Given the fact the internet remains one of the most effective ways to market your business in 2021, it’s no surprise that so many people will emphasize the importance of having a website.
This is true, although not entirely true. Yes, whilst you need a website, the thing you need most importantly is an effective website.
Even if you plan on networking locally and expect the majority of your clientele to come from your area, it’s more than likely that people will still come across you online first.
In a recent statement by the Federation of Small Businesses (opens in new tab), they confirmed that 97% of consumers will take to the internet to search for products and services. Then, of those, 82% will use a mobile phone.
So, given the above, what do we mean when we say an ‘effective’ website? Well, it has to consist of three elements. These are:
– It has to be easy to find on search engines such as Google;
– It needs to be easy to use on mobile devices; and
– It has to provide a great user experience once people land on your site.
So long as your website can do these three things then it should be an effective means of attracting customers, boosting sales and enhancing the reputation of your brand.
So, how do you go about building your website? If you’re on a budget then it’s more than likely you’ve considered using some web host companies that allow you to build a website yourself; however, you may also be considering paying professional web designers (opens in new tab) to put together your website for you. This article will consider, in greater detail, how you choose a web host company and whether you should attempt to create a website yourself.
Pros and cons of building your own website
Of course, the most prominent benefit to building your own website is the price. Sitting behind a laptop, choosing a service and taking to building the site yourself is without a doubt the cheapest option, although this does vary depending on what you want your site to do.
One of the most frustrating things about building your own website is the fact that it can be quite a complicated process. Where some providers may state you could be up and running in less than an hour, realistically, to get your website working well and effectively portraying your brand in a unique way, this will take time and patience.
That uniqueness can only go so far as well, given most of these self-service websites follow a strict template. As a result, you could end up with a basic looking site that does not hold much functionality. Most small businesses have a plethora of originality to offer the world and that can get lost when trying to put together a website yourself, which in turn could affect your overall branding.
If you are willing to take the risk and try to build your own site, when choosing a DIY app, do not just consider a star rating but read reviews to gather information on how difficult the website builders are to use and what they allow their users to do on them.
Using a designer: national or local?
If after reading the above you have decided you would rather hire someone to design your website, then the next question you have is whether you should opt for national or local designers to help you.
A larger national provider will likely use a closed source content management system (CMS (opens in new tab)), whereas a smaller local designer would probably use a free open-source content management system, such as WordPress (opens in new tab), Drupal (opens in new tab) or Joomla.
Large national providers
One of the main disadvantages to using a larger national provider is that they are usually quite costly.
This is another instance where you will need to do a bit of research into what previous customers have said about the provider, as you will need to ensure you are picking one who offers great customer service, support, security and also help with SEO (opens in new tab).
This is important as it means that not only will you end up with a unique design that you love but it will also drive people to your website and provide solid returns on investment.
Other disadvantages to using larger organizations is that a lot of them will outsource their work to centres outside of the UK, this means security may not be as tight as you’d want for your business and if you try to obtain online support after the fact, it could be quite hard to come by.
Make sure the organization you are using is worth the money you’ll be spending on them.
Small local designers
Though a lot of the time a smaller designer may seem like the most accessible option, you may be surprised by how expensive they can be. They also will probably be unable to offer the same kind of design features that larger organizations offer as they will need to rely on regular updates from the various plug-ins they will be using.
You will also need more patience when dealing with small designers due to the fact they are not going to have the same infrastructure that a larger business can offer. As such, building your website can be a much slower process.
You could also come across issues with continuity with these organizations given due to their size, they are more likely to go out of business or move onto another avenue of work, this means support after your website is made could come few and far between.
An exception to the above
There are, however, exceptions to what has already been said. There are a few UK web design companies out there that fall into the ‘large national provider’ category; however, like to stand out from the rest thanks to being a web design franchise (opens in new tab) meaning they having a network of regional consultant which makes everything much easier and personal when it comes to getting your website built.
So, the key takeaways are to decide if you have the time and skillset to build you own website and then decide which company to use to get your online presence established.
Be sure to do your research and check out any reviews about the companies your considering working with.