It starts off so simple; "I need a website!". You start looking online for website designers, or web design software and begin to realize; this isn't that simple. With so many types of websites, so many different platforms, it can be hard to choose or even figure out which one will work best for you and your business. There's pre-built software like Wordpress or Squarespace, promising to make the entire process easy, but once you get started you realize, it's still complicated. What about getting a website designed for you? This would get rid of the initial dilemma of choosing platforms, but would still force you to decide on the kind of site you want. Do you want a simple one-page website that serves as an online business card for your company, or maybe you want something with a bit more power under the hood? The options are vast, and not every web designer or studio will offer to guide you through the process.
Let's take a look at pre-built software first. Specifically Wordpress and Squarespace. Depending on your business needs the obvious choice will change, and we need to address this as early as possible. Do you want something quick and simple, or powerful with a steep learning curve? If you chose the former, then Squarespace is more up your alley. They offer a simple drag and drop interface, and modern themes to give you a great looking website very quickly. Of course, this simplicity comes at a cost. If you want to market your business using your website then Squarespace severely limits your SEO and organic search potential. More simply put, your growth is limited. If this sounds worrying, then perhaps Wordpress is a better choice.
With Wordpress, you get the advantage of an older and robust platform, with a massive userbase. What this means to you is a large library of pre-made plugins and code solutions to fit your business needs, and plenty of outside help when you get stuck. The downside? Wordpress developer is an actual job title. This translates to a complicated platform that can require a lot of custom coding and knowledge to work correctly. A lot of fixes and solutions require you to roll up your sleeves and dive into the actual code base, to achieve the functionality you might want. Don't let that scare you away, however, as Wordpress does allow plenty of functionality right off the bat, and offers a way to significantly enhance your website down the road.
You got it! But you still need to be active in the design and development process. Sorry. Sometimes handing the reigns off to someone else is the right choice. A design studio can handle the hosting, domain registration for you, as well choose the correct platform, site wireframe and design styles that align with your particular goals. Even if you choose to work with a studio, you still need to figure out exactly what website your small business needs. Let's take a look at some common types and go over the benefits and disadvantages.
This can be a great way to instantly impress your customers, with a simple, creative and beautiful design. One-page websites are great if you're selling a specific product or a very centralized and specific service. There are some significant downsides to this, however. With a one-page site, you don't have nearly as much room for content that a multi-page can provide. What this means is a significantly limited SEO reach. Sure, you can look at plenty of examples from big brands like google or apps like Tinder or Snapchat, and tell me that I'm wrong. But you have to understand that all those big brands have a lot of money to allocate specifically for advertising and marketing. When you're running a small business, you want to keep your costs low and ROI high. With a one-page website, it will be much harder and more expensive to reach your goals.
This one is probably the most common, and for good reason. Having multiple pages lets your website be more powerful, while still staying on brand. This also reduces your web development costs in the future, as you won't have to pay a designer to adjust your existing one-page site to incorporate multiple pages. You can also focus more of your money directly on SEO efforts leading to higher ranking and conversions since your website has significantly more room for unique content. And search engines, like Google, love content. Having multiple pages also allows you significantly more flexibility to explain your product or service, offer testimonials, better target potential users and create a simpler, more streamlined user experience.
Yes, even with a design studio you might run into this dilemma. In fact, if the studio is any good, they will work with you on this choice as well. The way you plan to interact with your own website can have a huge impact on deciding how to build your particular website, and thus increase cost.
The cheapest, of course, is to offer no CMS. CMS stands for Content Management System and is the technical term for software like Wordpress or Squarespace that we discussed earlier. CMS allows you to make changes to your website, like editing text or adding pictures, without the need to write your own code. If you're looking for a simple website, that you aren't planning to edit very often, if at all, then skipping CMS all together can be perfect. You can save as much as 50% on development costs and significantly speed up the process of getting your site up and running. If you plan on working with the same studio in the future, you can have them handle minor changes and updates for a fraction of the money that you saved.
If this doesn't sound very appealing, then you have options. Building your website with an existing CMS platform will allow you to make changes, and further customize the website to better suit your needs in the future. This way you can make changes as often as you would like, and use the built-in software functions to customize the end result. There are, of course, limitations. The same limitations we discussed earlier. More complex plugins or customizations will require some knowledge of writing the platform specific code, whether its simple HTML or server-side languages like PHP. More than likely, you will have to stay in touch with the studio to handle these customizations.
What other options do you have? Well, there's the fully custom solution. You can have your design studio create a custom, hand-built website, and design custom CMS. This custom CMS can focus on areas that you will work with editing the most, keeping them streamlined and simple. This leaves any website improvements outside the scope of simple text editing to the design studio. This is obviously the more expensive route but tends to be the most powerful, with a better end user experience.
There are lots of options out there, that can get overwhelming. Some options may make sense depending on your goals, while others won't. These will change significantly based on your business. Take e-commerce for example. This opens up a whole new can of worms, and another lengthy post discussing e-commerce platforms and the needs for outside help. In the end, do your research, and take advantage of free consultations some web design studios offer.
No problem. All this can be difficult to accomplish, especially while you're busy with day to day business. That's where Dozen Pixels comes in. We can take care of all your marketing needs. From managing your Social Media presence to creating an effective advertising campaign, we are here to help. Our services range from web design to marketing and consulting. Not sure where to begin? Get in touch and we can discuss your goals and business needs.
Each client is unique, and so prices and solutions vary. No cookie cutter work here, so get in touch with us tell us a bit about your goals and needs, and we will layout a custom plan for you. No commitment, no hassle.
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