So you need a website design for your business; do you go to a professional developer or get stuck in to a DIY platform?
I belong to a few Facebook business groups and this is one of the most common questions I see asked… I’m not surprised, if you’re a start-up or small business you’re probably looking to save money in as many areas you can. If you can build your own website that’s a huge saving… right?
It all depends on the value you place on your own time. If you have plenty of it, then it could be worth trying out one of the low cost platforms such as Weebly, Wix or Squarespace for your website design. However, in most businesses time is money, so if you’d rather invest valuable time in building your actual business, then it might be more appropriate to handover your website design and build to a professional.
It’s not just about time though, here are a few other factors to consider when making your decision:
- Functionality: If your website only needs simple features, then you have more chance of succeeding on a DIY website design platform. If you have e-commerce requirements that need to link into specific payment gateways, or if your website design needs to incorporate user account functionality, or password protected areas, then you may be better served employing a professional.
- Search Engine Optimisation: This is where a professional web design really counts. DIY platforms don’t always offer the same range of search engine optimisation tools that a professional can bring to the table, and with 81 per cent of shoppers conducting online research before buying, you really need to be found online.
- Future proofing: Your business is going to grow, and you need a website design that can grow with it. Both in terms of size and functionality. Many DIY website platforms limit the number of pages or amount of content you can have. In terms of functionality, consider that as your business grows, so too may the offline and online services you offer. You don’t necessarily want to throw the baby out with the bath water and start your website design from scratch as your business evolves. So if you do use a DIY platform make sure that it can grow with your business.
If you are going to have a go at your own website design on a DIY platform, here are my recommendations for other investments you will definitely need to make.
- Great Imagery: A picture paints a thousand words, great imagery will make your website look polished and professional. If you’re not getting photos taken professionally, please don’t use images that you have simply downloaded from a Google image search. These will probably be the wrong size for your requirements, and apart from anything else it’s breaching somebody’s intellectual property. There are many stock image websites, offering subscription packages or single purchases. There are good stock image sites and there are great stock image sites. My new favourite is “Death To The Stock Photo”.
- Photoshop Elements: It doesn’t matter whether you get your photos taken professionally or whether you use stock imagery; the chances are you’re going to want to edit the shape and size to fit within your website design, so some type of photo editing software is a must. It’s also worth remembering that if you upload raw images directly from any smartphone without editing, the file size will be large, slowing down your website’s load speed and increasing the space you’re using on your server.
- Copywriting: When visitors discover your website you have seconds to grab their attention before they move on… Investing in professional copywriting (I can help you here) will ensure that your messaging stands out and that you have clear calls to action that direct your visitors to taking the next step. Remember that people read differently online to offline, so if you are investing in professional copywriting, make sure it’s with somebody who has had experience writing for the web, and not just print media.
Here at Kate Coote. we offer website design reviews as part of a complimentary initial consultation. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss your current website design and discover whether there are any improvements you can make to your digital presence.