If you are looking for a new website design for your small business, not only will you need to decide how you are going to go about building a new website, but we have to keep in mind the continued service involved in making sure your site is running correctly and kept safe and secure. Let’s have a look at the options open to you when deciding what kind of company, you want to work with in creating your online presence.
DIY website builders
There are many tools out there to create your own website. Big name brands such as Wix and Squarespace, offer a range of templates, but give you the tools to create something unique to yourself. These systems will integrate the technical requirements of your site into the editor for you, and likely will bundle everything together in one self-contained package.
You’ve got your site online. It was quick, cheap and easy, but what comes next is learning how it all works. You may be prepared to sit down and learn the tools to create something new, or may have just made some content changes to the temples you were offered, but either way you are responsible for making sure the site looks the part, and functions the way it needs to for your customers.
But what happens if things go wrong? Or you need some guidance – after all, you’re not a web designer with up to date knowledge on the web. The internet is a big place and a site needs Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) if it wants to get found. With a DIY site, it’s likely that you’ll be able to get some help from the company if you run into troubles. But likely this is going to be technical support, not design guidance or help with content, after all, the site is yours to build, the provider just powers the engine that puts your visuals onto the web. Many firms will offer some guidance on SEO, but often this is an add-on and will only suggest some key words you may want to add to the site, or an offer to sell you credit for a Pay Per Click campaign.
One-off Website Build
An option to try and avoid any ongoing fees, could be to find someone to build your website for a one-off fee. This could be a by-the-hour web designer, or an established design firm which can offer a specialist custom coded solution. This approach will put all the design and SEO concerns in the hands of the experts, but keep in mind that its not possible to have a one off fee for a website, as server hosting, security and domains need to be rented and renewed, so make sure you understand the scope of what a one off design fee would cover, you’ll likely need a web hosting firm in mind for the designers to upload their finished project to.
The big question is understanding what happens as the site needs to evolve alongside the expansion of your business. If the site was created by a design firm, you may need to contact them as and when you need to adjust the site as more often than not, you would likely not have access to a content management system (CMS). If they have provided you with access to the content management system, do you know how it works and what happens if you accidently mess it up? We hear stories often where a site was produced by a technically minded friend, who has now moved on to new projects, or doesn’t have the time anymore, so make sure you have a clear understanding of how the site was created, and who you could turn to if you have issues with it.
Web Hosting companies
As we just touched on, web hosting firms provide the technical side of your website, in contrast to the creative offerings of a web designer. Each site needs to be stored on a server, kept secure and running efficiently. While a necessary requirement of any website, some hosts can offer very cheap rates, it just pays to have a clear understanding of what each package offers, and how your website data is being stored.
As with the DIY approach, web hosts will only be able to assist with technical issues that are managed by themselves. Any visual, content or functionality issues would be outside their remit.
Self-contained web and management
The other solution is simple. Get yourself someone who can do both. More website design firms have moved to a solution that covers both the design and build of a website, but then also manages all the technical requirements too. The deeper integration means you have one point of contact for assistance, but also means that you can continue to get design help by experts, after the site has been created and published. This also means that SEO can not only be weaved expertly through your site by professionals, but is continued to be nudging your site in the right direction once Google has indexed the site.
We bring together all elements of web design and maintenance under a single roof to make sure you don’t have to stress about learning now concepts and technology, leaving you to focus on what you do best, running your business. If you’d like to find out more about how we work, then get in touch.