Partner Highlight - Jottful
There are really three ways to get a website for your business.
The first option is to hire someone to build the website for you.
With a website built from scratch by a designer or agency, you can ensure it reflects your brand exactly as you wish. Many websites created by designers are built on the WordPress platform, giving your business access to all the plug-ins available in that software.
The downsides to hiring a designer or agency include:
- It can get expensive. Expect to pay a designer anywhere from $3,000-$7,000; agencies typically charge even more.
- It can be difficult to find a (good) one. If it's not a service you're accustomed to hiring for, it can be hard to know what to look for in a portfolio and how to write a contract that protects you from cost overruns.
- It can take a long time. Think months, not days.
- Making updates can be challenging. When you need updates, you’ll either pay an hourly rate or you’ll need to learn how to make updates yourself.
If you need significant customization and have the time and money to spend on working with a designer or agency, it can be a good investment for your business. But for most entrepreneurs, hiring a designer or agency to build your website is neither necessary nor economically feasible.
The second way to get a website built is to do it yourself.
If you have some graphic design experience, you can make your own website using do-it-yourself (DIY) software such as Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly. DIY software features a drag-and-drop interface that makes it possible to create a website without even having to know how to code.
As you might have guessed, creating your own website with DIY software is far less expensive than hiring a designer or agency, often costing just $11-$26 per month.
The downsides of using DIY software include:
- You may not like the way it looks. The software companies offer copious templates you can use as starting points, but it can be very challenging to create a beautiful website without previous design experience.
- It can be hard to use. Some business owners find it challenging to learn how to use the software.
- You’ll need to edit images. Many entrepreneurs don’t have access to the photo-editing software needed to create the images that will go on the website.
- It takes (a lot of) time. It is time-consuming to create your own website, especially if you need to learn how to use new software.
- Support is primarily self-service. As a software-only solution, you get very little assistance with creating or launching your website. You’re asked to primarily rely on written help desk materials when you have questions.
- You won't get marketing advice. If you don't know a lot about what it takes to make a website that is effective for your business, you'll need to educate yourself on that before you get started. Otherwise, you could end up with a pretty website that does not actually perform for your business.
The third option is to get a do-it-together website.
In this final category is a company called Jottful. They've pioneered co-building and co-maintaining websites for small businesses that need a professional online presence, but have limited time or money. Jottful's plans start at $59 per month.
With Jottful, you can change text and images anytime you want, but when you have a bigger update, such as adding a new page, Jottful’s designers take care of it for you. Jottful also provides personal customer support and handles all the technical stuff, such as security updates, launches, and website hosting.
The downsides of a Jottful made-together website include:
- Less design customization. With Jottful you will be giving up a certain amount of customization that you may get with hiring a designer or using DIY software.
- More expensive than DIY. If price is your primary concern, you'll find that building your own website is cheaper.
Description: Jottful makes and manages professional, affordable, and hassle-free websites for small businesses.
Mission: To make it possible for every small business to be found and tell their story online.
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Jottful was founded by Dawn Verbrigghe. Dawn is a marketing expert with more than 20 years of experience in marketing and design, including seven years as a faculty member at Parsons the New School for Design. She loves helping small business owners achieve their dreams through creative and inexpensive marketing that attracts just the right customers.
The Challenge We Address
In the U.S. alone, there are 4.6MM businesses with fewer than ten employees — and only half of them have a website today. These small businesses are underserved by the current design agency and do-it-yourself website builder software options because they have limited financial resources, are uncomfortable with website technologies, and are intimidated by the prospect of designing their own website. Nonetheless, these businesses are fully aware that the lack of a professional online presence means they are missing out on new revenue.
Specifically, these businesses want:
- To be findable online and perceived as credible: a one-of-a-kind website that is optimized for SEO, professionally polished, and works on mobile;
- A hassle-free experience: a single point of contact, an easy way to update the website, and no worries about reliability, security, speed, or upgrades;
- An affordable solution: a fair and predictable price.
What We Provide
We offer an affordable, all-in-one service for creating, hosting, and maintaining basic websites.
We create professional websites that are mobile-responsive and optimized for search. We then maintain those websites for our customers, including: hosting; security; upgrades; backups; and uptime monitoring. Customers can easily make small text edits themselves and, when they need to make more significant edits to the site, they can just email us and we’ll take care of it.
We do all this starting at just $59 / month. We’re able to provide astonishing service at an affordable price because we use our own proprietary technology. It is software we specifically developed for rapid creation and easy updating of websites for small businesses.
For more information about Jottful, please visit their website at www.jottful.com.