Educating Small Business Owners about Website Construction

Website Education: Why it’s more than just a few pictures and a click of a button

As a copywriter and the marketing consultant for Distillery Web Design, I have the opportunity to work with many wonderful clients. However, there is a misconception that website construction is easy, that anyone can do it, and that it should take a few days or a week tops. People also seem to think that all we do is plug in a picture here, type up some words there, and BAM! website done. Well, it’s not that easy. Seriously, it’s not.

As I was researching how to help educate clients on website construction, I ran across an interesting article by James Brocklehurst of Mighty Meta. Brocklehurst is an interactive media designer and Mighty Meta is his blog where he writes about his personal experiences. I found his analogy of websites are like buildings interesting and felt this analogy was perfect to help explain website construction.

In Brocklehurst’s article he identifies what he calls “The Big Three” common prejudices people have about websites:

  • Building websites is easy.
  • Building websites is fast.
  • Building website is cheap.

In order to put aside these misconceptions, it’s important to compare building a website to building a house/building. People understand when something is physical, like building a house, but it becomes harder to understand when building something online.

Here’s how websites and buildings are alike:

  • ConstructionThink about how a house is built. It’s more than just walls. There’s plumbing, electrical, roof, foundation, etc. And you want a professional contractor working on your home or building. Just because your neighbor has a hammer, doesn’t mean he/she can build a house. It’s the same with a website. You are looking for a professional company. Just because your niece, nephew, or neighbor has a computer doesn’t mean they know how to build a website. A well constructed website is more than just pictures. Brocklehurst writes, “In the case of websites, these are a combination of different computer languages (HTML – bricks, CSS – plaster and paint, JS/PHP – wiring and plumbing), media resources (utilities) and the server hardware and software (foundations).” Like home construction, not everything works on the first try. When something doesn’t work we have to go back, see why it’s not working, and fix it. It takes time.
  • Prefab or Custom BuiltPeople like things that are inexpensive. So some go the template route when building a website. Brocklehurst compares using a website template to a prefab house. He says, “it does the job, but there will be aspects that don’t quite fit your needs and it will look like everybody else’s on the estate.” That’s the problem with templates. Your functionality is limited and your website will look like everyone else’s. You want to set yourself apart from your competition, so having a custom built site will be more expensive, but worth it in the long run. Look at it this way, when you build your own home it’s designed for you. Closets the way you want, laundry room the way you want, layout the way you want. It’s the same with websites. By having a website custom built, it will fit your objectives and you’ll be happier in the long run.
  • MaintenanceHomeowners know all about maintenance. It happens (and sometimes all at once!). From time to time, the kitchen or bathroom needs an update. Or maybe you decide to repaint or replace old fixtures. It’s the same with a website. Maintenance is required along with updates. Websites should stay current, fresh, and with the times.

Distillery Web Design and Marketing is a feature website builder, online marketer, and advertising specialty consulting group working with businesses in the Lebanon, Camdenton, Osage Beach, Springfield, and St. Robert areas of Missouri. Facebook, websites, online promotions, print media, radio promotions, online newsletters, graphic design and direct mail campaigns are our specialty. We know how to get the Internet, social networking and new media to work for you!