Tips From a Professional Web Designer
You have a business. You need a website. Where do you start?
We’re here to help you out with a little guidance on your trek to getting online with a website for your business. Rest assured you’re not the only person to be in this position and since we see a lot of interest in this topic we decided to share some of our experience with you.
When you’re creating a website for your business there are 2 choices to make at the very beginning of your process. Which one you choose will depend on your budget, your level of technical skills, and your sense of adventure.
Do It Yourself
If you’re on a tight budget and feel confident in your ability with technology you might find yourself in this column.
Keep in mind when considering the DIY route, you’ll also need the time to devote to doing it yourself. There is the time required to learn whatever website product to go with. Don’t forget about the time to conceptualize your design and turn it into an actual digital work of art.
DIY can be a good option for a starter website. The current crop of website builders have a nice array of design tools that let you create a good looking website without any technical knowledge.
What do you need to DIY?
- Domain (Your website’s address)
- Content (text & images)
Actually there’s a little more to it but those are the 3 main categories.
Most of the major players in the DIY business include a domain and [simple_tooltip content=’Shared hosting is a single physical server that hosts multiple sites. Each user gets a section of the server in which they can host their website files.’]shared hosting[/simple_tooltip] in their website builder packages. You just need to create your content and choose a template to format it.
Here are a few of the DIY website builders vying for your dollars today.
- GoDaddy Website Today
- WordPress.com (different from WordPress.org)
Any of these platforms will let you create a website without too much technical knowledge. Many of the low cost versions are limited in one aspect or another. Some limit the number of users allowed in a certain time period. Some limit bandwidth and storage space.
With a DIY package you are also limited in functionality. Most don’t allow you to upload any plugins. You are stuck using their themes, although the themes they offer can look really good.
Most of these website builders aren’t suitable for eCommerce unless you’re creating a small online store. Plan on upgrading to one of the deluxe (more expensive) plans if you need ecommerce.
What about SEO? We wrote a blog post about our experience with Weebly. You can read that Weebly blog post here.
Hire a Pro
Using a Pro is a much different experience than the DIY route. When you hire a web designed to create your website, much of the work involved becomes the responsibility of the web designer, freeing you to concentrate on your business. Let’s take a look at what we do for a typical web design project.
- Domain name research & procurement
- Set up Hosting on appropriate plan
- Install and configure WordPress
- Select and install WP Theme
- Configure Theme settings
- Set default color pallette
- Set default typography
- Determine necessary plugins, install and configure
- Create User Interface
- Create pages using Organic SEO tactics
- Use appropriate images and textures
- We take high resolution photographs when necessary
- Review design with client & modify as needed
- Launch site
- Configure Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Maps, & Google MyBusiness
- Configure Bing Webmaster Tools
- Configure site to use InfiniteWP for continuous monitoring
- Provide client training
- Configure custom email as needed
Those things are what you don’t get with a DIY website builder.
A responsible web design firm like Team 218 will ensure that the pages of your website are designed and built with solid [simple_tooltip content=’Organic SEO – the items on your page that affect search results. Meta data, text, images and headings are all part of Organic SEO. Meta Title is the title that appears in your SERP (Search Engine Results Page), not the title you see on the screen. Meta Description describes what your page is about to search engines.’]Organic SEO[/simple_tooltip] tactics. This is something that is difficult to add on after the fact. Without good Organic SEO, your search results will suffer and it will be almost impossible to achieve a good ranking.
When we design a website we include all of the above and we also include hosting and all maintenance for 12 months. We keep a close eye on the site not only to make sure any updates are completed promptly, but also to monitor Search results. We may make many adjustments to a page to affect the SERP.
We are confident we deliver a better result than you can get from a DIY builder.
On top of everything else, we provide the best customer service you’ll find anywhere.
We can’t speak for other web design firms but we know you’ll be happy with one of our websites. Ask any of our clients.
Website builders are in business to make a profit. That’s why they have limitations on their lower tier plans. They want you to upgrade. They also don’t want to see you leave. Because of this it’s very difficult to move your site away from most of the DIY builders. Something to keep in mind if you decide to use one.
What we said in our blog post about our experience with Weebly still applies.
The DIY path to a website is a viable option if you are just starting out and want to get your name on the web. Using DIY services for any serious business website may leave you wanting more. Your DIY website may also appear amateurish due to ads. You will suffer from less than stellar SEO results. These are all things a business owner should not have to deal with.
Our advice? Use this approach only if you absolutely have to and then only as a stop-gap measure. If you decide to go ahead with a DIY plan, take your time and PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS. Check your spelling and grammar and make sure you are consistent and get things like phone numbers and addresses correct. If you get stuck, we’ll be here to help you out.
To ensure the best first impression and a trouble-free website experience, we recommend hiring a profession web designer. Yes we’re a little biased but we’re giving you our honest opinion. Remember – it doesn’t cost anything to ask questions. Call, text, email, or use our contact forms anytime. We’re always glad to help.
You can read more about Web Design and finding the right website person on our home page.