This is a great question and one I hear often when people ask what I do for a living. The simple answer is that you may not need one – it really depends on what your vision is for your business. I think we can all agree that in this day and age you need a website for your business.
The Importance of a Great Website
It is certainly one of the first things I do when looking for products/services. Even to do something as simple as check your opening hours and believe me – if you do not have your hours of operation on your website I will be cursing you and will probably choose to take my business elsewhere to someone who lets me know I will not be wasting my journey to buy a pressure washer or granola mix or a lightsaber with real sound effects (of course I buy all my lightsabers online anyway).
Your website should also look at least somewhat professional. If the saying “You first eat with your eyes” holds true for food (and I am constantly amazed that my eyes are not as large as my belly); for me it is equally true for websites. Let’s say I am looking for a plumber and I search local plumbers on the web and I get 3 results. While there are many factors determining which plumber I end up calling – one of the first things will be how professional their website looks. This may be an unfair rationale because plumbers are supposed to be experts in the field of plumbing; not website design. However, for the same reason my mother would always tell me never to leave the house without a clean pair of underwear on, I truly believe a business’ website reflects how they are perceived to new visitors.
Let’s face it, there are many options out there for any type of business needing a website. These options range from template-driven tools to full-blown web design companies like CoreSolutions. For some smaller businesses the template-driven websites may be all you need – it all depends on your personal situation.
Let me give you a real world example of some limitations that you will come across if you go the template route.
My wife, in addition to her full-time job and being a full-time mother also has another dream of writing a baby food cookbook. This is a dream she has pursued for the last three years and with each passing month she gets closer and closer to that dream becoming a reality. Early on in the process, one of the things we decided was that she needed a website and a blog to help keep her on track and start gaining followers. Because this started as a hobby and we both had little free time, we went with the option of using a template-driven website as it was fairly inexpensive and required little technical knowledge to maintain. Feel free to check it out here for a shameless plug! (Spoonfed Baby Food)
Concerns About Template-Driven Website
Everything seemed ideal when we initially started the website and it still had that new car smell. However as time has moved on, I will admit there are some frustrations.
- Never forget – it is a template. While there are many templates to choose from, they are still just templates. You cannot pick modules from the different templates and merge them together. You have to pick the one that checks most of your boxes. The problem with that is you will consistently get frustrated when something you didn’t know you needed is not in the template you selected. That leaves you with the choice of switching over to an entirely different template (and maybe losing some functionality you have in your current one) or going without that one feature. With a custom website this would not be an issue.
- Customization. Yes you can add logos, images and many other design elements, but for the most part they will also have to fit within the confines of the template you have selected. This problem restrains your website from being a true reflection of your business. With a custom website this would not be an issue.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is probably one of the biggest issues. After all – what is the point of having a website if nobody can find it online? Most of the template providers tout the fact that all of their templates have been optimized for searching and in some ways this is true. However, because you are dealing with a template you do not have access to all the parts of the website that can take advantage of SEO techniques (meta-tags, meta-keywords, etc.). Again you will be limited to what you can do with templates. With a custom website this would not be an issue.
- My final point… and it’s a biggie. I do not wish to offend anyone by what I am going to say in this one. Again – it is something that I have found to be true time and time again when managing my wife’s website (Sorry honey!!). But here it goes… I am not a web designer!! I have the best intentions with a limited skill set, but I am in no way, shape or form a professional web designer. I’m just not and most likely neither are you. And for the final time in this blog – with a custom website this would not be an issue.
Benefits of Using a Professional Web Design Company
With a professional web design company you will get a graphic designer who understands your business and what your voice sounds like. They can put that voice into a design concept that truly captures what you are about. They love their work and create beautiful art… talk about eating first with your eyes!
They understand SEO and how to leverage it so you will be found on the web. After all – there are almost a Billion Websites on the internet... it’s easy to get lost in all that noise!
You get the website you want. There will be no “sorry that feature isn’t available in your template” here. You are your own template creator and can have everything your heart desires AND the kitchen sink!
This is what they do. Period. No part time hobbyists here. They stay on top of the latest trends developing cutting-edge websites using the latest and greatest technologies. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
So if any of the above points are important to you then Give Us a Call. It won’t hurt to start the discussion.
As always – thanks for reading!