Web Design for Small businesses
If you are looking for web design for your¬†small business there are some things you must know before getting started. I started out intending to right a short blog with some quick tips. ¬†As I got into¬†writing it I realized there was a lot to share if I wanted to¬†really cover the topic right, so I decided to¬†split it into five blog posts. ¬†Over¬†the next few weeks¬†we are going to cover topics such as selecting your website platform, do-it-yourself web design vs. hiring a professional, the WordPress CMS, website pricing and budgets, what to look for in your web design company, and much more. ¬†I am breaking the information out into the¬†5 main topics that¬†I¬†think will make the biggest impact on your web design experience. ¬†I am looking forward to sharing with you, so lets get started with the first tip.
Tip #1: Choose the right website platform
There are many different ways to build a website.¬† Some web designers prefer to hand code everything.¬† Others use content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.¬† Occasionally you come across web design companies that use their own proprietary web design system.¬† So does it matter how they build your website?¬† We believe it does.
The dangers of proprietary web design systems
Some web design companies create their own proprietary website platforms that they use to build all of their websites. ¬†Out of all the website options¬†I believe proprietary systems are the worst choice for web design for a couple of reasons.¬† When your website is built with a proprietary website platform you will be stuck with that web company for the life of that website. ¬†They own the core system your website is built on which means¬†if you decide to leave them down the road you won’t be able to¬†take the website with you. ¬†You are basically committing to that web designer for better or worse.¬† If you have a falling out and leave, your website ceases to exist.¬† This also means the web designer has much less motivation to provide good service after the sale because they know you can‚Äôt go anywhere.¬†I can tell you we have talked to many really frustrated small business owners who felt they were over a barrel.¬† They were getting no customer service and couldn‚Äôt get updates done. ¬†Unfortunately,¬†they felt¬†unable to switch web designers because they had already paid $5,000-$10,000 for a website and leaving would mean starting over.
Hand coded websites¬†have been replaced
Hand coded websites are another option. ¬†They¬†aren‚Äôt as bad as proprietary websites¬†because you are able to take them with you if you choose to switch web designers.¬† There are several drawbacks though. One challenge¬†is that there is good code and there is sloppy code. ¬†Unless you know code and can check out their previous work you don’t really know which¬†you are getting. ¬†Also, everyone codes a little differently so transferring your¬†website to a different web designer could be a bit of a mess. ¬†Taking over someone else‚Äôs hand coded work can be challenging and costly.¬† The next web developer may or may not be able to update and maintain the site depending on how well the¬†code was written and documented. ¬†Hand coding used to be the way all websites were designed, but since content management systems (CMS) like WordPress came out most small businesses have made the switch to a CMS.
Why choose the WordPress CMS for your website
When it comes to web design for small businesses the solution we always recommend is WordPress.¬† It is one of the top 3 content management systems with the other two being Drupal and Joomla.¬† Drupal is really meant to be used by large corporations that need lots of custom programming and it’s overkill for the majority of business owners.¬† Joomla works for a larger segment of businesses, but it is not user friendly.¬† We used to build websites with Joomla, but our customers did not like it.¬† It was not intuitive for the typical business owner, and most had trouble making their own website updates. ¬†The WordPress CMS won us over almost 4 years ago, and I really believe¬†you will love everything about it.
Update your own website content
Our clients love WordPress.¬† One of its main selling points is how intuitive it is.¬† With a little training it is extremely easy for small business owners to make their own content updates after the website launches if they want to.¬† They can also easily learn to manage their newsletters, blogs, ecommerce stores and any other functionality they need. ¬†We love empowering small business owners by¬†giving them the freedom to manage their website if that is what they want to do.
WordPress offers so much functionality
Another great feature of WordPress is its vast functionality.¬† There are thousands of plugins designed for WordPress with more coming out every day.¬† If there is functionality you need, WordPress can do it.¬† When doing¬†web design¬†for small businesses we have used functionality such as web forms, event calendars, paid advertising, ecommerce, e-newsletters, membership systems, employee intranets, business directories, event registrations, blogs, photo galleries, customer reviews, job listings, real estate listings and more.¬† We have not found a client yet that WordPress wasn‚Äôt a great fit for.
Everybody’s doing it
WordPress is used by many very recognizable companies such as Xerox, Fortune, and Time, Inc. to name a few. ¬†I read that as of 2014 over 74 million sites depended on WordPress with 50,000 new sites being added each day. Small and large businesses are¬†seeing the many¬†advantages that WordPress has to offer and are actively seeking out WordPress web design companies to build them a WordPress website. Many of the clients that come to us are specifically looking for a Boise web design company that specializes in WordPress, ¬†and they choose us because of our expertise with this¬†platform.
If you are in the market for web design for your small business, I hope this information has been¬†helpful. We would love to talk to you about how we can help you with your web design project. ¬†Give us a call today at¬†208-939-0493 for a free web design consultation.
Next week I will be discussing¬†Tip #2: Setting a realistic budget as well as¬†answering the important question, “How much does a website cost.“