Aware of the fast pace of the world we live in, which seems to have accelerated even more in the last few months, you have taken a deep look at your company and concluded that your business needs to build its online presence ‘on the internet’. The DIY approach – is it a wise frugal move or a road to disaster?
Should you ask your close family and friends to help you for free, or should you hire a professional? How not to end up in a nightmare where nothing works and it is easier to start from scratch than try to solve all the problems?
Our opinion? If you are starting from zero and you have no ‘online experience’, hire professionals to set up everything for you nicely and then, if you prefer, go DIY using the final product of their work. And the best order for hiring professionals is, from our point of view: SEO specialist – web designer/developer – copywriter – photographer/videographer – online advertising specialist. If you would like to know the exact reason, why we recommend going about it this way, just keep on reading.
The last months have made something very clear to most business owners: if your business is still not represented online and you rely 100% on only traditional ways of sales and promotion, it’s time to change and do something about it.
The moment this realisation happens comes with a wave of sheer panic – “now I need to create a website, maybe even an online shop, I need to get to digital advertising, I need to build my presence in social media, make sure the website ranks on Google, organise an online customer service team to answer any questions/problems of my online users, etc, etc” (emoji hyperventilating with paper bag over his mouth).
The list goes on and on and you realise “this must cost a fortune; I can’t possibly afford all of that, especially now my business got hit by the COVID epidemic. Let me try to do everything myself… Oh, wait a minute! A have a nephew who is always glued to his laptop, I think he is even working in ‘some kind of technology stuff’, I will ask him to create a website for me” (emoji with glorious and victorious look). And so you do.
Your nephew has actually little to no experience in web development, but that’s not such a big problem, because you choose WordPress and he, being millennial (meaning ‘by default a natural in anything that is internet-related’), manages to set up a website that looks OK. In the process, he asks whether you would like to purchase a premium WordPress theme, or go with a free one.
You don’t really understand what he means, but if the choice is between paying for something or getting it for free, the answer is quite obvious to you. Then you fill the website with some photos you’ve taken with your iPhone (the camera is great, so why pay for pictures?!) you write several phrases, reassuring your clients with your 20+ years on the market, lots of experience and a ‘young and highly motivated team’ (the single worst sentence or claim anyone can use online or offline! Emoji with eyes rolled and nauseous air), and you go live. You register in all the social media you can remember and maybe even set up your first advertising campaign. Well done! You managed to do everything yourself, or with a ‘little help from your friends and family’, and didn’t spend almost any money.
But then time passes, and you see that there are no leads coming in; there are no sales, nobody is contacting your business on Social Media and your website is nowhere to be found on Google. Plus, the ads campaigns you’ve set up continue to pump money out of your credit card every month, with no result whatsoever. You decide that ‘the internet doesn’t work for your business or is broken’ and you give up.
In a better case scenario, you decide to reach out to professionals and maybe even order a thorough website audit to see what was ‘that one’ issue that you’ve missed. But the results shock you – you have so many problems that solving all of them would cost you more than actually creating a good website from scratch. But at this point your campaigns, not being fully optimised, have already dried up your budget and you really can’t afford to do anything about it. What a nightmare!
Unfortunately, these stories happen quite often. And sometimes, the company decides to actually pay for one element (like the website creation, for example) but ends up with similar issues, because for your digital business to work properly and bring you sales, it needs to be well prepared and thought through in ‘all directions’.
You might be wondering, what is the alternative? We vote for investing more in the initial ‘setting up’ period of your digital business, get everything done wisely and professionally, and only after that go DIY, using that basis the professionals have built for you. In the long run, this will save you hundreds if not thousands of Euros.
So, assuming you have no online presence right now, which professionals and in which order do you need to hire them? Here’s our take on it:
1. First, you hire a SEO specialist. You might say “but I don’t have a website yet, what the hell will he optimise?!”. Not having a website yet is exactly the reason why you need him first, as you have a golden opportunity to nail it all from the very beginning. The SEO specialist will sit with you to understand your business and objectives, your clients’ needs, and then, based on that, will prepare a plan for your future website – its structure, topic of each page, technical requirements, etc. Basically, the SEO specialist will prepare a well researched and detailed task description for whoever is going to create your website.
2. At this point you need a web designer/ developer, for now it’s time to actually build your website. Let the SEO specialist work directly with the developer and this way your new website will be optimised from day one.
3. Time for a copywriter. Now you need to create content for your website that should be not only optimised for Google, but also really useful for your clients. In many cases, your SEO specialist might be able to perform this function as well, in which case he will, for sure, suggest that. But keep in mind that some SEO specialists are very technical guys (and gals!) and, while they are rock stars in optimising websites, when it comes to copy, their writing may be a little off. So, do not hesitate to ask your SEO specialist for examples of content that he has written for other websites. If you like what he shows you, then you don’t need to hire an additional person.
4. Photographer/ videographer. Visual elements are everything when it comes to digital marketing. So, when setting up things, make sure you have really high-quality photos. And if your budget allows it, order a short promotional video too. You will thank yourself in the future, when running, for instance, social media ads, as they will usually have lower costs, if a video is used as its visual creative element.
5. And finally, when your website is live, hire a digital advertising specialist to create your first campaigns. This way, if you decide you want to continue by yourself afterwards, you will have an example of a well performing campaign i.e. something to use as guidance.
Of course, maybe you are lucky and your family tree actually has a SEO specialist, a web developer, a digital marketer, and everyone else you need to go through with this. Then by all means go DIY, go with the family! But, if that’s not your case, remember the cheapest is the dearest.
Make sure your business is well set up online once, and you will not need to worry moving forward (while saving resources and your nerves!).
By investing more in the beginning, you save up a lot of money in the future, by not needing to fix your website, optimise it for Google, rewrite all the content and spend big budgets on inefficient campaigns.
And remember that, apart from the occasional network or server failures, the internet does not break down and works (almost) always!