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TECH BYTE: creating websites or other digital assets, but short a few hands

October 14th, 2015 | | industry

web development groupCreating websites and other digital assets for a small business is no walk in the park. In fact, the opposite is true. Developing good digital communication for small business is in fact one of the most challenging tasks. Especially if it’s one of the first digital communications projects you have ever undertaken.  Your time will be spent around the many and varied components of creating a professional website and/or marketing campaign. And you are unlikely to have a digital team like the one in the photo left.

New kids on the digital block
Its even more challenging if you haven’t created much professional marketing materials of any kind before! Like a brochure, a radio ad or even a simple quarter page ad.

It takes considerable time, effort, skill and consequently – cost to get a truly professional and effective result. Some say that websites and digital (social) media is ‘free’, this is simply not true.  Your time is money, your staff’s time is your money.

If you are about to embark on your first or next web project, here are the types of surprises you might be in for, be they good, bad or ugly.

1. Quality costs

Most small business operators have been exposed to the some of the various creative components of a professional website such as writing, photograph and artwork. But few are familiar with the time and cost associated with achieving a professional – as distinct from amateur, result.

2. There is no set and forget in marketing

Small business operators typically prepare and arrange a promotional piece or campaign periodically, perhaps once a year. However the web is virtually heaving with brand new content every minute of the day. That means that if a visitor to your website or social network doesn’t see much change since the last time they visited, they will be disappointed or get the impression that you are either slow or sloppy – two flaws that might cost you their business.

Small business operators need to get their heads around just how much time and/or money is required to create and promote regular content.

3. Complexity

As mentioned above, websites are far more complex than the bulk of traditional small business promotional projects (like a brochure).  There is often overwhelming convergence of marketing, creative, technical and co-ordination expertise, this is enough to dissuade even the most experienced business operator.

The result is a journey not unlike a marathon, if you haven’t trained and aren’t prepared then you may not make it.

4. What do you mean ‘news’?

The notion of ‘news’ is commonplace in larger business.  They typically have teams of marketing, writing and publicity professionals constantly coming up with new angles and/or offers to pitch to both the media and customers directly. But this constant flow of new information about your small business, particularly in news-hungry social media, is foreign to smaller business who are far more familiar with the set and forget methods outlined above.

5. Penny-drop moments

One of the real penny-dropping moments for a first time website owner is when they get a sale or even inquiry from a source well away from their online efforts – something that tells them their offline or traditional marketing is working together with their new site or social assets. They then understand the notion of the world being both on and offline.

6. Adwords aren’t for everyone

Even some 15 years after their introduction, ‘pay per click’ advertising, as offered by search engines and other online advertising media, are still fascinating to most small business operators.

Its the closest thing to the familiar Yellow Pages style of advertising (i.e. classifieds), many small businesses have at least tried Adwords, only for many to be disappointed.   Whilst the notion of paying for a response instead of a supposed ‘view’ like most traditional media is far fairer and more accountable to many, the low barrier to entry mean that pretty much every competitor they have is competing for the customer’s eyeballs and subsequent click, and consequently driving up its price.

What are some of the most difficult aspects of web design? Have your say

Written by Chris Harrison

Content credit: Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.