If you are a new franchise owner, one of the first things to do is set up your website. It can be tempting to rely on the brand name and hope that customers will pour in on their own. However, this is a rookie mistake that you want to avoid. It is always worth putting in marketing efforts of your own, regardless of how popular the franchise is.
In this context, a website can be one of the best investments you can spend your money on. Unfortunately, the process of building a website can be a little intimidating for new franchise owners.
After all, where do you begin? How long does it take? How much does it cost? Pursuing online communities yields differing opinions, with some recommending you learn to build it yourself, while others recommend having someone else build it for you.
In this article, we will explore a third option. This refers to the idea of going the route of bespoke, specialized website builders. Stick around, and we’ll learn more about what this means.
What Are Specialized Website Builders?
According to GLASS, building a franchise website is not an easy task. If you try to create one using generic website builders, it’s easy to see costs quickly adding up.
After all, there are usually brand guidelines that you need to follow. Trying to brute force them on generic website builders will often have you pay significantly for plugins and even basic customizability.
In this context, it’s a far better idea to start with a website builder that specializes in helping people build franchise websites. These options offer customizability from the ground up and allow you to move elements as required by your franchise guidelines.
Why Are Generic Website Builders a Bad Choice?
Well, for starters, generic websites tend to rely too much on templates. These templates are often designed to cater to a broader audience. Unless you are particularly lucky, it is unlikely that you will find a template that meets every single design requirement.
Even if you somehow manage to find one that’s a perfect fit, you are stuck with what you get for the most part. This can be dangerous, as you may need to make significant changes over time.
These could involve changes to categories or even the overall layout in a manner that isn’t possible with a generic website builder. The last thing you want to do is abandon the site and start over somewhere else. Alternatively, the host may be willing to help you make the changes but charge a high fee for it.
None of these situations are ideal.
Moreover, franchises often have specific tools and functions that you’ll find challenging to integrate with a generic website builder. Online ordering systems or store location finders are two obvious examples.
What Are the Benefits of Specialized Website Builders?
A franchise website builder tends to offer easy scalability, which means you can update products, menus, pricing, and other details quickly. They can also be deployed rapidly, unlike other options. The faster your franchise is in these aspects, the more effective your service and the more people you reach.
Remember, many specialized website builders understand that franchise websites need to be interactive and contain all the features that keep customers returning for more.
If you are thinking about going this route, ensure that the service has a solid content management system (CMS). This allows even users without specialized, technical knowledge to create, edit, or manage a website. With a good CMS, you won’t have to waste time waiting on designers to create your site.
Sometimes, franchise guidelines will have certain aspects that are left up to each franchisee. You can use your creativity via easy CMS systems to target more clients or customers. Often, this will need to be done in conjunction with content creation toolsets and good SEO and keyword optimization.
These aren’t mandatory for a website, but they are essential if you wish to improve your reach. Thankfully, specialized website builders for franchises often come with such tools, ready to use.
Is It Possible to Take an Existing Website and Create an Improved One?
Yes; however, this will depend on the specific service that you are using. It is a common enough need that you should have no trouble doing this. The tricky part might involve hosting issues, especially if you paid for hosting in advance.
Some hosts are rented as part of the website creation package, which might only work with their parent company.
However, the actual migration is pretty straightforward, and there are several free tools that can help you with the process.
In conclusion, specialized website builders are one of the best options if you are a franchisee wanting to improve your reach. The flexibility, customization, tools, and ease of set-up make them ideal even for those without website development knowledge.
Moreover, the cost savings you get from avoiding cookie-cutter, generic website builders are extremely attractive.