The Reality of Website Design
Getting a new website is very exciting because it is a positive step in the right direction for your endeavor. It’s a valuable branding tool that tells people what you are all about, gives them answers, shows them that you are what they are looking for, and puts them in contact with you. However, there are some choices that have to be made. The first choice is whether to design the website yourself or hire a professional to do it.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and write out a huge article on how you should hire me and throw away any idea of using a website builder. The truth is that we work with clients that have used website builders. The client builds the site and then wants us to take on the SEO and/or content. It’s all about working together. Yes, the website builders are lacking some tools. For example, the Wix website builder won’t let you access the code. Wix, like other builders, can be “heavy.” What this means is that there is so much code involved that it slows the website down. This prevents us from being able to clean up the code and speed is a ranking metric. Speed is also important because visitors don’t want to wait on the page to load. If they back out before it is finished loading, your bounce rate goes up and this isn’t good for ranking either.
So, site speed is one of the things you need to consider.
Popular Website Builders
It’s fair to say that Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are three of the most popular website builders. As mentioned before, Wix doesn’t allow you code access. This is sometimes the case with web-based website builders. Nonetheless, they can be easy to use. Although easy can be a good thing, these builders are not as powerful as WordPress.
At the Gillenwater Group, we use WordPress, as it allows us to build sites our way and enjoy a wide array of tools that give our clients an edge online. Website builders tend to have visual page editors that allow you to drag and drop elements into place. Sometimes, where you can drop an element is limited, so you don’t have complete control over your design. It all depends on the web builder you choose.
We really love WordPress because the content management system (CMS) is extremely powerful. We have clients that wish to edit their sites on their own and the CMS allows us to teach them. Other clients prefer us to do all of the editing for them. We like offering that degree of flexibility.
The Type of Website
The type of website also influences the decision of whether to use a DIY web builder or a professional web designer. Here is a rundown of the two main types:
- Brochure website – This is the simplest type of website because it showcases what your business, organization, or purpose is all about. This type of site is a credible web presence that provides basic information.
- eCommerce website – This type of website is more complicated because it involves product listings, shopping carts, product descriptions, and payment processing. We’ve built large eCommerce stores by inserting individual product listings or uploading XML files provided by distrubutors. eCommerce websites have a high-level of functionality. For some businesses, the website is the business.
These websites should be responsive. What this means is that they should adapt to any screen size.
If your website generates less than 20 percent of your business, a simple brochure site should be adequate. No matter what, though, it depends on what you want and what you feel you need. If your website produces more than 60 percent of your business, eCommerce can be a consideration. There are also a wide range of funcitons that a website can perform to pull in your audience and move them through the sales funnel.
This is the fun part but one we work with frequently. Of course, something like an eCommerce site is going to come with a cost beause of the time and amount of work that goes into it. However, a brochure website leaves flexibility in cost. The costs that are included are the price of your website domain (no more than $15 a year), the cost of hosting (we host for approximately $100 or less per year) , and the cost to build (depends on the type of site and amount of work). In other words, there are three parts to the overall cost. If you build it yourself, you still have to pay for your domain and hosting. If you need better rankings, then you may need professional SEO work.
Regardless of the cost, the goal is to produce a return on investment. This is done by building a website that is attractive and functional to the point that it makes people want to do business with you.