Deciding to build a website for your business, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a designer to do it for you, can be daunting. A website is an investment, so naturally, you want to make sure you get it right.
A price of a website can be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing a platform and a website can vary from £99 to in excess of £100K, and everything in between.
However, if you’re choosing to design your own website, ease of use, and how each platform offers different benefits to your business. Ongoing maintenance, SEO capabilities, opportunities to expand and develop your site and ownership all need to considered when making a decision.
I have given an overview of the available website platforms to help you have a better understanding of how each one could benefit your business and where you should invest your time and money.
- Website builder platforms e.g. Wix, Squarespace – Often offering a free version with monthly fees up for £500, these platforms have been made for those with little website design experience to build a site quickly and easily. They allow small business owners to design their own website, and not rely on a designer, however if you wanted someone to do it for you, you could find a designer relatively easily and cheaply. One thing to be aware of when choosing these types of platforms are, every site designed on them are owned by the overarching company and work on a “rental” basis. You will need pay a monthly subscription fee for Wix/Sqaurespace etc. which you will need to keep paying indefinitely if you want to keep your website. You may also find that should you wish to develop your site further and add certain features, your monthly fee will increase. Although these sites offer convenience and are relatively user friendly. they can be limited on functionality and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and not the ideal investment long term for businesses online presence.
- Templated Content Management Systems e.g. WordPress.org – WordPress is one of the worlds most popular website building software. It’s an open source platform that is free to use, however you will need to purchase your domain name and website hosting each year (make sure to use wordpress.org and NOT wordpress.com though). There are free templates you can use, which provide a structure to each page, so you can just edit pictures, colours and text, however these are quite basic and simple. You may wish to purchase a premium theme which costs from around £50/£60. One of the biggest benefits of a WordPress website is the flexibility in capabilities and functionality to customise your site in line with your brand and business objectives. WordPress uses plugins, many of which are free, which allows you to build in features on your website, including online shops, directories, memberships, and much more. In addition, you also own your own website, which is hugely beneficial to any business as you have much more control over content and the cost of your website too. The downside to WordPress is that is does require more knowledge or more time and patience to learn how to use it effectively. There are lots of free tutorials online, however this can see cause more confusion. If you’re keen to get started with WordPress, check out my free resources page where you can download a free four step guide to setting up WordPress on your website.
- Custom Coded – This type of site is built without using any theme or website builder and as such, and provides the greatest flexibility with regards to design, functionality and SEO. However, unless you know how to code a website (and let’s be fair, if you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog!) you’re going to struggle to even get started. You will need to find a website developer who is well skilled in coding, which does come at a cost, both for the initial build and typically for ongoing enhancement of the site. Also depending on the code used you could find that you struggle to find a replacement developer should you ever need to, and you may a premium when you do. Whilst these types of websites are the best way to achieve a truly bespoke website, if you’re not well versed in coding, you may struggle to keep your website maintained to its full potential.
My personal recommendation is always a WordPress website design. It offers the best of both worlds of flexibility and control of development and ownership, whilst still being user friendly and cost effective.
If you are considering a new website for your business and have any questions about which platform may be best for you, please get in touch and I will be happy to help.
You can also find out more information about my website design services here. Don’t forget you can also join my free Facebook group for more tips and advice on website design and marketing your small business online, as well as weekly live sessions where you can ask me questions.