How Important is Your Website

A website is the center of most business’ marketing efforts. Consumers perform more research prior to contacting a business more than ever before. Your website is going to likely be the first impression they have with your business and dictate if they do or do not make contact with you.

icon-cloudWhat Kind of Website
Do You Need?

Websites can be created to do just about anything you want them to.  Most businesses use a website to attract new customers in need of their products and services.   While this seems fairly straightforward, there are some varying levels of functionality and complexity in the different types of websites.  Here are the most common types of websites:

Brochure Website

A brochure website is the most basic form of a website. It displays general company information such as product / services, company history, customer testimonials, and contact information.

Most of the websites designed today are built on a Content Management System or a CMS. A CMS is a web-based tool that provides authorized users the ability log in and make edits to the website content. This is the ideal route for clients that want a professionally designed website they can make day to day updates to the text and photos on various pages of the site. Updates are made through the CMS dashboard and do not require experience in programming.

Specialized functionality can be developed within the CMS to provide additional features such as a booking calendar or creation of landing pages for specific marketing campaigns. The sky is the limit.


eCommerce Website 

Selling products online is fairly common these days.  An eCommerce website is built using a specialized CMS that allows site users to view individual products, place those products in a cart, and securely pay for those products through a checkout process.  eCommerce websites can be simple in structure only offering a couple products for sale or very complex offering thousands of products tied to an inventory management system.   


Web Applications

Web sites can do more than just host information for site visitors to read. Web applications can be developed to allow for privileged interactions between users, provide data to external web properties, and even help manage internal processes within your own company. 

Web applications are typically more complex solutions requiring lots of planning, development, and testing.

Different Options
for Website Design

You have lots of different options to choose from when building a website.  Choosing the right website design partner that fits your needs and budget is very important.  Below are the most common types of website design options: 

DIY Platforms

DIY (Do It Yourself) Platforms have come a long way in recent years. This is the most cost effective solution but does require the most amount of your time. DIY Platforms provide a gallery of templates to choose from with user-friendly design tools that allow you to build your website yourself. Fees for these platforms range from $10 / month to $100 / month depending on the bells and whistles included. Usually hosting of the website is included in the monthly fees. It is important to know that you will (likely) not own the website that you build and canceling your service with a DIY platform will terminate the existence of the website.

DIY platforms are best for small businesses and organizations will a very limited budget that needs a simple website presence.


Freelance Web Designers

Freelance website designers are usually single person operations that provide simple website solutions for small businesses. Some perform freelance services full time while others moonlight as freelancers on the side. Skill sets for freelance designers vary from those that can manipulate purchased templates to some that are very well versed in design and coding customer solutions.

This is the most cost-effective solution if you want a someone to design a website for your business.


Website Design Company / Digital Agency

A website design company is typically composed of a team of professionals with skills in various areas such as design, development, and copy creation. They produce beautiful, professional websites that are custom designed for your business. A website design company will oftentimes offer additional marketing services like SEO, paid search, email marketing, social media marketing, and graphic design.

A Digital Agency will also provide beautiful, professional website but are usually more involved with the complete marketing of your business online.

This is the best solution if you are looking for a professionally designed website and perhaps additional online marketing services.

How Much Should I Budget for a New Website?

You have lots of different options to choose from when building a website.  Choosing the right website design partner that fits your needs and budget is very important.  Below are the most common types of website design options: 

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Time

There is a direct correlation between the amount of your time involved and the final cost.  If you have a limited budget for your new website, consider a solution that will allow you to contribute more of your time toward the final solution.  

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Complexity of your Website Project

The more functionality that your website has, the more coding and development will be required during the construction process.  Create a detailed list of the bells and whistles you’d like and prioritize them.  Perhaps you can break the website into multiple phases over time.

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The Partner You Work With

The company you hire to build the website will definitely play a role in the final cost.  The DIY platform is likely going to be the choice for the most budget minded.  A freelance designer will likely cost less than a website design company or digital agency.  If price is your main concern, opt for one of these solutions.  More established businesses that have a marketing budget gravitate towards working with a website design company or digital agency.   

icon-microscopeThings You Should Consider
While Researching Your Options

You have lots of different options to choose from when building a website.  Choosing the right website design partner that fits your needs and budget is very important.  Below are the most common types of website design options: 

What is their process for building the website?

There are a lot of moving parts that go into the construction of a website.  A defined process is vital to making sure the build process is well planned and executed.  There should be a clear timeline that outlines what steps are involved, who is responsible for each step, and when each step will be completed. 

How much time do you want to devote to the process?

Make sure you understand how involved you will be in the process.  Will you have to create all the content for the website or will it be created for you?  How often will you meet?  What will you be responsible for?  Knowing who is responsible for which tasks will make the project go much smoother. 

Who will host the website?

All websites live on a server that can be accessed through a browser.  Determine early in the game where the website will be hosted, the fees involved, and what is included.  Website security is becoming increasingly important so make sure there are measures being taken to prevent interruptions in website downtime. 

How will you generate traffic to the website?

One of the most common misconceptions we run into is that having a website is all that is needed to be found online.  Driving traffic to a website requires the development and execution of an online marketing strategy.  Even if the partner building the website is not going to handle ongoing marketing efforts, be sure your strategy for generating traffic to the site is known before construction begins.