A lot is changing the web design world and the widespread move to the WaaS website model is one such change.
Modern websites are increasingly integral to a company’s online presence. A great website is more than a digital brochure, and can directly support branding, marketing, lead generation, and even customer retention efforts.
Until recently, websites were treated as projects. Once a site was designed, built, and launched, it would be abandoned as an item of lesser priority.
As more companies incorporate online channels, however, more business owners are recognizing the value of a professional, modern website design.
The WaaS website model gives companies peace of mind that their website will continue to look great and stay up-to-date year after year.
What is the WaaS website model?
The WaaS website model treats a website as a service, not a deliverable.
As an analogy, think about software. Modern software companies sell software subscriptions instead of a software license.
Similarly, digital agencies operating on the website-as-a-service (WaaS) model offer design, development, and support for a fixed, monthly fee.
The many flaws of the old web design approach
In the old days (a.k.a., the last few years), website projects were done on a project basis. Typically, the process looks like this:
- Client pays for initial website design.
- Website designer creates a mockup.
- Designer and client collaborate to perfect the website design.
- Website developer builds the website per the approved mockup.
- Clients are left to handle website errors on their own or hire other help.
As a website agency owner, I’ve seen firsthand the problems that this outdated approach can cause website owners.
Business owners neglect website maintenance.
First, business owners are cost-sensitive and hesitate to spend thousands on a website in the first place. Even if they do see the value of a professional website initially, they aren’t likely to spend much on website maintenance.
Most website owners will take a “ain’t broke, don’t fix” approach and only pay for updates when customers complain or their website goes down. Over the years, we’ve had many clients come to our agency after their website was hacked or their previous designer became unreliable.
Think about Adobe…
Before Adobe moved to the cloud, its users avoided software upgrades because of the steep price and an unwillingness to “fix what ain’t broken.”
Without upgrades, users didn’t have the vital security patches or helpful enhancements included in each software update from Adobe.
Similarly, when website maintenance is sold as an add-on, cost-conscious clients decide that their site is good as-is. This, of course, leaves them open to nasty attacks on their website.
Website designers are unreliable or costly.
Freelance web designers are notorious for being unreliable and ghosting clients who need after-launch help. As a website designer myself, it’s disappointing how many website designers are either unreliable or unprofessional while working with clients.
If a website designer does offer to help with website updates, they charge heft invoices for basic website changes. This causes website owners on a limited budget to abandon their online presence.
When this happens, website plugins become outdated and security patches aren’t installed. Hackers can then take a website down, steal user information, or perform numerous other attacks.
Websites don’t reflect business growth.
The website launch isn’t the end, but the beginning, of a company’s online presence. A good website will be regularly updated with new employees, project highlights, and new blog posts.
Many website builders and content management systems (CMS) make it easy for business owners to update their website – if they have the time. Unfortunately, since most executives don’t have the time or staff to spare, website updates are either delayed or left undone.
Website projects drag on and on and…
Too often, website projects drag on for months and even years because of an agency’s inefficient processes. Complex projects can take time, but many agency owners take much too long with each phase of the website project.
Over the years, many companies have hired my agency to revive an abandoned website or replace a slow-moving website designer. In the WaaS website model, projects are done quickly and never abandoned.
The benefits of choosing website as a service
Most agencies and business owners are still warming up to the idea of treating a website as a service rather than a deliverable. Needless to say, the WaaS website model offers agencies and clients numerous benefits.
Website projects have a long-term focus.
Under the WaaS website model, projects start with an anticipation of long-term wins. There’s also a more iterative approach than the typical “build and forget” approach. Clients will stall projects for weeks while squabbling over the tiniest details. Once we assure them that we can always adjust the site after launch, they realize the value of a long-term perspective.There are many reasons why an iterative approach is great for web design. Probably the biggest benefit of iteration is that you’re focused on big-picture outcomes, instead of short-sighted details. You can launch with one version, test it for a while, then adjust based on real-world data (not hunches and guesses).
Website support & hosting are included.
The website-as-a-service model lets website designers provide the ongoing support that business owners want for their website. Most people realize that a website can be more than a bunch of static pages with contact information.
With a WaaS website, clients can customize their website to text leads, host brochures, and more. We’re not building cookie-cutter sites. Our custom WaaS website service means we create a unique look and content for each client.
After launching a site, we host and support the site. This includes updating the site for things like Google algorithm updates, speed optimization, and more. From personal experience, clients are delighted to know that we will stick around after the website launch, helping with whatever support they need.
Websites reflect company growth.
Under the old way of web design, businesses outgrow their website. New employees aren’t added for years and prestigious awards aren’t displayed on the website. The result is an ancient design and incorrect information that can cost thousands in lost leads.
For services businesses and e-commerce shops alike, updates naturally occur as growth happens. Within a website-as-a-service model, website owners have the dedicated support service they need to handle these updates.
Embrace website as a service for next-level ROI.
Since my website agency has adopted the WaaS website model, we’ve seen an enormous increase in client satisfaction and business growth. Our clients are happier because they know we’ve got their back. My team and I have the resources we need to create additional upsells that push our clients to greater success. In short, we’ve got consistent revenue and clients that refer their colleagues to us. What could be better?