When a small business needs to get a website up and running, it’s like getting a root canal over a 6 month period. I’ve heard horror stories from business owners of delayed launches, frustrating email threads with designers, and even being dissatisfied with the end product when all is said and done. If the website does eventually get launched, they are then greeted with a large bill each time they need to make changes to the site, that is, if they can even track down the original designer, who in some cases, is the only one that has access to their account.
Over the past 8 years, it has been challenging for my company, Candybox Marketing, to serve these small companies because our custom designs do not always fit into their budgets. We typically write content, create lead-gen strategies, and design everything from the ground up. Although it would be nice for every business to have access to these services, it’s just not affordable for everyone.
I soon found myself constantly helping friends create new websites, because they just needed a site launched quickly, on a shoestring budget. I’d set them up on a WordPress theme, work a few evenings to upload their content into the design, and get their website launched in about a week or so. I started doing it so much, that I realized that the industry needed a new way of building sites. There are five major issues with small business websites that need to be resolved, and we have attempted to solve all of them with our newest company, Launch48.
Lack of Time
Small businesses don’t have 6 months to track down designers, sort through long email trails, and go back and forth on endless revisions. Web Designers are never really known for their project management skills, or their ability to communicate with clients on a regular basis. Small businesses should be focusing on their business, not troubleshooting a website in their browser.
Launch48 requires customers to come into our studio for 2 consecutive days as we build their site. They approve everything while sitting with our team as they see their site come together. We use WordPress templates to save on coding / design times, which not only creates amazing and engaging websites, but also fits into the budgets that most small businesses have to work with.
Do you know what DNS means? Not likely, but the reality is that you will be required to change several details to allow your site to go live. When working with a single graphic designer, going live is a painful process and you could even lose your email access if not done properly.
We take the pain out of going live by hosting our clients sites and implementing a go-live procedure for every website that comes through our studio. We’ve also partnered with one of the best WordPress hosting companies in the world that provides automated backups, excellent security and even staging sites for the more advanced users. We make sure that your site goes live by 5pm on the second day!
Websites cost a pretty penny because they take a lot of time to put together. If you are ever paying less than $4K for a custom website, you are either getting a crappy product, or they are going to charge you a ton for changes down the road. We have found that not a lot of businesses can afford even that! This pushes them into getting something that they hate, and end up re-doing every few years.
When we save time, you save money. With on-site approvals, integrated project management, custom WordPress templates and working with you in-studio, this brings down our total number of design hours from 100+ to 16. These savings are passed on to our customers, as we have been able to lower our total cost to $2,499 for a full project.
In the design industry, it’s a known fact that a lot of designers earn their money off of making changes to websites, not building new ones. They bank on the fact that a website will always need changes, so they charge an arm and a leg for simple updates.
We build all of our sites off of WordPress templates, providing our customers with the same access that we do. When we are building out pages, we train our customers on the CMS (content management system) so that they can easily update the website on their own. Updating blogs, pages and colours are all a click away.
Collaboration & Creativity
It’s hard enough to collaborate over email, let alone be creative. In my digital experience, projects would always end up in multi-coloured emails, endless spreadsheets and drawn-out meetings focused on trying to get everyone on the same page. Since there’s no room for multiple revisions with these projects, we gather everyone around large tables, iMacs and whiteboards to get down to business.
We set up our studio as an area for collaboration and brainstorming, but we also have fun! As the team has discovered, our studio is walking distance (65 paces) from Starbucks, and a short stroll to 9 different eateries! Every day we enjoy treating our clients to incredible food, coffees and maybe even a custom cupcake. If you need to be creative for two days straight, you might as well have fun doing it.
Over the past month, we’ve been completely booked with customers who have embraced this new idea! We have recently started advertising, but word of mouth has been filling up our schedule with businesses that are ditching the traditional methods of building a site and embracing an in-studio experience. Business owners are now walking out the door with an engaging website in 2 easy days, and the expertise to maintain it.
Our first customer was a 70 year old corporate consultant running a victory lap in his business and was thrilled with the end product.
Here are some testimonials from various people that I’ve enjoyed hearing from:
“I’ve been a part of over 10 website projects in my career, and now I realize that I wasted countless weeks on projects that I never saw results from.”
“It’s like you are exposing the entire design process to the world and advertising how simple it can really be.”
“If I ever want to get a website done again, you’ll be my first call”