A lot of businesses are beginning to realise that there is a huge variation in what you can pay for a website.
It’s not unheard of for some outfits here in Christchurch to be charging upward of $10,000 for a business website. Then of course there are the value-priced websites (we could say cheap but some don’t like the connotation) you can get from PogoStick Web Services.
Why do website prices vary?
So why the huge variation in website prices? For expensive websites from regular providers there are the usual overheads you’ll be contributing to: director salaries, marketing teams, office rent and a healthy gross profit. But it’s not all just hot air you’re paying for – high-priced websites also tend to offer additional services such as business plan consulting, online marketing advice and writing the content. It’s this last point we’ll consider today.
DIY – Not just for builders
The thing with the extra services expensive providers offer is that most of them, with the aid of Google and a bit of time, can be learned. There is a huge amount of advice and guidance for website owners on the internet (granted some of it is of doubtful value but there are trusted sources of knowledge including Google itself).
You could literally save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars if you learned some of these skills yourself, including writing your own content. Writing in general is not something a lot of people enjoy. They run screaming from the task, haunted and traumatised by memories of pressured exam halls and late night essays, 25,000-word requirements and unreasonable deadlines. That’s a lot of baggage and it usually means that most of us have grown up viewing writing as a chore, and not one of those pleasant chores like mowing the lawn on a summer’s day or washing the car (on your allotted watering day if you’re enduring water restrictions like we have in Christchurch at the moment).
So it’s no wonder writing is a struggle. As a professional writer I know the pain of staring at a blank page and having no clue about where to start. I also know that a lot of business owners would rather pay a lot of money to someone else to do it instead, such as a contractor like myself. But I also know that it’s entirely possible for a budget-conscious business owner to learn basic writing skills and do the job themselves, saving hundreds of dollars and getting the great website they want for their business.
What’s the secret to writing well?
Even though I have tertiary writing qualification, you don’t need one to write well. All you need is perseverance and a desire to make it easy for your audience (in your case, visitors to your business website) to learn what you’re about and what’s so great about your business – and lead them to buy! Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written website; it can literally have a sky-rocket effect on your brand and resultant sales.
So what can you do to improve your writing?
- Appreciate good writing – Learn to notice pieces that are well-written and analyse how the writer conveys their thoughts clearly and effectively. This doesn’t just have to be online. Books and newspapers are a wealth of well-crafted articles.
- Learn from others – There is plenty of advice out there from professional writers. Subscribe to blogs such as Daily Writing Tips and learn from great writers. Another blog that is maintained by a very sharp writer – and will warm your heart at the same time – is 1000 Awesome Things!
- Write, write and keep writing – Like going to the gym writing at first is hard work. Don’t let that get to you. Overcome the mental hurdle and just keep writing. Don’t critique it until you’re done – just keep going!
- Don’t write more than you have to – This may sound like I’m contradicting what I just said but when it comes to your final version that goes on your website, don’t use more words than are absolutely necessary to get your message across. As much as you dislike writing (for now anyway!) most visitors dislike reading. So use words that are carefully chosen and use them sparingly. Ignore word requirements – they will only become a mental block for you.
So get started and start writing. In fact, with your PogoStick website you have no excuses since every site has a free built-in content editor, which we discussed how to use in a previous post about editing pages in WordPress.