So, You Want to Design a Website?
We expect a lot out of the websites we visit. All websites need to be fast, fully functional and easy to navigate, at a bare minimum. As web designers in Colorado, we see that there is a tendency for small business owners - because of budget concerns or just the desire to explore web design - to want to create their own website. But does it make sense to build your own website? If your expectations of other websites are very high, do you have all the necessary tools to make a website that meets or exceeds those expectations for your own business? While we obviously would advise hiring a professional to do your website for you, we know that some people really just have that DIY attitude and we support that too. So we've got some tips to help you along the way!
1- Research the ACTUAL cost of your web design platform
Yes, it's free to start most websites, if you use Squarespace or Wix or something similar. But what is included? Not a whole lot. And worst of all, you're freely promoting another company when you use the "free" versions. Every page on your website will say something like "powered by Wix" or "created with Squarespace." Maybe that's not a big deal to you, but as branding experts, it's a huge deal to us. To get rid of the ads and use premium features, you're already going to be spending hundreds of dollars per year.
2- Research the cost of hosting, domains and email
No matter what platform you use, if you want your own domain name, you'll have to pay something for that. Additionally, if you want to use a domain for your email address (for example email@example.com) that is likely not be supported by your host. Sure, a lot of people just use good ol' reliable Gmail, but that does reflect poorly, to some extent, on the success of your business. Would you rather get your email from firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com?
3- Determine which area of web design you feel most comfortable compromising
Time, money, design skill and tech skill - these are the four categories to consider when designing a site. Where you lack in one area, you have to make up for big time in the other three areas or your website will fail to deliver the results you want.
4- Don't forget, the web is still VERY content-driven
Yes, we live in a very video and image-heavy time for communication. But when it comes to websites, content is still king. If you want to come up in the first couple pages of Google's search index, be sure to brush up on your SEO basics and make sure that you're attracting the right kind of traffic to your site.
5- Familiarize yourself with basic web development troubleshooting
In the highly likely event that your website experiences some kind of downtime, you will want to be able to address the issue and handle it as quickly as possible. Granted most hosts do have their own technical support - some free, some not - but you may still be looking at hours of downtime waiting in queue and trying to follow the technical agent's instructions to fix your problem.
The Bottom Line
We have more options available to us now than ever when it comes to DYI web design. That makes it very tempting to want to try and design a site yourself. Can you design a good-looking website without much design knowledge? Sure! But you will be most definitely sacrificing some other part of the user experience. You expect a lot out of the websites you visit, and you've spent a lot of time and money creating your brand. Why would you settle for anything less than amazing when it comes to your own web design? Even if you can create a decent, basic website, don't you really want something that stands out? If you sell products online, know that about 70% of the Internet-searching population will make a transaction online. If your site isn't up to par, you're missing out on revenue. On the other end of the spectrum, maybe you know EXACTLY what you want in a website, but don't know how to go about it. We're here to help with that too. We specialize in all types of web design for all types and sizes of businesses. When it comes to web design in Colorado, you do have a ton of choices, and we really can help guide you no matter what you decide. Take a look around our website for some examples, and contact us when you're ready to get some help (or get started).