We’ve all attempted to work things out for ourselves with a view to saving money haven’t we? Whether that includes home improvements, DIY, learning a new skill, or simply because something looks interesting!
If you attempt decorating and make a few mistakes, you can probably cover them up and move on, nobody will notice. If you have a go at repairing your car, you can take it to a garage or mechanic for them to look at.
What happens if you have a go at creating a website on your own? Hopefully, you’ll identify what works well, and you’ll have a respectable looking website.
Unfortunately, there are very serious consequences if you do not fully understand what you are doing. Website design is about far more than just the look and feel of a website, as a minimum, the following considerations should be made:
- Where will my website be hosted? The location of where you website is hosted can have an effect on the search engine results pages. As an example, if you are a UK based company, having your website hosted in the states would have an adverse affect. Many cheap providers are able to supply incredibly cheap website hosting due to where they store their data centres.On the same theme, the residing country of the data centres used to store your website will likely be subjected to the data protection rules and regulations of that origin. I.e. if you website is stored in the states, they have far more relaxed rules regarding data protection and privacy than here in the UK.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Having a shiny new website is just the start. Although you can spread the word about your new website on social media, leaflets, and handouts etc, you will want people to find your website when they perform searches. Search Engine Optimisation is the umbrella term for considering a wide range of methods and techniques for optimising your website. Such examples include the use of keywords, URL construction, not using inline styles, making sure your website is mobile friendly and responsive, and ensuring that your website is accessible. Under the Disability Discrimination Act, you must ensure that visually impaired users are able to navigate your website and obtain the information that they require, in just the same way as a non visually impaired user.
- Security. Many Content Management Systems are incredibly popular, with WordPress currently accounting for 58.9% of all websites where the CMS is known. This is approximately 26% of the web using WordPress! This is fantastic news right? Yes, but this also makes WordPress (along with all other popular CMS’) an enormous target. From a hackers perspective, if they can find a vulnerability in WordPress that can be exploited, they are able to compromise millions of websites. Fortunately, there are lots of tools and configuration items available to improve security to keep the bad guys out of your website. This includes items such as reviewing file permissions, only using popular plugins that are regularly updated, and using very secure passwords (such as from strongpasswordgenerator.com). Also, do not use the username admin. Admin for a long time was the default username for any new WordPress installation. No prizes for guessing the username that is most commonly targeted for newbie hackers!
Websites are public facing, meaning that anyone can view your website. If a website has not been pieced together correctly, your security can be at risk. The website is after all, only as secure as the weakest link. A concerning trend at the moment is the level of knowledge required to own and manage a website at the moment is lower than ever. With so many guides, blog posts, and YouTube videos available which highlight how to install and configure a Content Management System, such as WordPress. Unfortunately, they do not often provide sufficient technical advice regarding how to tighten security on new websites.
That's fine, what else do I get?
In addition to a professional website design company having a firm understanding of all the above, you also get access to the knowledge and experience of the website designer. This sound very arrogant, but guess what? We know more about website design than you do. Whoops, we said it! Any website design company that has a wide portfolio understands what works well, and what doesn’t work so well. This means that we can offer advice, recommendations, tips and tricks. Call it what you will, we can give you all of the pointers that we’ve learned over the years to help make your website a success.
Your website is also your online representative, which represents both you individually and professionally. It is often easy to spot a website which has not been professional designed. To get the best results possible, hiring a professional in the industry makes sense. This applies to almost all areas in life.
Whilst great tools do exist for very basic website requirements, such as wix, weebly, and 123-Reg page builder for example, users are often unaware of the long term commitments. If you build a website using a page builder, you almost certainly do not own the source code. The source code is the geeky programming that happens in the background. This means that you are not able to migrate your website elsewhere, as the code does not belong to you, essentially you rent the website.
If a website design company develops a website for you, you own the rights to the source code, and are free to use this however you like. If you have a website developed for you, it will also look unique. It will not look the same as many websites which have been constructed using page builders.
If you choose CSM Web Design for your website design, you will also be able to ask us for advice and guidance. We’re a small business, and we firmly believe in helping and supporting fellow small businesses. We understand that helping one another to achieve success if paramount. We get just as much satisfaction from this as do when we get paid.
The decision regarding why to pay a website design company is a personal one, and only one that you can decide. If you have very basic website requirements, then you may be best placed using a page builder, as long as you understanding any limitations that are in place.
For small businesses that require a professional website, and demand a high level of service and a professional product, hiring a website designer is the way to go. If you have any questions or require advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.