Have you ever considered trying to save money by building your own website? Have you ever asked the question whether a cheap website is usually the most expensive?
This is why I think a cheap website is usually the most expensive
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever bought yourself a cheap pair of shoes? Possibly you have. How were they? Did they last a long time? Were they comfortable? Did they look stylish? Maybe they did, in the short term.
Yes, I live in the real world. Sometimes, that’s what you have to do. Maybe that’s all the money you had and you needed to go to an interview. But, we all learn that, if we’d bought something of better quality, then they’d have lasted and maintained their value and given you good service over many years.
There’s a reason why Rolex watches are one of the most expensive on the market. On the face of it, they do what any watch will do… tell the time. But one does so with some much more style than the other.
Q: What happened to that expensive, water resistant watch I bought you? The one with an accuracy of 1 second in 10,000 years? The one with super scratch resistant glass face? The one you can go diving in, down to a depth of 20 metres? The one with a lifetime warrantee?
Back in the old days (e.g 20 odd years ago), websites were a simple source of information about a company. An online brochure with an address and phone number.
Today, websites don’t exist in isolation, they’re a part of a wider environment. They link to other business and marketing tools, they use stock control and management systems, accounting systems, content marketing automation systems and… the list goes on.
Company websites vary in range from simple, static sites to mind-bogglingly complex. They are (or in my opinion, should be) an integral part of a business’s sales and marketing strategy. There are many metrics and factors that can be used to measure a website’s return on investment (ROI). This can be summed up in one word; conversion! Your website must be setup to successfully convert your visitors interest into customers and/or purchases.
Online DIY web builders are now better than ever
The way I’ve been building websites over the last 20 years, has changed enormously. Back in the day, all you had was HTML and table layouts. Things slowly evolved with tools like Front Page Express and then later, Flash. Who remembers those gaudy animated GIFs that were everywhere?
It usually doesn’t take long, before you see an advert for an online web creation service. They’re very keen to tell you how easy it is to create something that looks great. And they’re right. They employ talented graphic designers to produce some great looking templates. However, good web design is so much more than that. There’s a whole process that you should go through before you get to that stage.
I often see websites, that have been created from an online template site, that don’t look as great as the original design did. By adding their own images, people often inadvertently mess-up scale, resolution and colour balance. I’ll admit, some get it right (from a visual point of view), but is it going to achieve the results they want? And if it is, how are they going to measure results and fine tune things as time goes on?
This is where a professional comes in.
What’s involved in building a website?
Where to start? The things we talk about below, depend on your budget to some extent. My view is that they’re vital to achieving the desired result in the end. People who build DIY sites, understandably, don’t carry these out, usually because they don’t know the importance, or even existence of them.
Let’s learn about what a few of them are.
Different developers will have their own way of doing things. My approach is to first learn about you and your business. I’ll also want to know who your competitors are, so that we can effectively measure your performance against them. And, a step that is often missed with other designers, I want to know about your customers. The demographic, as well as other factors, of the people who want to buy from you.
We’ll then start talking about your business in an abstract, conceptual way. Choosing words that apply to your company – words like professional, corporate, friendly, casual etc. etc. As strange as this may sound, it’s a vital step towards the next stage of mood boards, colour choice (colour theory) typographical choices etc.
It’s only then that we get to the planning stage where we start working out the structure and linking strategy of the site, wire framing and basic keyword research. If the client budget allows, and I always recommend that it does, we can call in a graphic designer to create mobile and desktop layouts, or UI (user interface). This isn’t the website yet, but a graphical representation of it. It then becomes my job to implement it in a responsive way that gives your website visitors a good UX (user experience). Any special functionality is added at this stage.
This is an over simplification of my process, but you can see that it’s much more involved than just picking a fancy template.
So, you can if you wish (and many do), jump onto an online website builder to create your site yourself, in which case, good luck. Or, you can go the professional route. Your choice.
You may wish to know
For any business, having a website, is always better than not having one. If you’re reading this, then you’ll already know this.
So, you may be interested in our business starter website service. This is aimed at new businesses, and start-ups, who don’t currently have the budget for a fully bespoke website, but need an online presence. For supper low price, you can get a great looking website, built, and online in about a week.
When is a website, not a website?
Answer, when it’s a sales and marketing tool. Maybe it also manages your stock control. Perhaps it links in with your finance software. Websites are not simple pages any more.
A website isn’t just something a business must have. It’s a tool to enable you to do business better. It’s an investment and something that needs nurturing. Even if you’ve built your own site, don’t leave it alone. It needs attention. You should be adding to it constantly – with testimonials, new products and services, articles and current trends within your industry. We can advise you on this, as well as optimise your site with some excellent SEO services.