In this blog post we will be looking at a few different website design methods and exploring the benefits of each method to help you make the right decision for your next website project be it a website redesign or a new business just starting out with their first website.
Do it yourself website template providers.
The first website design method we are going to look at is a template driven website service, these are the websites that let the average user create a website using a user friendly interface and most importantly without needing to know how to code HTML or CSS. You will have seen examples of these types of website services advertising on the TV or on the shelf in your local IT super store offering you all of the benefits of a website for a set price per year or month.
These offerings are the cheapest solution and very easy for the average user to set up, however as with most things you get what you pay for. These website services can offer you a website at such a low price because the system has been automated and the support provided is minimal. The result of this is you end up with a solution that is trying to be a ‘one size fits all’ website that is unable to meet users ever changing requirements and results in businesses having to mould around the website and not the other way around.
The very nature of this business model means that the company needs to sell hundreds if not thousands of websites based on the same layout as they are offering you, the result of this is your website becomes just another one of countless websites your customer visits while researching a product or service. You need to stand apart from the competition and not simply look like a clone of a clone of a clone of a… well you get the idea.
Working as a professional website developer I have seen countless clients set up websites with these services before they realise they need to get it done by professionals, and the worst thing about it is with the poor support on offer getting your domain name transferred away from the service can often take hours of calls, emails and developer time and you end up spending more money just getting away from the service then you paid for the site!
The other issue with a company like this who has thousands of websites and very poor support is that you are trusting them with one of the most vital areas of your business – communication – emails! I have had clients whose emails have been down for days on end due to a lack of support from these mass website creation companies.
Pre made template solutions
With this next website solution we have taken a step up from the massed produced value websites on offer to a template driven system. This solution can be a static website however more and more are making use of the large number of open source (free) content management systems on offer for example WordPress. This solution will involve setting up a new WordPress website and install an off the shelf theme (paid for or offered for free), this method requires a bit more know how or the aid of a web developer but once the system is in place you will be able to update the website yourself. The benefits of this solution are that you have a website that will stand out better than the automatically generated solution we looked at previously and a more flexible approach – you need more than 5 pages? Not a problem how about potentially unlimited? Want to add a twitter feed easy use a pre made plugin and have it up and running in under 5 minutes!
These template driven websites offer businesses of all sizes a very flexible website solution however you are still constrained by the template you select, for example if the template does not have an image slider adding one can be above the heads of most users of the site. Added to this the possibility that there are still others who are using the same template as you means that while you will stand out against the mass template drive solution you will not be unique. Think of the first solution as having the same website design as everyone in a town, hundreds of them! This solution is like having the same website design as everyone at your local pub. This is because a web developer has invested his time creating the template and will need to sell it to X number of people to make it worth doing, however there is nothing stopping them from selling it time and time again getting a nice reward for his effort but with every template he sells your website is becoming more and more like the others. This issue is more of an issue in small industries who are all likely to select the same template.
A bespoke website created by a web developer
Next we come to the final solution, a bespoke website created just for you! This solution will involve a web designer and / or developer working with you to create a website design that is not only unique to your website but also one that can be tailored to meet your exact requirements. Do you want a search box at the top of your website? An image slider on the left? Space for adverts? Mobile friendly format? A shop? Custom made contact forms? RSS feed? News and blog sections? Social media links? – No problem a web developer will be able to create a bespoke website design that could do all this and more!
But the design of the site is only part of what makes a successful website, by getting a professional website developer to create your website you will benefit from their experience in creating websites and as a result your website will not only look stunning but it will also perform well in search engine rankings and be flexible enough to meet your changing business needs throughout the life of the website.
Google scans the website looking for unique valuable content that it can rank highly in its search results and what do you think will stand out better a of the shelf solution or a one of a kind hand coded bespoke website? For this reason alone investing in a professionally created website will be worth every penny.