How much to you invest into a website? It really depends on your budget, the kind of look & feel you want, and how close together can you get them to match.
Every single potential customer wants the best website for their money.
Today we discuss web designers vs free online and cookie cutter builder websites.
Design standards keep changing. Not just for the aesthetics, but more important, for the search engines. Google has set the standard for MOBILE FIRST! It’s a done deal! If your site is not following their standards, you will be penalized in the search engines.
With companies that offer free or pay very little for a, “do it yourself” website, will they stay on top of the newest requirements? Will they be slow to make the changes because of the cookie cutter approach?
The huge advantage with using a web designer, a good web designer, is they will stay on top of ALL of the changes being proposed, the betas, and the actual changes that go into place. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ are great places for a good web designer to show you what is coming down the road, and what to prepare for.
The old days (like 5 years ago) one could build a website, set up the Search Engine Optimization and be done with it for quite some time.
That is no longer the case. 5 years ago mobile was something you thought about building for, but didn’t always spend the extra money to get it done. It is actually cheaper to build for mobile now than ever. It costs more to build outside the mold as you get hurt in search engine rankings, you get hurt in how it displays. Think about it, do you stick around and look through a website where you need to use your fingers to see just part of it?
With cookie cutter companies, how do you know what standard they are following? How do you know what search engine algorithm their tens of 1000’s of sites are set to? Have they ever told you that they made changes and to what standard is being used, or did they just say, “NEW AND IMPROVED”? Even with their services being improved, do they instruct you on how to make updates to your site and what the exact changes to specific pages that are needed?
Cookie cutter is just that. You may save money in the short term by going with a cookie cutter website builder. If no one can find you because, “NEW AND IMPROVED” is just a tagline to make you feel like you made the right choice, it will cost you even more to redo the site. You will also be further behind because you waited to find out you made a mistake.
Good enough really isn’t. Even though you may feel the cookie cutter builder and SEO looks great, you still don’t know what standards they are using, what standards are needed, and you are just throwing money down the drain.
Free is great. Low cost builders seem practical. How long do you go with practicality before you realize you lost a lot of business because people can’t find you, or your site looks “ok”, just not great.
A web designer is going to charge you more. There is no mistake about that. Your web designer is also going to keep you on top of things, will update your themes, plugins, hosting options to meet your needs. They will also give you one hell of a website.
For small to medium websites, the costs should be between $1500-$3000, depending on if this is an informational site or one that sells a few products. Less for the tiny sites.
You also need to check out your designer before you hire them. Look at their portfolios. Do they list a couple of sites that look nice, or do they list a wide variety of sites that showcase many styles, many different aptitudes?
That is the MINIMUM amount of web design companies you should look at. Pricing, their work, examples of their SEO in action are all important at setting your mind at ease that this is the company you should use.
The cheapest web designer does not mean the best for you. The most expensive as well, because some start with a minimum of $5000-$10,000. See if they are into social media, see if they have a blog that shows they are talking about the latest technologies, and do they have examples of work that they are trying to get you to buy in on?
Building a website is an investment. It is going to be the first entry into getting potential new customers to give you a call or buy your products and services. Do you leave it to the cookie cutter companies or to a professional?
It is a decision to make, and one you really need to look into. I can’t stress this enough, good enough is not going to cut it. Know the standards and how you will get your site brought up to them and maintained.
Cookie cutter approaches are not going to help you because you do not know what standards they are set to. Your web designer will set the standards based on the latest releases.
FROM SEPTEMBER 2017
There are many advantages to both. Lets look at free websites first.
- They’re free. Who doesn’t like free?
- You can make your own updates when you want.
- They will do your search engine optimization.
- Many of these places have a only a few good designs to choose from. The same designs everyone else is choosing.
- They do a basic search engine optimization for you. Getting an online presence today requires more than a few keywords. Everything has to be built into the site from the ground up.
- If you end up not liking the service, you end up losing. You can’t take your website with you. You will have to start over from scratch.
There is never an all-in-one solution to fits everyone’s own style, ones creativeness, how much technology you need. With a free site you get what you pay for.
If you’re just starting out, how you look, how you rank in the search engines becomes a very important part of your business plan. Without the proper presence, you could start further behind and still need to build your own site that you can take to any server.
In the end it makes much more sense to get a business presence from skilled web designers who have been in the field for many a year. You know you will be careful with setting up your new business, or updating your established one. Take full advantage of what is out there to fit your needs, and to drive customers to your site because they can find you, with a layout that is where you want it to be, not something you settled for.
But what are the costs of going with a web designer?
This varies quite a bit. There are some firms who will not want to take on a project for less than $10,000. There are firms who will give you the best price to build your site. How do you choose?
Look at their own sites. How do they look when you are going through them? How do their portfolio’s stack up visually? Do they give a lot of portfolio examples or just a few? These will help determine if you should even entertain the idea of calling them.
How big of a site, how many photos, what kinds of technology needs to be built into the site are major factors. You may want it all, but your budget may say you need to start smaller. With a WordPress site you can build what is needed into as your business needs grow.
Lastly, and one of the most important things, if you don’t like a web hosting company at some point down the road, you can take your current site and move it to any other hosting company.