Posted: 29th November 2017
In today’s instant information society, we expect to be able to find business websites easily and conveniently. Gone are the days of dial-up and £££ website builds. You can put together a website quickly and seemingly easily. But, do you consider all the factors when you are developing yours? Have you asked someone to develop your website for you but been a little disappointed with what you got?
Consider this – what is your website going to do for you?
What is the underlying reason you’re developing a website? If you’re looking to have a sales platform on your website, your approach will need to be different to someone who provides services. You need to have a hosting account that can cope with the size and growth of your website. If you are taking bookings, does your website have the practical functionality a buyer is looking for?
Websites are not a build and leave tool. You need to carefully manage the layouts to make them work for you and refresh them regularly. Try to keep the plan and strucutre simple. You will probably spend a lot of time developing social media that links to your website, so your page links are important. You will want to have good SEO (search engine optimisation) so people ‘Googling’ you can find you easily so your words and language is important.
What does your website convey about you? Does it show your branding clearly? It is visually pleasant to look at? There are a lot of factors to think about before you dive in about what your website will do for you.
If you’re thinking about blogging (which is recommended), it will give you new content regularly. Blogs are usually fairly simple to upload yourself to your website so you should be able to manage this directly. But, if you start a blog and leave it for months or years, that can be as noticeable as not having a blog at all and will not help your SEO. So, if you decide to start a blog, make sure you have the strategy that needs to go with it to provide fresh content regularly.
Consider this – will the platform you choose give you the flexibility you need and be safe and secure?
Have you started to notice searching for a website to get told the website isn’t secure and asks you if are you sure to go to it? This is due to the changes Google have made to its security functions. You now should have a website that is https:// secure – https stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and is an essential changeover for businesses to be considered a secure and safe website for users. It is also more likely for a https site to rank higher in google because it’s considered secure.
Many of the “cheap” do-it-yourself website builders are not as they advertise. There are often hidden costs in getting better features and they have limited capability to work the way you probably want them to work. For some, you have to pay to add on things like your shop, SEO, security and other features that should really be integrated into a package that shows you exactly what you get.
I use WordPress Divi for my clients when building their websites. WordPress is used by over 25% of all website builders globally, so you know it has the confidence and support behind it. It’s also very adaptable and can be quite affordable and secure to manage – you may need to invest in some training time, but I see WordPress Divi as a long-term web solution. As long as you keep your plugins and security updated very regularly you should have a great return on investment.
Consider this – how much will it cost, and how long have you got to develop your website?
Websites can be built overnight with next to no investment, but do you notice the difference in quality between a quick, cheap website and one that’s been given thought and time to develop properly? It’s all about the user experience.
Depending on the business needs, a website could cost anywhere from £500-£10,000 but it’s the functionality that will dictate the cost. Don’t expect a developer to build a website that has a members area, shop, bells and/or whistles for next to nothing. At the same time, if you feel that something sounds really costly for what you are asking, get a breakdown of the costs and a second opinion.
There are many website themes (structures) out there that are already developed which will cut down on time, so do your homework before committing to a price to make sure you get what you pay for. Also, ask for examples of work (website links) from a developer – see what they do for others and check what parts of what they have done previously is included for you (eg. analytics or a chat function if useful).
How long a build will take is a very subjective question, but consider if you have a launch date or deadline to meet – you will need around 4-8 weeks to fully develop a website. This gives time to plan the structure (user experience), content, graphics (see below), development time, review time and finally testing time.
Graphics can have a big impact on your hosting costs so be mindful of what you are posting. A picture straight from your device can be over 1MB (that’s big) so give your graphics some attention. Make sure you correctly size your graphics, and you can use tools like tinyjpg.com to compress the size even further without losing quality. You want to get to as small KB as possible. Bear in mind your web graphics will be a lower quality than your marketing graphics, so make sure you know what you’re using where.
Your website should make you feel very proud of your business. It should give an amazing user experience, be easy to navigate and show off your business.
Blue Ninja Business Support offers website builds and re-development. We partner with Emedia Hosting to give businesses a package of support at a very reasonable price and can help you move over to a https:// site. We care about your business and your user experience. Visit blueninja.co.uk for more information and get in touch with Louisa about your website needs.