Your Website Is Your Beachhead
I am going to recommend a different approach for your small business using a military term as a basis: A beachhead. A beachhead is a defended position on a beach taken away from the enemy by landing forces from which an attack can be launched. So it’s a like a home base. Your first goal on the web is to understand your objectives and create a beachhead. This book will give you a home base. Once those objectives are met, you can plug (and unplug) other campaigns into the foundation as your resources accrue and it makes sense. Otherwise, you will find yourself falling for the next pitch and making other people money as you hemorrhage your resources.
I was talking to a design agency recently and the issue of cheap web design was part of the discussion. It was her mind-set that if a business didn’t have enough money to have a professional website developed and maintained, then they should start with a Facebook page and forget having a website until they have accrued enough financial resources.
I was a bit thrown off by this comment. Not having a website in today’s world seems a bit extreme. But after thinking through her statement, I understood her point. Having a cheap website that is poorly developed doesn’t do much for a business other than giving them a web address to stick on a business card. Plus if created poorly, it could actually repel customers. I think if I could have dug into the sentiment a little further, her refined statement would be something like, “If you are not serious about your business, then save your money until you are ready to commit.”
It seems harsh, but it’s true. Going back to our beachhead analogy, what good would it be if soldiers used paper for protection from flying bullets and the barrage of attacks? The honest answer is, “if paper is all you are going to use for protection, then don’t go. Save the soldiers’ lives, ammunition, fuel and effort.” An effective website design is much more than a theme, cheap hosting, or a website builder.
She’s saying the same thing, if you are not going to seriously establish a strong beachhead (web development), save your money, time, effort and reputation until you are ready. Its actually great advice, but in reality its unrealistic to not have a website.
If you are a business and are serious about competing, you have to invest a serious effort on the web. When properly developed, it will not only present your business in a clear fashion to your prospects, but will often bring clarity to your overall business model.