Your company website is your first thing your clients see. It is the ultimate tool in your advertising article.
Get it wrong, if it doesn't look professional, feel or flow correctly, or doesn't have the necessary functionality, you tun the risk of driving your customers away.
What is the point of offering the greatest product, or the most amazing service, if you then couple it with a cheap, nasty website, or worse, using these 'free' web design online packages. Nothing, will drive clients away faster than the impression that you don't care.
Ok, so on the one hand, the offer sounds brilliant, you get a website up and running for the cost of a bottle of wine. Great!! But what are the hidden dangers, what are some of the items you are not getting, that a professional web development company would include as par for the course?
Generally, you have very limited support and back up with online services. You have to rely on your own abilities, and time to keep the website up to date, and God forbid you should actually hit an issue that you cannot fix yourself. You are left out in the cold.
A web development company, will provide you with multiple levels of support, multiple ways to contact and inform of issues or request help. At Llandric for instance, we provide you with a landline number, mobile number, skype address, email accounts, and facebook messaging. So no matter what, you can be assured of a fast response to any problem.
Traditionally, with an online web-based design package, you don't own the website or even worse, you have to use their domain. This makes it difficult to move the site at a later date and looks unprofessional.
3. Unique Designs
All the online services require you to choose from a strict set of predefined looks, and templates. Allowing you to upload a logo, and some graphics, but essentially keeping the look and feel as similar as possible to all the other websites they have. This destroys your companies uniqueness, and stops you from standing out from the crowd.
A professional web design company will custom build a website to suit your needs, colours and corporate structure.
4. Responsive layouts
Its a proven fact that almost 70% of all web traffic nowadays is done on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. If your website does not display in a manner that allows for these smaller resolution devices, you will drive your hard earn't visitors away to your competitors.
All websites need to be mobile friendly.
A professional web design company will ensure that your site looks amazing across all browsers and all devices. Meaning that your site will automatically resize itself to fit within the parameters of the device viewing it. Making it easy to use without needing to zoom in / out, pinch the screen, or deal with a convoluted menu system.
5. SEO (VERY IMPORTANT)
We have discussed in previous blogs, why your website is not now the number one website on Google. The launch of your website is only the start of your internet business, it is not the end by a long way.
Websites need to be built with search engines in mind. This means that you should avoid FLASH, avoid single page websites and optimise all content for your target market.
As well as optimising your website correctly, professional web design companies can offer you additional services such as Google ad campaigns, Facebook ads and more to help drive traffic to your new site.
6. All services under one roof
Why have a nice looking website, and then expect your company emails to function through free email providers such as Hotmail? Nothing screams 'I don't care' like a free email address. Especially if you already have a true domain, you should have the email addresses to support it.
New laws and legislations concerning protection of client data come in weekly. Ensuring your site remains compliant can be a nightmare and take considerable time. Your web development company should make sure your site is compliant throughout your contract with them. Taking the concern and stress out of your hands, leaving you to focus on what you do best. i.e. working for your company.
8. Future Proofing
You start with a basic static website, 6 months down the line, you realise that you need to be able to update it yourself, add images, change text. 6 months further and you need to be able to add extra functionality, such as e-commerce, directories, etc.
Do you want to be stuck with a costly redesign each time, having to relaunch your website with a new design just so you can add one little bit of functionality? Or would you rather be able to simply add on these features when they become warranted?
A quality development company will build your website in such a way, that it is future proofed. Allowing you to add additional features and benefits to your visitors.
If your website has been designed using out of date methods, it may prove difficult to make it mobile friendly or future proof.
9 CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT
It's not just the search engines that favour websites with well written content. It's your visitors. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, poor styling all help detract your visitors from your important message.
If your competitors look smarter, then they will get the business. It doesn't matter that your product or service is better, that you have higher reviews or better staff. If your website doesn't look the part, then you will lose your visitors.
10. Social Media
It's important to realise that in this modern age, social media is vital. You may think that Facebook is just for posting an update about how happy you are. But, it's far more than this. Used properly, social media can help leapfrog you above your competition.
A proper web development company can help you set up business Facebook pages, twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Google Plus and more. With a corporate theme running throughout to keep continuity and deliver the most professional approach to all your visitors.
11. Content Management
The original design and population of your new website is only the start of your online relationship. Regular updated content is king for search engines and your visitors.
It is vital that you have a comprehensive content management system in place to allow you to easily update your text and images. Many of these free online services do not provide proper management of the sites leaving you with no simple method of keeping your platforms up to date.
Additionally, you should be able to manage your content in as simple a way as possible, without having to learn and deal with web coding such as HTML.
In closing, if you are truly serious in setting up an online presence for your company, you NEED a truly serious web development company behind you. Backing you, advising you, supporting you, and helping you to ensure that your new venture is as successful as possible.
A successful website take time, patience, and hard work from you. But with the right support team behind you, you can minimise the stress involved, and maximise the potential for success.