When considering the online presence of your company, it is important to put your best foot forward. Nearly everyone that will do business with you will research you first online. How important is it that you look professional and trustworthy? What would a poorly designed/non-modern website say about your business?
In the web design community there are typically 2 forms of sites to build, a custom design, which is built from scratch and can become anything and everything that you have envisioned or a template design. A template is basically a pre-constructed website where your information, pictures and content are plugged in. Templates are typically limited in one form or another. If major changes occur with your business down the road, you may need to purchase another one and start over. Think of a custom site as a custom home with acres of land around it. If you wanted to put in additional square footage, you can. A template would be similar to a track home on a small lot. You can redecorate all you want but you are forced to work within your confines.
Security is another major issue that needs to be addressed. Some of the largest and most popular sites in the world have been hacked by highly motivated no-gooders. If you plan to conduct business through your site, it is of the utmost importance that you put additional security in place. Template websites tend to be much more vulnerable to attack simply because you may own a site design that 1,000 other people own as well. This greatly increases your surface area of vulnerability. If they can hack one, they most likely know how to access all 1,000. A custom site is exactly the opposite. It should be built from scratch and unique in design. This greatly lowers you vulnerability to cyber crime. Even a great custom site can be vulnerable; it is always a good idea to have additional security measures in place. This is especially important in websites where E-commerce is conducted and personal information is collected from your customers.
Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself about your company when shopping for the right website –
What are my long-term goals? Many people settle for a basic template design in the beginning because it is usually much cheaper. They see their website as just an online business card or a landing page for information. If your goals include expanding, adding products, additional functions, taking payments and being able to make adjustments for the future, a custom site is the way to go.
How important is my online image? In this business, image is everything! Most people will not give you a second look if your website is bad. In fact, having a bad website in some cases is even worse than not having one at all. Hiring a design firm to properly portray your company is now more important than ever. A beautiful, interactive website will greatly reduce your bounce rate.
What is a bounce rate? Google’s definition of bounce rate is ,”the percentage of single page view visits to a website”. Basically people that visited your page and then bounced immediately. A bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent. 41 to 55 percent is roughly average, and 56 to 70 percent is higher than average, but may not be cause for concern depending on the website. Anything over 70 percent is disappointing. A good custom site will give you access to Google Analytics where you can keep tabs on your bounce rate and know areas where you need to improve.
How do I improve my bounce rate? Improving your bounce rate can be simple. A site that is aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate and informative will encourage people to stay. Especially if you were highly visible and easy to find online.
Do I need SEO? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is nearly the key to every success online. If a potential client can’t find you, the rest doesn’t matter. Google has around 25 different sets of criteria that need to be met in order for your site to be considered optimized for their search engine. While many factors play into SEO, onsite optimization is key. A custom site is more SEO friendly and since it has room for additions down the road, you can continue to grow your relevance exponentially in the future.
How important is mobile / tablet optimization? Extremely! Almost 50% of all searches are now conducted via mobile. A good design team will mobile optimize your site. This will allow your viewers to look at a clean and responsive version of your site on their mobile devices. No more pinching and panning around trying to click tiny links and accidentally selecting the wrong option. Even if you settle for a template design, make sure the template you buy is responsive.
We wish you the best of luck in your search for the right website for your business!
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden