One of the biggest reasons that small business owners cite for not launching company websites is a perceived lack of time. If you’re in this position, you’re already stressed by the demands of running a business – how can you be expected to add even more to your workload by building and managing a website?
In fact, running a business website doesn’t have to be that complicated or time-consuming. Though there’s no sure-fire way to estimate the exact amount of time needed to build and manage your site (as a number of different factors will play a role in determining your site’s size and complexity), there are plenty of ways you can save yourself time while fulfilling this vital business function.
Here’s what you need to know:
Time Saving Tip #1 – Use template services
First things first… When many business owners think about building a website, they’re envisioning the “old school” way – the one that requires you to learn HTML from the ground up and painstakingly hand-code every element on your website.
Fortunately, there’s a much better way of doing things these days!
Today, plenty of different services exist that provide basic website templates that can be modified to suit your business’s personality and objectives. In a sense, using these templates prevents you from reinventing the wheel and allows you to save a considerable amount of time over building a new website from scratch.
As an example, if you take a look at Homestead’s SiteBuilder program, you’ll find hundreds of different website templates that you can build on when creating your small business website. Using the program’s drag-and-drop features allows you to add in your own images, text and more – all without ever looking at a single line of code.
Or, if even the thought of customizing your own site template sounds overwhelming, you can always let Homestead’s team of professional designers build a site for you. There’s an extra charge, but you’ll walk away with a fully-functioning website, as well as all the training needed to maintain the site on your own.
All told, taking a complete business website from idea to launch can be done in less than an hour using the SiteBuilder tool (depending, of course, on the size of your finished site). This represents a huge time-savings over building a unique site from scratch, making small business website creation available to all company owners – no matter how crunched for time you may be!
Time Saving Tip #2 – Commit small blocks of time to website upkeep
Now, once your new template-based website is live, it’s important to keep in mind that proper website operation isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of thing. For best results, websites need to be updated periodically in order to appeal to both customer visitors (who love to engage with new content) and the search engines (who prefer to prioritize “fresher” sites in their results pages).
The amount of time your business will need to dedicate to website upkeep will vary, depending on the scope of your site’s content. If, for example, you have a simple, text-based “billboard style” website that doesn’t do much beyond advertising your products and/or services, your maintenance needs might be limited to adding “News” updates periodically in order to keep your site fresh.
On the other hand, if your website includes ecommerce or community-building tools, you may find yourself on the hook for significantly more upkeep. While scripted tools can make managing both of these features more efficient, you’ll still need to commit regular time to updating inventory levels, adding or removing products and reaching out to the community members who interact with your website.
But no matter what the case may be in your situation, one thing you can do to make website management easier is to commit small blocks of time to site upkeep within your schedule. As with so many other things in life, allowing website management tasks to build up and become backlogged can make the idea of taking any steps forward feel overwhelming. To prevent this situation from derailing your investment in your website, tackle tasks while they’re still small by making site maintenance a regular part of your routine.
Time Saving Tip #3 – Delegate website management when possible
Of course, no matter how good your intentions might be when it comes to regular site upkeep, most business owners are likely to encounter either temporary or permanent demands on their time that prevent them from actively managing their sites.
If you find yourself in this position, don’t give up! Simply running out of time isn’t a good enough reason to deny your company the benefits that having a fully-functioning, actively-managed website can entail.
Instead, consider delegating website upkeep tasks whenever your other responsibilities pull you away from your site work. When it comes to delegation, you have two different options:
- Delegating to a member of your team, or
- Delegating to an external website management agency
If you’re fortunate enough to have business partners or employees with extra time, ask them to take over certain aspects of your website’s maintenance. As long as you’ve used a template tool like Homestead’s SiteBuilder, it will be easy for even “non-techies” to take over your company’s website responsibilities.
If there’s nobody within your organization who can take on your site’s upkeep, consider bringing on a virtual assistant or website management agency on a regular or a project-limited basis. Homestead’s professional website designers can assist with site updates on a project-by-project basis, or you can look to services like Guru.com or Elance.com for long-term support from an outsourced worker.
So although there’s no perfect way to estimate how much time you’ll spend building or maintaining your website, odds are it’s less than you think. Following the time saving tips listed above – as well as taking advantage of Homestead’s suite of website creation tools – makes it possible for any small business owner to enjoy all the company benefits that a thriving, engaging website has to offer.