Entrepreneurs are, by necessity, creative and resourceful. If there’s something that can be done in-house, entrepreneurs are usually ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and dive in.
Content management platforms run sleek advertising campaigns directed at this market, promising easy-to-use templates, built-in e-commerce solutions and plug-ins for contact management. Some projects, however, are best left to the pros, and website design is among them.
1. An eye for aesthetics does not translate to web design skill An interior decorator, graphic designer or wedding photographer may have a great eye for use of colour and composition, but those talents may not translate to user experience. A well-designed website will incorporate aesthetics with functionality, and professional website designers base their careers on predicting how visual cues direct user navigation through the site or, in the case of poorly-designed elements, to the “close window” button at the top right of their browser. Who is the target audience for the site? On which devices will they most likely experience your online presence? How will the answers to these questions affect the look and feel of your website? Most small business owners don’t know to ask these questions. Web development professionals have the solutions.
2. SEO: It’s a whole new ballgame The scope of the internet has exploded over the past two decades. One search engine holds more than 75% of the market share. In 2015, Google dramatically changed how its robots index websites, and since then search engine optimisation–the method of ensuring your site best matches your market’s search terms–requires far more than a few keywords, cleverly embedded code and the occasional thirty-second task of entering your URL into a form field and clicking “Submit your Site.” Contemporary professional website designers and developers stay up-to-speed on the fluid trends of search engine optimisation (SEO), ensuring their clients’ message is reaching their audience as indexing technology changes with demand. They also know how and when to incorporate your social media marketing strategies with your website design, saving valuable time online.
3. Don’t get plugged into the wrong plug-ins The most popular content management platforms suggest partner companies that offer plug-ins for your website that handle reservations, bookings, shopping carts, contact management and credit card processing. Are these the right vendors for your specific enterprise? How confident are you that the information exchanged on your platform is secure? Will your audience accept the user experience of these plug-ins, or will you lose business?
4. Content Management is Key Are you falling behind on your website’s blog posts? Unsure about where to obtain professional yet affordable images and illustrations? Whether or not you write your own copy, a professional developer can advise you on utilising keywords and language in your updates to best take advantage of SEO algorithms, and help you find and format images that suit your monthly budget while enhancing optimization. Website pros are also savvy with leading resources for written content and know what topics and keywords generate better rankings and inbound leads.
5. The Template Trap Popular content management systems offer out-of-the-box templates, promising easy DIY websites with a few quick button clicks. While these systems are appropriate for many enterprises, you may not realise that yours is incompatible. Often, small business owners outgrow these platforms shortly after their free trial runs out and they’ve committed to a year of slow servers or data caps, or to a system that isn’t compatible with industry-specific modules. While templates are certainly convenient, and in fact are used as a starting point by many professional designers, most require customisation to best suit your business needs. What may appeal to the entrepreneur may not be appropriate for the market, and DIY designers often admit to a lack of objectivity when selecting templates, fonts, and other elements.
6. Deciphering Analytic Reviews A professional developer will review your site at least every few months to ensure it is up-to-date with current optimisation requirements and is reaching your target market. Broken links, errors and host server issues all affect your site’s performance within contemporary ranking systems.
In addition, the personalised service of a website professional ensures your site is delivering your message and providing you with the return on investment you deserve. Your message is important to the success of your business.
Allow a professional developer to guide you in deciding how that message is presented online. Together, you can decide how hands-on you should be in managing the look, content, and user experience of your website.