Let’s start off by stating the obvious: every business requires a website. Gone are the days when getting a website was such a huge undertaking, making it reserved for big businesses and corporations. The ease of getting your website up and running makes all the upsides no-brainers. What are some of these upsides, you ask? Well:
- Digital Presence: With most people doing their shopping online, not having a proper digital presence is detrimental to your business. If people cannot find you online, it is the same as not existing at all.
- Credibility: Having a beautiful, professional website gives credibility to your business. The first impression is key.
- Brand Identity: A website is a great way to communicate and reinforce your brand to would-be and existing clients.
- Digital Marketing: Digital marketing is powerful. With the ability to reach your target audience at your disposal, having a website to direct your leads to is necessary.
- Web Traffic: Marketing aside, having a SEO-optimized website helps your business rank higher when potential clients are searching for goods and services you offer, bringing in that sweet, organic traffic.
- Customer Service: You can easily integrate tools like chatbots to assist you in providing great customer support to your online clients. Who doesn’t like good customer service?
- Effective, Efficient Communication: Your website is your way of communicating with your clients – all day, every day. Any updates, offers, discounts, etc, can easily be communicated to millions of people – whenever, wherever.
A website is a key part of the growth of any modern business. With that quite emphatically established, the next logical question is: How do I get a website for my business?
Creating a Website
Assuming you’re not some web development or design guru, there are two ways to get a website. You could either:
- Hire a web design agency, or
- Use a website builder.
We take a look at each option, the pros and cons, and give you the best option based on the information on each.
Hiring a Web Design Agency
For many years, hiring a professional was the way to go. Simply put, a web design agency is a team of professionals that is involved in the website creation process. It includes graphic designers, web designers, and web developers. A web design agency works with you to get a vision for your desired website, and then creates a site based on your specifications. Constant communication is therefore part of the process.
An agency provides revisions, redesigns, and other maintenance options – at a cost of course. While having a site built from scratch can make it unique to you, it also leaves quite the unique dent in your wallet.
Choosing a Web Design Agency
There are considerations you need to make if a web design agency is your preferred method.
- You need to have very clear and concise requirements, specifications, and goals. Not having this increases the chances of having a website that is different from your expectations. Very little should be left up for interpretation.
- You should review the portfolio of any agency you want to work with to see if they can pull off what you might want for your business.
- It is always good practice to go through reviews, comments, or contact any reference clients.
Web Development vs Web Design
Fun fact: These are two completely different roles, even though one person might be able to do both. A web designer is responsible for the look and feel of a website. A developer is responsible for the actual functionality of the website. One makes it look great while the other makes sure it’s not just a pretty face – that it actually works and does what it’s supposed to. Clear? Great.
Hiring an Agency vs. Hiring a Freelancer
While an agency is a team or company that you hire, a freelancer is more often than not an individual. With both, the kind of people you get to work with will determine the outcome of your website and overall experience. However, the risk of disappointment is much higher with a freelancer. On the other hand, an agency is significantly more expensive.
Pros and Cons of Hiring Professionals
- A custom, professional website: Having a site built from scratch gives you unlimited possibilities for what you can achieve. Every little thing can be tweaked to your desires. The result can be magnificent.
- Price: With all the effort involved, it is a huge financial undertaking. The budget for hiring professionals for a small business site is anything from $2,000 to $10,000. It is far from suitable for a small business.
- Time constraints: Depending on how soon you want the site up and running, this method can take quite some time.
- Risk of undesired outcome: If the communication is not clear and regular, the site you get might be very disappointing.
Using a Website Builder
This is the DIY option. That alone may already be enough to convince you.
Website builders are great ambassadors for technological advancements. A once daunting task can now be done by anyone in a matter of minutes.
What is a Website Builder?
It is a platform (or tool) that lets you create your website using existing templates. There is no technical knowledge necessary when using website builders. From the numerous available templates, you can then customize the one closest to your desired website to make it truly yours.
There are many builders available online, each with different customizations levels and options, and some extras to set them apart from the competition.
Some of the best website builders include:
There are online and offline web builders. Offline builders allow you to download the tools you need to build locally on your computer. Online builders use an editor accessed through your preferred browser. When all is done and you are happy with the design of your website, all the files are then uploaded to a web host and published. Web hosting is a service that lets you store and maintain website files online. Publishing means that the website is now available for access online.
Some web builders combine the building and hosting services as a package, making it even more convenient and efficient. For a small monthly fee, you can build, design, buy a domain, host, and publish your website – all in a matter of minutes.
What to Look for in a Good Website Builder
- Cost: Some builders are more cost-effective than others. With your needs in mind, make sure that you are getting value for money for whatever plan best suits the needs of your business.
- Available Templates: The more templates there are, the better. Do not go for a builder with limited options.
- Customization Options: The level of customization available for a particular builder will determine how unique your website can be.
- User-Friendliness: Even though no technical knowledge is required when using website builders, it still has to be usable – even for a complete beginner.
- Package Deals: Some builders will bundle in better bandwidth, free domains, etc. Make use of such deals.
- Up Time: It is one thing to promise 99.9% uptime and another to maintain it.
- Tech Support: Choose a builder with 24/7 tech support. You never know when you’ll need it.
Why Website Builders are Great for Small Businesses
Why should you use a website builder? For a small business, there is a lot to like about using web builders:
- No Creative/ Design knowledge is necessary: Even if you’re not the best at coming up with design ideas, web builders enable you to come up with beautiful websites for your business.
- No technical knowledge is necessary: Web builders boast of user-friendliness that allows absolute beginners to produce professional sites within minutes.
- Cost-Effective: When compared to hiring professionals, the cost difference is staggering.
With as little as $5 a month, your small business can have that all-important online presence in no time. Oh, that’s with free hosting and a custom domain!
- Self-Reliance: There’s nothing as frustrating as needing something done urgently and not being able to do it yourself. With the ease of using web builders, you get to rely on yourself if you need anything done. No frantic calls at odd hours in the night!
- Short Turn-Around Time: Hiring professionals means that it may be weeks or even months before your website goes live. With web builders, it is only a few minutes from start to publish!
- Easy Modification and Maintenance: You get even better the more you interact with a web builder. This means that you can constantly improve and customize your website as often as you want, exactly how you want.
- Apps and Plugins: Web builders come with apps and plugins that add a lot of functionality to your website. Remember, you do not have to write a single line of code.
- Customer Care: Stuck? Call customer care (for free!)
The Simplicity of Website Builders
- Decide on the website builder to go with
- Pick the package/ plan that suits your budget
- Pick a great domain name for your business
- Go with your favourite template
- Customize the template to your heart’s (and business’ desire)
- Add that personal touch
Is Wix any good?
Wix Website Builder Review When you’re starting a business or beginning a new hobby, you’ll often want to have an…
Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.