Is Your Website Ready for Work, or an Auto Show?

Several times a year, major auto shows are held in cities like Paris, New York, and Milan, so the world’s top car designers can meet to show off their concepts. According to media reports, it isn’t unusual for the companies in attendance to spend several hundreds of thousands of dollars just to make the trip and participate.

That wouldn’t be so noteworthy, given the size of the auto industry, if it weren’t for the fact that most of the concepts being shown off will never be sold in dealerships, or driven by actual customers. Instead, the more outrageous designs are placed on slick revolving displays, all in the name of promoting “the concept”.

That’s a strange way to market a business, to be sure. What’s more, though, is that it isn’t entirely unlike the way a lot of creative firms handle web design. Instead of designing sites that help businesses grow and attract customers – in other words, giving their clients what they need – they focus on “custom development” projects that don’t really benefit anyone.

Recently, we’ve made an effort to help our clients try to understand that custom website development, in its many forms, is one of the most over-used (and overcharged) services in our industry. With the technical capabilities that a good CMS like WordPress, Shopify or HubSpot offers these days, there just isn’t much need for all of that programming. Lots of great plug-ins exist to add back-end capabilities to a basic website, and these can accomplish 98% or more of the tasks that too many companies are spouting as development projects or unique apps.

So, why are we going against so much of the standard advice and advising that our clients skip the “auto show” approach other creative agencies are taking? Here are four of the most important reasons:

1. Building a content management system-based website is faster.

No one likes sitting around and waiting for a web development team to finish their work, not even designers. But, it’s more than a little bit of frustration that’s at stake here. The faster your website can be completed and launched, the more quickly you can get to actually marketing it, and producing the real-world results you were hoping for when you decided to get a new website in the first place.

2. CMS sites are more cost-effective, too.

Obviously, the cost of all that web development can easily add up. Would you rather spend thousands of dollars having a programmer put together a piece of software that needs to be developed, tested, and later updated, or spend a little bit of money on a plug-in that’s already been through that development process and accomplishes what you need?

3. You can update a CMS-based site without having an IT professional around.

One problem with custom development sites is that they can be extraordinarily difficult to update or change. That’s a problem if your company’s ever going to grow, shift strategies, add new content, or even do things like change prices and contact information. The best and most useful websites are the ones that are in constant change and evolution, so yours needs to have flexibility and the ability for future upgrades built in from the first day.

4. By spending less on web development, you can put your money where it actually makes a difference.

The most important thing to know about a CMS-based site is that it lets you save your money for the things that actually matter. Simply put, it isn’t that expensive or time-consuming to create and launch a business website that’s both powerful and beautiful. What’s a lot more difficult and time intensive, though, is generating a plan to market the website and use it for lead generation. That’s where most of your time and money should actually be spent.

If we actually took the time to attend a major auto show, we might find that they are actually fun and interesting. But from an outside, bottom-line perspective, they sure seem a lot like an expensive form of artistic time-wasting. We strongly encourage you not to follow the same kind of plan with your business website. Instead of spending time and money on something that your customers don’t actually want or need, why not invest in one that’s nearly ready to use, and profit from, right off the lot?

Learn a bit more about our process…

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