The emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – all three bearing their own unique elements practically tailor-made for promoting your business – has not at all lessened the importance of a well-constructed, brand-appropriate website.
In fact, if you're “doing” social media well enough, it's highly likely that you'll see more traffic to your site than in the past.
“Websites are still the first resource most prospective customers draw on to filter potential suppliers, shortlist and/or validate purchasing decisions,” consultant René Power says.
“Think about it. When you run a search for information that is going to help you make a decision about who and where to purchase from, where do you go first? It’s more likely to be a website for a product or service provider rather than a Facebook page or a blog.”
“Websites are a primary digital marketing tool because they represent home base – the point where all promotional roads should return to,” Power says.
“Sure, PR gets you noticed. Advertising gets you remembered. Email gets you clickthroughs. Social gets you shared. But all these platforms need to lead somewhere.”
There are many choices these days as to how you can go about developing or (redeveloping your site) – more choices than ever, in fact.
You could pay a hefty fee to a trendy web design firm, cross your fingers and hope that a bunch of bearded Gen-Ys can come up with something remotely suitable. You could also purchase some highly technical web development software and spend (possibly) hundreds of hours in DIY mode (potentially getting nowhere).
Or, you could try one of the many online, template-based website builders, with the distinct chance this will both frustrate the hell out of you and leave you underwhelmed. Not to mention the ordeal involved in attempting to track down some technical support!
Another, less-stressful option is a “managed” website such as the various packages offered by Sensis.
Managed website services are exactly what they sound like – you pretty much hand over the reins of the development, maintenance and management of your website to an external party, while still being able to call the shots on the content.
Managed websites typically involve a “once off” design fee plus a variable monthly fee, depending on the level of service you're looking for.
The beauty of this type of service is that there are no hidden costs. Sensis products, for example, include Basic ($59/month), Professional ($79/month) and Premium ($99/month) packages.
Each package includes extras such as an initial consultation, copywriting assistance, domain name registration, multiple email addresses, plus the ability to make changes to your website yourself.
You can also speak to an actual human anytime between 9am and 5pm if you're stuck on something.
In terms of Sensis websites in particular, all sites are built using responsive design, which means they are (quite importantly) optimised for all internet-enabled devices, including tablets and mobiles.