Know Thyself

So last month we broke our website. Oops. It prompted some helpful thoughts and lessons about small business websites. We fixed it. Sorta. Here’s why.

Big takeaway: Know thyself.

By understanding why you have a website and what you get out of it, you can make better decisions about what to put into a website.

Short version: So an upgrade broke our website (quick tip: always backup). It was due to a really old and out of date theme, so there really wasn’t any restoring from backup. Instead, we spent an entire morning recreating the site with a new theme.

We thought about hiring some pros and making something new and awesome, but the reality is we don’t need to. Why not?

Our website isn’t exactly a lead generator. Nobody stumbles across us online and decides to hire us. Most of our work comes from referrals, and our website is mostly to confirm who we are, communicate what we do, and showcase our skill. So there’s no need to invest a ton of money into it. We just need something that works.

So we cobbled together a site that works. It does what we need.

That’s the key for any organization. Figure out what you need and build that. If you sell widgets online or fund your operations through online donations, you need a much more robust website and a team to manage things (so a simple upgrade won’t break things).

But if you don’t rely on your website for income, it’s probably a lower priority. If you’re just sharing info and you don’t have a ton of traffic, a simpler, off-the-shelf site will probably work.

Know what you need.