Regardless of what type of business you operate your goal is to do everything to attract new customers and retain the loyal ones you have already earned. An increasingly critical part of your marketing strategy is to have a professional looking website, but how do you do that?
Sure, companies like Coca-Cola and GM can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their websites, but you can’t so here’s your choices.
Hire a website design company
They’ll build you a custom designed site from scratch and you can have anything you want. Great, but it could also cost you thousands of dollars, upwards of twenty thousand dollars! Probably not very affordable, right?
Another problem with hiring a designer is that they will often write your website in the kind of code they are familiar with, quite possibly making it impossible for any other design firm to edit your site. It’s also a bad practice that many developers will keep the code from you. Legally they do own the code they create so you can’t force them to release it to you. Should the developer move away or otherwise become unavailable to you, well, you’re stuck. Even if they are still around you will quickly learn just how expensive it will be to make changes, especially if they gave you a very good deal at the start.
Use a “free” design template
There are literally thousands of “free” website designs out there, but, as they say, what you get for “free” is what it’s worth. Most websites that market this type of site are only in it for the “pro” version you will quickly realize you need. Not only that but many of these “free” designs are riddled with issues and you will rarely, if ever, get any support, unless you buy the “pro” version, of course. These “free” templates could be better described as “teasers”.
Even if you find a design you like, be honest. Do you have the time or the technical skills to edit the site to make it your own? You probably don’t so that means you will end up with a cookie-cutter site that looks just like thousands of other sites. Even if you might have the time, which as a small business owner you most likely don’t, are you prepared to spend days learning about HTML5 code, CSS, SEO, plugins and a million other things? Highly doubtful.
Purchase a professionally designed template
Again, there are literally thousands of well designed and functional templates available, some better than others. Some marketing companies, such as Template Monster, have everything from soup to nuts for every business, but our years of experience with this company in particular has shown that many of the designs they market are problematic. Numerous technical issues and zero support.
Other more reputable companies, such as Envato, check out the website templates and their support before they will add them to their stable. In our years of experience buying themes we have never had a single technical issue on which we didn’t get support and any presale questions we have are answered quickly.
If you know anything about coding many of the themes available would cost upwards of twenty thousand dollars to design, but the developers count on selling their designs to thousands of clients to get a return on their investment. That only works for them if their designs are great.
Years ago, when there weren’t thousands of themes available, the costs were very high, usually as much as two hundred dollars or more. Now with all the competition the prices have come down substantially and you can get a very well designed website of multiple pages for thirty or forty dollars, usually with good support.