There is one thing that cannot be overemphasized in modern business, which is the need for a professionally designed website. While directories were the in-thing a few decades back, your website today speaks a lot about your business. This is your business address in a world that is becoming more dependent on the internet.
The Power of Numbers
According to the Mobile Industry Review there are over 3 billion internet users today. This means business has moved online with more shoppers opting to buy goods and services online. Studies show only 35% of the world had access to the Internet at the beginning of 2014 but by January 2015, 42% of the world was connected. This translates to half a billion people over one year getting connected to the Internet.
Another study by eMarketer says half of the world will have regular access to the Internet by 2018. The numbers according to the study are expected to rise by 6.2% to reach over 42.4% of the entire world’s population. Clearly if you don’t have an online presence through a well-designed website, you are missing out on a big portion of your target market
Bottom-line? You need to start leveraging these numbers whatever type of business you are in. A website not only makes your business visible to more people it also makes it easier to transact in the global market place. Your site is also invaluable in business marketing because you can integrate different digital marketing tools including video, social media, SEO, PPC among others. Simply put, you will enjoy more revenue if you have a professional website.
To get a good website you can choose to have one custom built for you or you can opt to buy an existing website. If you choose to buy you need to recognize that buying a website is as important as purchasing a business premises. Furthermore, it is a complex process akin to taking over someone’s business. In essence, you should never rush the process and professional guidance becomes crucial. To make the right purchase, here are some important considerations:
1. Define Your Goals
Before you even contact a website owner you must have an idea of your overall business goals. Your objectives should be the building blocks for your website. Every business is unique and you must understand what you are buying the website for. You might be bidding to get an eCommerce platform while the next buyer might be interested in an interactive blog. Therefore, your objectives will help you decide whether you want videos website, a blog, an ecommerce platform or a simple brochure type page.
2. What is on Offer?
If you take a cursory glance online you will find many companies selling websites. However, not every deal is suitable for you. Again this goes back to what you really want. The rule of thumb here is to buy a website where you own everything. From the CMS, HTML code, domain, contact information, licenses for background images to social media accounts for the page everything else should become yours once the contract is done.
3. Do Your Research
You need to assess the market especially your competition and see how their websites look like. From this point you can now conceptualize what your website should and should not look like. Ideally you want a website that looks better, is easier to use than your competitors. Look for that edge that your website will have over your competitors’.
4. Evaluate the Website
Now that you know what you want, it is time to look at what the seller has to offer. The best website should be unique such that your business stands out from the competition. You must also consider the ease of content editing on the website because you need to personalize the platform to reflect your personality.
A good website should be easy to edit in case you want to add menus, change titles, add pages, etc. It is also important to review the website’s history to avoid buying a website that has a litany of customer complaints or one that has been penalized by search engines in the past. It is also important to consider the quality and amount of traffic the page receives before spending a penny.
5. Consider the Cost and Maintenance Time
A site might be beautifully designed but then you have to consider the cost of maintenance. It might also be tedious to maintain several social media accounts and a blog at the same time. Therefore, when buying the site ensure that you can handle the pressure involved in regularly updating your content.
6. Consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google algorithms change regularly and if there is one thing you must consider, it is ensuring that your website ranks well on search engine results pages. When buying a site make sure it is fully optimized for search engines. To ensure that the website is SEO friendly look out for past search engine penalties, quality and amount of content on the website, on page optimization, number and quality of links pointing back to the website, etc.
7. Consider the Type of Website
This is one of the most confusing aspects of buying a website. On most auction pages you will find offers for custom-coded and CMS websites. While you might not have a programming background, you need to understand that a custom-coded site can only be changed by someone who knows how to write code-especially if it does not come with a CMS. It may be a cheaper option upfront, but then again the content is usually more static and you may need to hire someone to help you edit the content in future.
Content management systems (CMS) for instance WordPress and Joomla websites are built on a predesigned template. Such websites might be expensive initially but making changes is easy.
8. How Will the Transaction be Done?
If you are doing a face to face transaction then you just need to seal the deal in front of a lawyer after verifying everything works well. However, if you are buying the website over the Internet you need to be more careful. Use escrow services when making the payment so that the seller only receives the money after you have verified that the website is as described and after he transfers all ownership (domain name, hosting accounts, social media accounts, etc.) to you.
To avoid pitfalls along the road always work with an experienced web developer, SEO expert or an internet marketing professional to guide you through the process.
There are some other factors you need to consider including the reputation of the seller and after sales support. Whatever you do, make sure that you buy a website that perfectly suits your business needs.