Is a Turnkey, Semi-Custom Website Right for Your Business? - Iceberg Web Design

Is a Turnkey, Semi-Custom Website Right for Your Business?

You’re a savvy business owner. You know that an updated website is needed to reach your target market, bring in leads, and grow your business. You have been agonizing over this for months, maybe years, but continually run into barriers that prevent you from improving your business website.

We’ve talked with thousands of small business owners about their experiences building a website, and we understand the struggles that you’ve gone through. In this article, we’re going to lay out the common struggles that you may have encountered, trying to create a professional marketing or e-commerce website for your business.

Frustrated At Computer

You’ve tried SquareSpace, Wix, Google, or another DIY Website Builder

There are many, many low cost website builders on the market today. For the most part, they offer different template design options and the ability for you to set up your own website without knowing anything about graphic design or website code. These can be a great option for businesses just starting out, and with prices ranging from free to $500/month, they slide right into most small businesses marketing budgets.

We talked with dozens of business owners who have taken the DIY route and worked with an online website builder. The pitfalls we hear over and over with this solution are:

It takes a lot of time to build your own website.

While the dollar investment may be low, the time investment that comes with DIY website builders is high. Most business owners we know who have gone this route don’t have someone on staff that can dedicate full time work to a new website project, so it often takes months – or years – to complete, or it’s done too quickly and quality suffers.

 You struggle writing your own website content.

Writing engaging marketing content that makes your customers want to shop at your business is a challenge for even the most experienced content writer. When you’re trying to write website content for your own business, while also trying to run your own business, you’re sure to run into at least one frustration.

You’re limited by what the template has to offer.

Do you want to swap out your custom branded graphics, shake up the header, or rearrange the layout to match your content and business? Not so fast! DIY builders will often make you work within their set designs and layouts, leaving you little room for creative enhancements.

Customer support can’t help you with your web design problems.

DIY website companies don’t have web designers or developers immediately accessible to you, so if you hit a roadblock building your website, you’re likely on your own.

You don’t own the website, and there’s no room for growth.

If you manage to get through the initial hurdles with a DIY solution, you’ll run into this barrier as your business grows. Online website builders lock you into their software, and onto their servers. So if you want to bring in a developer to customize your website, or move it to a new hosting provider in the future, you will likely need to start from scratch with a brand new website project.

You’ve worked with a freelancer to design you a new website

Freelancers and solopreneurs are a dime a dozen these days. We’ve had more than one customer come to us with a website that their nephew, or their daughter, or the neighbor built for them. Many freelancers today use WordPress, so if you have gone this route you’re a step farther along than the DIY route, as you can likely find another developer to take over in the future, if your freelancer finds a new job.

A freelancer will definitely produce a higher quality website than a DIY solution, at a price that is less than what you’d typically pay at an agency. Most of our customers have worked with freelance designers in the past, and these are some of the common issues they have faced:

You have a website with a theme that limits customizations

Most freelancers build WordPress websites using third party themes like Divi, or something that has been downloaded from Themeforest or another marketplace. From a cost standpoint, a purchased theme allows for a fast website setup, and will definitely lower the price point of your project. However, the downside of this is that you may be locked into what the theme has to offer, making future website customizations and add-ons difficult, or even impossible.

Your freelancer is an excellent designer, developer, or content writer – but not all three.

When working with a one-person shop, you will likely be working with a person who excels in one part of the website process, but lags in others. For example, you may have a freelancer that is great at setting up and coding websites, but requires to provide much of the design, and all of the content and pictures. This reminds you of the time you tried one of those DIY website builders…

Your website may take a long time to complete

A successful freelancer, who can assist with all aspects of building a website, will need to take on a lot of customers to keep their costs low for their customers. With just one person running the show, this means a lot of projects to juggle at once. We’ve asked our customers about this – and it’s not uncommon to see a simple website design project take 6 months to a year, or more, when working with a freelancer.

It’s difficult to get ahold of your freelancer

This is the most common pitfall we’ve run across with customers – it can be very difficult to find a freelancer that is available during business hours, or that will entertain a conversation on the phone at all. Communication gets lost in long email threads, and questions often go unanswered for days, even weeks, at a time. Many freelancers don’t provide ongoing maintenance plans, so future updates can be another struggle.

You’ve approached a web design agencies about developing a custom website

If you’ve moved past the DIY and freelance stage with your business, then you’ve likely spent some solid time talking with web design agencies about building your website. You’ve learned that agencies will offer all parts of the website process – content, design, and development – taking much of the heavy lifting off your plate. Communication barriers are also lifted – need to talk to your project manager? They are likely just a quick phone call away.

However, a custom website built with an agency does come with its own share of struggles that may impact your business. Here are a few we’ve encountered.

Agencies are expensive.

There’s just no way around this. Web design agencies have a significant amount of overhead – they have full time employees with benefits to play, they invest a lot in marketing and sales, and they often have a physical office building with furniture, computers, utilities, and other expenses. You can expect to pay 5-10 times more for a marketing website when working with an agency than when working with a freelancer.

The process is lengthy, and requires a lot of input from you.

When you work with an agency on a custom website, they will be in close contact with you every step of the way, making sure that you sign off on each piece. This comes with the definition of “custom” – they are building something uniquely for your business, and need to make sure you are happy. This requires a significant amount of time on your end, approving and requesting revisions to their work. If you’re busy running your business and have limited time to be part of the process, your website build could take many months to complete.

Change orders can be expensive

Most web design agencies will deliver a very clear scope of work prior to starting on your project. Once you are involved, and have committed a lot of time to the custom development process, it’s likely that you’ll think of a feature, or an add-on, part way through. Or, perhaps you want to continually tweak the design so that it is just right. While agencies can handle these types of changes, time to complete them adds up – as does the price tag.

We have a solution for you.

Turnkey Website Development

Enter the perfect blend of professional website design, done-for-you content writing, and fast turnaround – backed by an agency that answers the phone, at a price tag your business can afford.

At Iceberg Web Design, we have a turnkey website development process to create a professional website with minimal time and cost investment required from you. Our goal is to remove the barriers that you have faced with a professional website build, so that you can focus on running your business. Our process is very straightforward:

We write the content.

We just need 45 minutes to an hour of your time at the start of the project. Our in-house content writer will ask all the questions we need to write clear, succinct website marketing copy for your business. After a quick review and approval from you, your message is ready to deliver.

We find the pictures.

Got photos you want us to use? Great – send them on over! No? No problem. Our team has access to hundreds of thousands of stock photography and images, to add depth and interest to your website.

We design and develop.

At Iceberg, we have more than 70 years of combined experience in graphic design, marketing, and website development, Our team knows what we’re doing – and we know how to design and build a website that will work for you. After a quick discussion about layout, colors, and graphics at your kickoff meeting, you can rest assured that our team will deliver a professional website that showcases your business in its best light. The best part? Most turnkey websites are complete in less than 6 weeks.

We are here for maintenance and updates.

Technology changes quickly, and you need to make sure that your website is regularly maintained and updated. Our turnkey model includes monthly updates and quarterly software maintenance, so you can sleep easy knowing that your website is in good hands. Need updates or help? We have a full staff dedicated to ongoing support requests, and a solid reputation of delivering changes quickly – typically on the same day you ask for them.

The price tag is right.

Our pricing is comparable to many of the higher end DIY solutions, allowing you to roll your website costs right into your monthly marketing expenses. No need to take out a business loan or extend your credit limit. We have options for both basic marketing and e-commerce, depending on your marketing strategy and growth initiatives.

Is a turnkey website right for your business?

There are definitely benefits to every different approach to building a website. While the turnkey model we offer isn’t right for everyone, we’ve found it to be a great fit for business owners who are busy, and have tried to tackle updating their website in one or two different ways in the past.

Our marketing team here at Iceberg would love to talk with you about your past struggles with building a website, and tell you more about our process and options – letting you make the choice that works the best for you. Want to learn more? Give us a call at 763-350-8762, or drop us a line in the form below. Let’s see what we can create together!

Contact Iceberg Web Design today to learn more about our turn-key website product!

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About the author

Jessi Gurr is the Master Penguin at Iceberg Web Design. She is an entrepreneur at heart, and loves all aspects of business growth, branding, and team building. Jessi frequently speaks at WordCamps throughout the US and internationally, and holds positions on the board at the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce and Montessori Renaissance Academy, both in Anoka, MN. In her spare time, she enjoys vegan cooking, organic gardening, and spending time with her two young boys.

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