If you are building your very first website, how do you know what to consider when evaluating website solutions?
A lot of first-time websites are made without adequate forethought to answering the right questions. And it makes sense because how would you know what you don’t know you need to know? Because of this conundrum it’s common to be in a place of, “I don’t know what I really need, what I really want, or even where to start.”
From DIY to custom built websites, what should you be thinking about when you are searching for a solution for you? The following 3 questions will help guide you:
1. What’s My Financial* Budget?
By answering this question at the start, you can go through and narrow down your possible choices in website solutions and services.
To figure out your budget, you will want to consider three investments
- Preparation which includes all the things you may need to do or prepare for a website. Every therapist is different in what they may need to spend here. Some examples of investments that could be made leading up to a website include: private practice consulting, copywriting, branding, or logo or graphic design work. The sky is the limit with the investment levels involved in these services. If you’re planning your budget for all marketing expenses though, deeply consider what you could invest in each need.
- Design and development includes the actual website project. Each website solution is different but you might be considering DIY platform, installing a template, customizing a template, or getting or creating a fully custom design. Design and development costs can be as low as free on the DIY end to $5,000 or more. How much could you spend on the design and development of your website?
- Ongoing investment includes things like your domain, hosting, security, maintenance, support services like design and development updates, and other updates. To set a budget for this, evaluate how much you could afford monthly. Ongoing investment will range from $10 – $200/month
*Every direction that you can go in with your website will involve an investment of time, energy, AND money (nothing is free) but knowing in advance what your limits are financially will help eliminate website solutions that are just simply out of financial reach.
2. Do I Want To Learn Tech Stuff? And If So, How Much?
Every solution has a learning curve. Even the “easiest” DIY page builder platforms will take dedicated time to understand.
Even in the case of DIY solutions, you’ll be faced with the decision of how much you will want to learn. In many cases, the less you learn, the more expensive it is.
Website options that require you to learn less means paying more but for many therapists, the trade off is worth it.
But it’s not only about expenses, it’s also about interest in learning. This is a highly personal decision. Some therapists jump at the chance of learning website development and management skills and others find it draining, stressful, and overwhelming.
When searching for website solutions, you’ll be able to research what amount of tech stuff you’ll need to do for designing and supporting your site ongoing. If you already have determined how much tech stuff is a good fit for you, it will be easier to select a good-fit solution for you.
3. What Features Do I Need To Realize My Digital Marketing Strategy? And When Do I Need Them?
In so so many cases therapists build a therapy website and then consider putting together their digital marketing strategy afterwards. But this is backwards.
If you build a website before you put together your strategy, you’ll have built a marketing tool that hasn’t been built with your marketing strategy in mind. You’ll miss the ability to choose the right features for the job and potentially have invested your time, energy, and money into a website that doesn’t have the features you actually need.
So instead of waiting until after your website is built, consider putting together a simple marketing strategy before building a website.
For example, if you know in advance that you’ll want to blog, making sure you choose a website solution that is a good fit for blogging is a must. And likewise if you know you’ll want to grow an email list, you’ll want to make sure you choose a website solution that supports all aspects of email marketing like optin forms and landing pages.
You’ll also want to think about the future. Perhaps there are features that you don’t need now but will need later.
If you know that you’ll want to sell products in the next year or two, you’ll want to make sure ecommerce is something that you can grow to either with the website solution that you start out with or with a website solution that is easily transferred to when the time comes.
Not all website solutions allow for your data and images to be easily moved when you’re ready to graduate so this is a very important piece of researching website solutions if you know you’ll want to grow your website.
So once you know both the features that you need now and the features you will need down the road, you can support both the now and the trajectory that you are on.
Having clarity on your digital marketing strategy means clarity on these features.
Having Answers To These Questions Will Guide Your Decision
There’s an endless amount of things that can be considered but at some point, you do have to get out of the research phase and just make a decision.
If you take the time to sit down and really explore your unique answers to these 3 questions, you’ll have enough information to go on for choosing how to build your first website.
For some therapists, they decide to build their website with help and in other cases, therapists take up doing design and management of their website themselves. Every therapist is different so it’s encouraged that you to figure out what’s the best way forward for you.
What is your best way forward? Have you decided? Would love to know what you choose or if you are still deliberating. And if deliberating, do these questions help? Let me know by reaching out anytime.