You’re not buying a website. You’re buying a desired reality
When you buy a ‘website’ solution, you’re being sold what you think you want, not what you need. What you need is clarity on your best business and personal outcomes for being online. Now and into the future.
What is it that really matters to you? If your potential web developer doesn’t invest significant time in working with you to understand that, dig deep and establish your ultimate business and personal outcomes, you’ll end up with a website.
Not an asset. Not your desired reality. Not spending time with your grandchildren (or your parents) or doing what matters most in your life.
Let’s first examine a script of the most common issues business owners face ‘buying’ a website.
‘I’ve been in business for years and spent a fortune but never really got a website solution I’m happy with.
I’m embarrassed by my current website, but I’ve been burnt before. The thought of trying to find the right developer knowing how much time it’s going to take let alone how much it will cost puts me off doing anything about it.
The developer who built my last site has gone off the radar and doesn’t answer my calls, I have no idea what my login details are or how to change stuff on the site.
I’m a bit technologically challenged, so it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s bulldust, especially when they start using geek language.
I don’t know if what I’m being asked to spend is fair and reasonable. How do I get an apples and apples quote on something so complex as a website and all the other online stuff?
A web developer I spoke to said they will build the site, do SEO, SEM and also sort out my social media. They do it all in India. Seems like a good deal although they haven’t told me much about the return on investment or if there are any ongoing costs.
My web developer has his own platform. He says it’s brilliant and much better than WordPress because it’s doesn’t need plugins.
It’s frustrating because I have so much to share with my market about my value, but I wouldn’t have a clue how to do it on my current website.
I don’t know whether to blog in my business name or in my personal name. I’ve bought quite a few domains, but don’t know which one to use. Should I ask my web developer?
I’ve written some blogs, although they seem random and unrelated. My web developer said to just get some content onto my site because it’s good for SEO.’
The real problem
The real problem is much greater than these relatively superficial issues. It’s about working very hard in your business for decades building your value and then not realising the asset that should be represented by that value.
Handled correctly, the online space is a vital set of tools, way beyond marketing, to help you achieve success.
Success online starts with clarity of your offer. That alone builds your business. Then it becomes the repository of your value, it builds your profile and influence, establishes your credibility, puts you in touch with the people you most need to work with and drives your own and others’ perception of your value. It helps you make a difference in others’ lives.
It’s a minefield isn’t it?
The online space might be portrayed as a minefield. It’s not because it is overly complex or unwieldy in itself.
It’s because it’s populated with experts of fast opinion about the best way to build a bells and whistles website, not about the best way to use the online space to build your business and realise your personal outcomes.
Web developers are rarely business or life coaches. They’re not marketing experts. They build websites. The best advice they could give is for you to seek excellent business and marketing counsel first before going online.
You need the ammunition to make sure you don’t ‘buy a website’, but partner successfully to secure your ability to:
- disseminate your key messages and reach the people who most want what you offer
- enrich, change, even save lives
- secure a sound exit strategy.
Exit strategy? Absolutely. You’re not busting your gut now to just work for the rest of your life. You’re working so you can spend more time with those you love and make a difference in theirs’ and others’ lives. Or whatever floats your boat. Although, that seems like a good enough reason to warrant getting it right online now.
Here are three principles to help you get it right online and guide you away from those who would have you believe your business and personal outcomes will be served with their brilliant website solution.
1. Clarity of intention directs why you position what and for who online
Having a clearly articulated intention for anything you do is a great way to go forward and upward, not sideways and in circles. It’s vital to your success online.
You have to understand with, dare I say it, brutal clarity, what you’re positioning and for who. Brutal, because it’s excoriating work.
It means you can’t indulge in multiple offers or ideas or possibilities. You have to shed all but your best offer for the people you most want to help.
You need to understand how to attract the fewer people online you should work with because you really can make a difference in their lives, rather than the multitude you should not touch with a barge pole because they don’t give a toss.
If your web developer suggests ‘services and products’ as a standard part of the website’s primary navigation options, they just don’t get this. Walk away.
2. Getting it right online is an investment in clarifying, ordering and sharing your business value
Once you’re clear on your best offer for your best client, how do you go about organising your value and the content that supports that, so you can share it coherently online?
If this is not a conversation your web developer has with you, then you will be saddled with a brochure website solution.
It might do a passable job at articulating your offer’s features and benefits.
It won’t support a block by block building of your purpose for the work you aim to deliver that will change people’s lives. That’s why you’re in business isn’t it? If not, then just buy a website.
3. Confused positioning compromises the right choice of online asset
It’s a waste of your time, money, resources and it compromises your exit strategy.
Being online is a strategic and tactical exercise in ensuring your future business desires. It should also deliver your service so that it honours your value and the people you serve.
Which is why it is a tactical error and waste of your resources not to work out exactly what you’re positioning for what outcome.
Did your web developer ask you what your exit strategy was? Did they ask you how you want to serve others, make a difference, build an asset, leverage your value, scale your business? Did they ask you to paint a picture of your ideal client? Did they say they wanted to partner in your success?
Or did they just talk about functions, design, templates, costs, inclusions, exclusions, SEO, SEM, social media?
Invest in finding a collaborator who wants to build you an online platform from which you can make a difference in the lives of the people you serve. Who understands there is a realistic timeframe in which you can work before life will change for you. Then value them and support them to do the work that will make a difference in your life.