're maybe in the two to three, four, five thousand dollar range, and they can get you probably a pretty nice website set up. There might be some limitations, and also, it depends on how complicated your website is. That would also be a super basic website, corporate brochure website, something like that. And then you move into maybe your medium-tier agencies. So maybe you're in the five to 20,000 dollar range, and these people are probably just a little bit more established, maybe they have a little bit more knowledge about doing complicated things. They might be able to get your website super SEO friendly or something like that. Then you move into your high-end agencies that it could be 20, 30, 40, even over 100,000 dollars, and these people are designing amazing
websites for large companies, but they also help small and medium companies who are very serious about their web presence. So that's kind of the high-end of what you can expect from an agency. But websites get even more expensive than that. I mentioned Magento earlier. If you're serious about running an e-commerce website and you're in the tens of millions of dollars, you're probably using Magento, and you probably have paid a Magento-specialized agency that will charge you maybe a quarter-million dollars or maybe even more to have that website be amazing and be competitive with the Amazons and the Best Buys of the world. So that's the high end, and other large Fortune 500 companies, governments, they might spend millions or tens of millions of dollars on their website. So the range is literally anywhere from virtually free to millions of dollars, so you really need to narrow in your budget and what you want on your website to figure out what that sweet spot is for your price range and the price you're g
onna pay for the website.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, and just like anything in life, you get what you pay for. And if you want to be taken seriously and you want to take yourself seriously and you want to have a solid online presence, then you need to invest a decent amount of money into your website, just like if you're building a storefront or you're building a home. Yeah, you can build a little hut on your plot of land and it can cost you, I don't know what a hut costs, probably like $2,000. I'm not sure, I'm not much of a builder, and that's fine, but your neighbors are gonna have beautiful homes, and you're gonna have a little hut on your lot. So same thing with websites, it's just online. You just really have to decide what kind of look, feel, and presence do I want to have.
Jake Braun:
It's so much like building a website. You could literally build a website or the house yourself. You could be the contractor on the website and try and outsource little different parts of it, or you can hire someone who specializes in building houses, and then you can find someone who specializes in cheap houses, in moderate, middle class houses, and then you can go by the person who's doing the luxury houses, the mansions or the McMansion-type houses. There's tiers, there's levels, there's all different ways you can go about getting a house built.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, and you really have to know your skillset as well. Yeah, sure, I would like to built my own house, but I know that I do not know how to do that. But my dad, who's really good at building houses, he builds his own house, and that's his cup of tea. He doesn't need to hire a contractor. I can't even build a little doghouse in my back yard, so I have to find someone who can do it. Yeah, I can go to YouTube, I can figure it out, but how much time am I gonna spend?
Jake Braun:
But what's the opportunity cost on that? You would have to basically give up your job or spend all of your free time learning on YouTube. Oh, how do I do masonry work? How do I pour concrete? How do I frame a house? How do I put a roof on it? You could spend hundreds, thousands of hours learning to build a house, or you could just pay someone and focus on what you're good at at your actual job.
Mirela Setkic:
I agree, and is there any else we should talk about?
Jake Braun:
I don't know, is there anything else people need to know about websites? I think we went through a lot of stuff.
Mirela Setkic:
I think I forgot to talk about something in the beginning. I was probably nervous. I think when we talked about messaging and branding, I wanted to talk about how it's very important to highlight the why behind your business on your homepage and your unique selling proposition so when someone comes to your website, it's kind of a no-brainer. They can tell, this is what this company is, this is what they do, this is why they do it. It's very, very important. So, I just wanted to mention that.
Jake Braun:
That is super important. And with that, I think that’s it. It’s been a great 22nd episode. And definitely do feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments about anything we talked about today or marketing in general. You can visit us on our website, KickinItWithKapok.com, or on social media. We're on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as Kapok Marketing.
This has been Kickin’ it with Kapok brought to you by Kapok Marketing. Thanks for listening. We’ll have something just as great for you next time.