Business owners are often confused when choosing effective website design options for their business. Realizing they need a website, they wonder which option is best. To make matters worse, friends and colleagues offer well meaning advice, but others often don’t understand the true requirements of websites for business.
- Should you use a free website option seen on TV?
- Should you hire a boy wonder to build it for you?
- Are you better off trying a DIY template?
These are common questions when exploring websites for business, but this post is going to clear up the confusion. Choosing effective web design is easier than you think, and most options can be quickly eliminated. In order to eliminate confusion, we need to clarify some things from the get-go.
Effective Web Design and Web Development are not the Same.
This might be obvious to some, yet confusing to others. Here’s the simple difference. A web designer works on how websites for business “look,” while a web developer focuses on how your website “works.” A simple analogy is that of a house. Picture a web developer much like the architect and builder of that house. This person will be concerned about the layout, the construction process, and the materials used in the building process. Most importantly, they will manage and oversee the building process. Their work prepares the way for the designer who will choose the wall colors, trim, artwork, and furniture. Of course some website developers also see themselves as designers, but this is typically the exception rather than the rule.
In the web world, developers typically focus on programming and code while designers focus on graphical layouts and appearance. Now that you’re aware of this distinction, it will make your shopping and interviewing easier when you ask about people’s skills and capabilities. Some web design companies in McKinney may separate these roles, while other agencies combine them. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use the term effective web design to mean both as we delve into the topic. Now let’s take a look at the current websites for business options available, and simplify your search process.
Old School Custom Web Design: Once upon a time, not so long ago, small business owners would hire a web developer to custom code a website from the ground up. This required knowledge of HTML, and usually assumed a chunk of time to build it from scratch. It wasn’t uncommon for effective web design to cost $5,000 to even $10,000 for even basic websites at that time. While custom web design still has it’s place today, most small businesses don’t require a website that costs that much money. Of course, you won’t have a difficult time trying to pay a web design company in McKinney that much to do the work. They will gladly accept your money. However, web design rates have drastically changed. If you’re quoted $5k+ for basic website design then you are probably being taken advantage of based upon things they’re not telling you. Don’t go for it. The world has come a long way, so let’s see what has changed and how that benefits websites for business.
New School “Free” Website Design:
“I saw a commercial for a cheap, turn-key website. Are these any good?” Opposite of overpriced and custom websites is the other extreme of free web design. Free usually has an asterisk; but it has its place. There are a host of web design options on the market today that allow you to quickly and easily establish your web presence on a tight budget. Options such as Weebly, 1-and-1, and GoDaddy all offer fast solutions that are point-and-click templates. These might sound appealing, and they might serve their place as a temporary solution for your web design needs. However, a few downsides include the following.
The Reality of Free Websites: You may not really “own” your website. Some of these services come and go, so you don’t have ultimate control of your own web presence. A popular revenue model is to amass users to leter get acquired by large parent companies. When this happens, customer service plummets and many business owners find themselves stuck. Another business model aims at free users in attempt at overpriced “premium” upsell services such domain names, junk add-on’s such as anti-virus scanning, or custom options that provide functionality beyond the limited free “base model” you’ve chosen. A free website template is a great option for a neighborhood association or a simple web poster that gives visitors very basic information about your organization. A wedding announcement is a great example of how a free website can serve a helpful purpose, because it is a short term solution. However, most websites for business will to run into limitations with these options because they lack customization, online ordering security, and search engine optimization capabilities. Even a blogger should think long-term when using a free platform, because when it comes right down to it…they don’t own their website.
What about Do-it-Yourself Web Design Options?
We are big advocates of solutions such as WordPress. In fact, this website is built using WordPress. While our theme is customized, the basic framework is available at no cost. That said, there is a big difference between being able to use a framework such as WordPress for free, and learning how to do so. It’s not uncommon for us to talk with business owners who tried to save money on web design rates by following a DIY course on their business website. It is doable. Some studies value the hourly rate of a small business owner at around $120 per hour. If it takes 20 hours to learn how to use the system, is $2400.00 the best use of their time and money? The reality is that business owners are very busy people. Their time is valuable, and they often start lots of things and don’t always get back to them right away. Because of this, their initial effort has sunk costs associated with them, and their website can sit idle for months…even years. This is not the web presence they hoped for when they initially signed up for the (what seemed) easy-to-use DIY service. We don’t knock free or DIY options, but as small business owners ourselves, most of these options are not the best use of time and money for websites for business.
What are your best options on websites for Business?
Web design rates have changed considerably in the last few years. This is largely due to advances in technology. We often recommend 2 options when it comes to websites for business. These options are driven by your needs.
Effective Web Design Option 1: Do you need a great looking web presence, up to 10 pages, and the ability to personally make edits and changes without paying hourly? If so, you are in for a pleasant surprise. We routinely build customized sites like this where we do all the planning and work, yet keep the costs very affordable due to the use of solutions like WordPress. Small business owners are delighted to find an effective website design option like this, because they don’t have to learn software, write content, locate images, or figure out frustrating technical issues. It’s a “done for you” option, but with a small price tag. Solutions like this used to cost $5k-$10 before the recent web revolution, but we offer this option for just $1499. Even our web hosting comes with built in support. We take care of the ongoing technical stuff so you can focus on running your business.
Effective Web Design Option 2: Does your business website need to do more than gain traffic and tell your story? Some of our clients need more robust solutions such as scheduling, order management, secure e-commerce, and highly customized solutions. Not a problem. Our discovery process helps determine the most effective website design option for your business website. We employ custom development programmers, in fact, even a guy who builds robots. There won’t be a task too difficult for our capabilities. The need for custom development still exists, but our goal is to make sure you’re not overpaying for “overkill.” The bottom line is this. Most small business owners don’t require custom development work. We’re here to discuss your business website needs, and guide you toward the best solution for you. Period. Custom web development begins at $1500, and like choosing a vehicle, depends upon your wants, needs, and budget.
Do you need effective website design for your business?
We take a consultative approach, and have a real office in McKinney, TX. You can come sit down with us for a no-pressure conversation about all your business website needs. You will quickly determine if Option 1 is best, or if a custom solution is a smart move. Our preference is to serve your goals, and guide you toward the best long term solution for your business.
There is no cost to talk with us. Give us a call at 214-856-0556, or ask us to contact you below.