Questions to ask yourself before deciding to build a website

Times certainly have changed, haven’t they?

Author: Tessa Burnett Witmer

Coronavirus pulled the rug out from many small businesses who were operating mainly face-to-face before they were forced to shut down.

Scrambling, many businesses decided that it was time to go online.

If you haven’t made the leap yet, here are five things to consider before deciding to build a website.

  1. Budget. How much money do you have to spend on this project? The amount of money you have available to build a website can help you determine if you’ll build it yourself or if you’ll hire a professional. For most small businesses, a simple website starts around $2500 and goes up -- way up -- from there, depending on the functionality you need and want. If that’s more than you have to spend, you’ll likely want to look into building it yourself.
  2. Timeline. When do you want your website to launch? Depending on if you’re building it yourself or hiring it out, having an ideal launch date will allow you to set deadlines to reach your goals on time. Don’t forget to consider that regardless if you build your website yourself or hire it out, you’ll still be responsible for creating the content for your website. That means you’ll need all the copy (text), images, products, and other information that will go on the site. You can always hire someone to help you create these, but it’s going to increase your budget (see #1) and lengthen your timeline.
  1. Commitment. If you’re struggling with finding the time and money to build it yourself or hire it out, consider your commitment to moving your business online. If it’s not financially necessary to have a website, there are many zero-cost alternatives to being visible online without building a fancy website (See my free Google trainings for more info). But if it can help grow your business and it’s been on your to-do list for a long time, that might mean that it’s time to bite the bullet and hire someone to help you.
  2. Maintenance and updates. Do you plan to do the updating and maintenance on your website, or is this something you’ll hire someone else to do? Of course, hiring someone costs money, but doing it yourself costs time. And, if you’re not realistic (or committed -- see #3 above) about the time you’ll devote to updating it on a regular basis, you could end up with an outdated website way before you ever planned.
  3. Platform. Websites are built with, or on, a platform. Certain platforms are better for information-based websites, while others are best for e-commerce. While some are very user-friendly, others can be very technical and cumbersome to work with. Because many web developers specialize in one or more platforms, it’s best to decide which platform you need before you start interviewing developers. We cover platforms in depth during my free Taking Your Business Online workshop.

Of course, building a website will require you to ask yourself more than these five questions, but these are a great place to start! The next step: Sign up for my free training,

Intro to DIY Websites:Choosing the Best Platform for Your Business.

Tessa Burnett Witmer is the owner of Hattie Rex, a handmade gift boutique in Bozeman and online, as well as the founder of Lightbox, a small business consultancy that helps artists sell online. She’s a Prospera trainer offering instruction on Google Business, DIY Websites, and Email marketing.