Website Design Choices – Which is right for me?
Are you a business owner seeking to upgrade your website? If so, you've likely gained valuable experience from having a website already. As you explore options for an upgrade, it's important to find a solution that aligns with your specific needs and budget.
When it comes to budget constraints, you may be looking for a cost-effective solution. On the other hand, if your website generates significant income for your business, you may be seeking a more customised and tailor-made solution, with a realistic budget in mind. In this article, I will outline some basic choices available to you.
Today, there is a wide array of choices and providers, both local and online, catering to various budget levels. With over 20 years of experience at Virtualnet, we have observed that bespoke solutions are now more commonly utilised by medium and larger businesses, while smaller businesses tend to opt for other alternatives. At Virtualnet, our goal is to match the right solution to your requirements and budget, without endorsing any specific approach.
By considering your unique needs and available resources, we can help you find the perfect fit for your business.
There are providers available who offer "free" websites bundled with domain purchase or email solutions. These offerings primarily cater to start-up businesses or those operating with limited budgets, providing them with a basic online presence. However, it's important to consider some drawbacks associated with these websites.
Firstly, these solutions do not prioritise web marketing principles, resulting in limited visibility in search engine results. As a result, the only traffic you can expect on such websites is from individuals who directly access the site using the web address provided on your business card or letterhead. However, you do have the option to utilize Google AdWords to drive traffic to your site.
Another factor to consider is that these free websites typically come with drag-and-drop interfaces for adding logos and text. While this may be suitable for individuals who are not technologically inclined or have limited time, it may not offer the desired level of customization. Additionally, these websites often have a simplistic appearance and limited functionality.
Prominent providers like GoDaddy, Wix and 123 Reg offer these types of solutions.
Low Cost Websites – monthly rental
If you're seeking an economical option, the next tier of websites available for purchase are the online "ready to propagate" websites offered by providers like 1&1 Website and Moon Fruit, just to name a couple. These websites offer a quick solution, but they require you to propagate and customize the website engine to make it your own.
On a positive note, the administrative functionality provided by these platforms for building your own site using their fixed templates is user-friendly. However, one significant drawback is their performance in search engine rankings. It's rare to find these websites appearing in the top 10 results of a Google organic search. This is primarily because these sites are typically coded in a manner that is not search engine friendly.
For instance, Moonfruit utilises a "Flash Generator" that converts your content, including images and text, into Flash format, which cannot be properly indexed by Google's search crawlers. As a result, this negatively impacts the search engine optimisation (SEO) of the website.
The cost factor is appealing if you are a new business with a limited budget, as these solutions often involve a low-cost monthly rental. However, it's important to note that you won't actually own the site you build through these providers.
It's worth mentioning that we do not offer this particular solution. If you are specifically seeking this type of website, it's best to directly approach the providers mentioned above.
There are some sites online that you can purchase that are already designed and built. More, these sites are already responsive and will work on all web formats including desktop, tablet, and mobile; resizing to match each screen resolution. These websites are very economical to purchase and then require manipulation to match your branding and content. Often template designed websites can be easily bolted onto any Content Management System (CMS) such as Umbraco, WordPress or a Magenta admin system. We have found this solution becoming more and more popular a choice for our new clients. We are happy to explore this option with you. We can provide example designs based on your requirement and often propagation of content and text/images etc is a low time-consuming task and therefore lower cost than a bespoke solution. The benefit is also that in our manipulation of a pre-designed template, the “uniqueness” of code can be manipulated by us to get around any search engine issues. In other words, we can make these sites work in Google etc.
So if you’re an established business and already have experience of online and have a successful website with established functionality, maybe it’s an e-commerce solution or a site with a lot of administration, you will probably want a bespoke solution to cater to your requirement. In this case, you will want a bespoke design and a bespoke build. We have over 20 years experience here too and a whole host of clients who are still with us and look to us for regular updated solutions. These sites work best in organic search results due to their “uniqueness”.
- Free Website = FREE but beware
- Low cost Websites = often a low monthly rental from £10 a month – but beware
- Template Website = from £1500 to £5000 typically. The template itself will cost less than £50 but it’s the propagation and time spent by our team to get the site ready to go live where the cost lies.
- Bespoke Website = “how long is a piece of string?” but as a guide from £3,000 to £25,000 is typical for us.
Loads to choose from locally or online, “blowing our own trumpet” we would say we’ve been developing sites and maintaining them for clients for over 20 years and the team here is experienced. We like to think we have a good track record or we wouldn’t still be here right?
Contact us today to discuss your solution.