Is designing your own website better than hiring a pro? We look into all the pros and cons of both DIY and Pro design.
Back in the early years of the internet, if you wanted a website, you needed to recruit the pros to help you design one. However, as the internet has evolved, so has the way we develop and design websites. In recent years, companies like Wix and WordPress allow you to create a professional website, with custom URLs, for a mere fraction of a price that a web design agency would charge. They’ll even host your website for you on their secure servers. With a full range of custom templates, interchangeable colors and plug-ins available, is this the end of pro web design? Web design in Essex and London, and many other parts of the UK is still a lucrative business, but with more and more smaller businesses choosing to use custom website designs, we want to know are these sites actually any better than pro designs.
We’ve teamed up with web designers in Essex, Revive Digital, to find out what really is better for a business – Pro or DIY. Whilst you may think a web design company wouldn’t be impartial, that’s what we’re here for. We’ll outline the benefits of both and weigh up the cost-effectiveness for each side. You’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision about the future of your website. So, let’s get ready to rumble! In the blue corner, we have professional web design agencies. And in the red, it’s custom built, DIY websites. The ultimate battle. It’s Pro Design vs. DIY Design…
Before diving into the battle, we want to look at why these various customizable websites have taken over. 15 or so years ago, having a website was a luxury only the big businesses could afford. But over the years, the shift towards digital has seen every kind of business popping up with a website. If you haven’t got a website, some may find your business untrustworthy, so for even the smallest of businesses, being online is essential.
One of the big things that put off people from using a professional web design company is usually the cost. It’s no small expense and is a serious investment for even the largest of companies. It needs to be planned and thought over meticulously before decided.
But, for both large and small businesses, there is another investment to take into account, for both options. This is the investment of time. For a pro web designer, there’s the wait whilst they complete the designs and approval stages. As for the DIY sites, there is the time it takes to build a site with everything in place. Either way, you’ll be investing time. But, a pro website means that you won’t have to do any of the heavy work. So, your investment of time is only waiting.
Before we get into the good, the bad and the ugly of each option. We thought it only fair to present you with all the information behind each option. We’ll talk about exactly what the process is for a pro web designer, and for building a custom website too. You can find out what’s involved in each process below.
When it comes to creating a beautiful bespoke website, a web designer has a lot of work to do. Whilst custom built websites have some easy drag, drop, and design features, web designers have to put in all the legwork themselves. First of all, there’s the planning. Designing a website that’s both on brand and looks good. It needs to be on trend, and easy to navigate. For this, a web designer gets to know your business, inside and out. What your needs are and what kind of site they are building. If you’re an influencer blogger, you’ll need a blog-based website. But, if you’re an online florist, it’s an e-commerce site. See, it’s about making a site that works for your business and your customers. This will involve setting out what work needs to be done, whether the site can be built off an existing system or if it needs to be entirely new.
Before any of the design work begins, pro designers will probably set the limitations of the project. To outline what work needs to be done, how long it will take and therefore how much it will cost too. This stage helps to outline if your project is possible and if anything needs to be changed or adapted. They’ll outline a site map, to make sure that your site’s pages all link together in a comprehensible way. Next, it’s time to see some design mock-ups. Web design agencies will make sure you sign off everything at each stage, so there are no miscommunications about designs. Your designs will be formatted and built into a basic site, so it can be reviewed. And then, the web developers work their magic. All the functionality behind a site is worked on by developers in order to build a site that works. The HTML, CSS, and CMS are some examples of the work that goes into bespoke web development and design. If you’ve requested an e-commerce site, all the things like a shopping cart and checkout systems will be built in at this stage.
Finally, your website is tested on a private link, to make sure that it’s functional and works well. Whether it’s been built on an existing system of from the ground-up, it’s got to work with the design that’s been put in place. Plus, to see if its compatible with all browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc.) and other devices such as tablet and mobile. Once approved, your site will be launched and is ready for use. However, the work won’t stop there. See, most agencies will include a hosting fee, that you pay (as standard) so your website can work. Some agencies will include maintenance work in their prices, so your site stays up to scratch. A website can’t be left to its own devices, it needs work to make sure it stays functional.
Now, it’s time to talk about DIY design. The only way to build a website without any prior knowledge and from the comfort of your own home. Many sites like WordPress and Wix, offer professional website design at affordable prices. We’ll look into how the process actually works for custom built sites. Whilst some of the stages are similar to this, it’s a lot less technical. One the most basic of plans, you can create a site for free. But when you want to look into a custom domain name or installing plug-ins, your site needs a little more investment than the ‘free’ package can offer. So, as for the planning stage, you’ll be doing the same as a web design company would, but on your own. That means competitor research, brand planning, and market research – everything a web design company offer as part of their package. Usually, there’d be around 4-5 people working on your site. Using specialist analytical tools to get all the information they need on competitors and the target market for your site. But, you can do it alone, without all the tools. You’ll just have to use your wits instead.
Now, you’ll have to pick your own design, which is fairly easy. See, combining your research with the branding of your site should advise you on the kind of template to pick. Luckily, all the templates are fully customizable, so you can input images and customize colors and fonts too. Finally, you can add more features like background videos, scrolling functions and a lot more, to give your site a unique look and feel. This can take hours on end, so try not to get lost in the moment and tweak your design for days and days. Remember, you can always return to it later on – most of these sites are fully customizable. Always design with your user in mind, make their navigation easy and all your content readable.
The next stage is a little trickier, as it’s where technical aspects come into play. You’ll need a basic understanding of SEO and how content and sites are crawled by search engine robots. If we’re slowly losing you, then do a little research… You’ll need to do some basic keywords research and optimize all your text for search engines. The background of your site, the stuff that users won’t see, is the Meta Tags and Alt text too. This is text and data that search engine robots see and allows them to collect data about your site, to return to a user’s relevant search query. And finally, the links. Make sure there are clear links in your text around your site, to help robots navigate them with ease – plus links to your social profiles too. You’ll need to add in plug-ins and other tools to make your site professional and easy for visitors to understand. Also, you’ll need to make sure your site works on mobile too. Most have compatibility built in, so your site works on most platforms. Then your site is ready to go!
Pros and Cons
Pros of DIY – To start, they’re a lot cheaper. If you’ve got a smaller budget available for your site, customizable DIY sites are great for making a professional looking and fairly functional site. These sites are becoming more and more powerful, so they are nothing to be sniffed at. Just make sure you customize your URL for a professional look.
Pros of Pro – You’ll be getting the industry standard work, with all the knowledge to back it up too. Most design agencies have had years of experience, so can build a great site. They’ll be able to work on e-commerce sites which are a lot harder to build on your own. You’ll also be able to contact them with any issues or problems, and you’ll know who you’re dealing with. They’ll have all the tools ready to analyze and optimize your site too.
Cons of DIY – Whilst you can customize, the themes available are not as unique as having a bespoke design. Plus, if you’re a small business owner, your most valuable asset is your time. You’ll be putting in hours and hours of work into this site. If your business expands, and you move to a different web hosting company, these sites are difficult to export. The more functions you want for your site, the more you’ll have to pay. Plug-ins and extras cost some serious £ (you may not be saving a lot after all).
Cons of Pro – The big kick is the cost. Professional websites just cost more in general. And the amount of work required for your site can push the price up. Also, you won’t have full customizable control. Adding in texts or images will be left down to the web design agency (which again, may cost).
So, it looks like a draw! Both sites have their advantages and disadvantages, but it depends on your circumstances as to which service you use. If your focus is on creating a simple website, for a fair price – DIY is for you. Bloggers or photographers can use these sites to easily create online portfolios. However, if you’re in the business game and SEO is the aim – Pro is the way to go. You’ll be able to have all the research carried out for you as well as building in functional plug-ins, set at the price of the website. E-commerce and technical sites are more challenging to create on the DIY platforms. But it largely depends on your budget and the time you have to spare. The nature of your business factors into it as well.
About The Author:
Hugh Sallows is a Content Marketing Executive, at Revive.Digital. Writing content for magazines, blogs, and websites, Hugh has an extensive history of writing.
As much sit may seem simple and easy, working in a team is not an easy ride. From juggling multiple tedious tasks and attending weekly meetings to maintaining good communication with clients and working within deadlines, there are a plethora of things team workers need to do on daily basis. If you want your team to maximize their potential and become a part of a healthy working atmosphere, you need to create conditions that will stimulate their creative process and help them complete their projects with flying colors. Job satisfaction is the pillar of any business success and shouldn’t, therefore, be neglected. That’s why it’s really important to think about your employees’ well-being and come up with a constructive solution on how to improve their satisfaction at work.
Take a look at a few tips on how to leverage your team’s job satisfaction and create an atmosphere where your team will be able to thrive.
Involve your team workers into projects
Your business is one big project where your team workers contribute by delivering inspiring ideas and exchanging invaluable information. Besides belonging to one of many types of teams, having their own roles and responsibilities your team should be involved in a variety of projects which would help them feel at ease within their workplace. If you have a blog, invite your web designers to write articles and share their thoughts and experiences. This will boost your team’s spirit, use web development project management skills to develop a real team culture and help them gain new competencies. Also, if you have a project which requires more people, invite your team members to join, and participate in the decision-making process. This will help them feel an integral part of the team culture.
One of the prerequisites of a vibrant team culture is good communication between team members. Miscommunication and misunderstanding can cause conflicts and therefore have a detrimental effect on the entire project development. To avoid such a scenario, it’s essential to keep a good communication flow where all the team members will be regularly updated about any alterations to the project and other important data.
While face-to-face communication still remains the most effective means of communication, sometimes it’s difficult to be physically present and exchange information in person. In such cases, choosing the right web design project management software or collaboration tool is imperative. Not only will it help you keep the entire team in the loop, but it will also make the entire communication much easier and straightforward.
No matter whether you are running a small business or a big corporation, it’s of great significance to practice open communication and nurture honesty and trust among your employees. Since your team workers have to face a number of hurdles and find a meaningful solution how to overcome them, they may sometimes become so preoccupied with all the duties that they forget how important it is to give feedback.
Give your employees an opportunity to express their views and talk about the obstacles they have to tackle as well as the aspects they enjoy about their job. Have weekly follow-ups where you will have a dialogue and discuss any heating issues. This will not only bring you awareness about your employees’ level of job satisfaction but it will help you find the way how to improve it. Good feedback should be defined by using three criteria: promptness, frequency, and precision.
Socialization is an important part of any successful teamwork especially if you are working with a remote team. Regular interaction with others will help you build trust with other employees and develop a happy working atmosphere. Therefore, promote ways on how to build and maintain social connections at work. Organize celebrations during birthdays and holidays and encourage your employees to have lunch together at least on a monthly basis. Ensure that socialization happens outside the office as well. Organize team building events or volunteer programs where your employees will be able to show how supportive they are how dedicated they are to building a team spirit.
Reward your employees
If you notice that your employees are focusing their efforts on delivering the best possible results and that they are investing a lot of time and energy into it, reward them. By praising their work, you will motivate them even more and encourage them to become proficient at what they are doing. There are hundreds of ways you can do this such as sending a thank-you note or praising your employees publicly. You can also have an after-work get together in a local cafe or a restaurant or order bagels or doughnuts for the office. In this way, you will foster team productivity and stimulate others to follow the same road.
By creating a happy working environment you will boost your team’s morale and stimulate your team to become more loyal and more dedicated to their job and the working community they belong to.
About The Author:
Rachel is currently working as the vice president of communications at Active Collab. After finishing her master’s degree in Communications she pursued a career in the digital industry, most notably in marketing and public relations.
In today’s ever-changing landscape, your website is your most powerful tool and more influential than ever before. It can easily become the centerpiece of all your efforts and your most powerful asset in the process of making your presence stronger. The rapidly changing technology can actually make your website seem outdated so it is very important to keep up with the latest trends. Here is a list of 10 simple tricks to make your website more stylish and give it a creative design:
Using White Space
On a number of occasions, the clients have complained about too much space on their website. They prefer to use this space for advertising or other services so that the users can find more stuff on their website. On the contrary, white space is actually essential for the good design of a website. This white space helps in making your content more legible and lets them focus on the elements surrounding the text. This space actually increases the user attention and lets them feel open and refreshed while viewing your website.
Choose a Responsive Design
The fun fact is that 31% of traffic coming to the top 10 websites in the world is through mobile devices. So, if the design of your website is not flexible and responsive enough, you’ll be losing some serious real-time visitors. With the passage of time, this number will increase in magnitude and if your website is not mobile compatible, you are going to face some serious tough time in getting the visitors to it. Having a responsive design means that, your website will adapt to any kind of screen or device.
Keep Navigation Simple
All the consumers who are visiting your website should be able to get on any page within two seconds. It is very important for such users to find everything on the website easily otherwise, they will lose their interest soon enough. There are several options on the web and if you will give the people a chance to resort to other options, they will make full make use of it. You need to make a very user-friendly interface to gain the credibility of the people and stick the less important tabs in sub-menu.
Stay Accessible for the Viewers
There are times when it is unbelievably difficult to get in touch with the owner of the website and to present all the concerns to him. You must not be such a person and make it a point to stay available for all the users. Provide the contact information on every page of the website or keep it in the form of a side menu. You can even think of having it in the footer of the page because if you are making it difficult for the people to get in touch, you are losing a whopping 95% of your leads.
Rely on Attractive Calls to Action
When your customer comes to your website, they already have their requirements and needs in their mind. Through a call to action, you are simply enabling your users to easily navigate through the website and get to the page they want to. Another thing to keep in mind is to use verbs as buttons and to use such a word which must ignite the action in the users. The right psychologically triggering words can make the users perform the certain action with ease.
Prioritize the Key Pages
It is essential to keep a website that prioritizes the web pages and presents the most important ones to the users with ease. The most important information must be readily available to all the users like how to contact or the available hours of the staff. This will help them in reaching the owners of the website conveniently.
Keep the Best Color Page for Conversion
It is the color which has far more ability than the context to affect conversions. This phenomenon is supported by the Von Restorff effect. In simple words, this means that whatever stands out in the crowd has the ability to get noticed as compared to the one which blends in. So, you must go with such a color that can outperform others in terms of grabbing the attention of the users.
Rely on Concise Messaging
As compared to a printed document, the level of attention while reading the text on the website is different. You need to get to the point rather quickly while online as nothing else can draw the customer off more than long meaningless texts. Do not make the customers figure out the things themselves because nothing else can turn them off more than this.
Fix All the Issues
There can be issues in the grammar or spellings of the text or even some browser specific issues with the website. Imagine a situation where the users are unable to click the call to action on the website or there is some major spelling error in the main tab of the website. Such issues can ruin your reputation and draw away the customer for good. Make sure that there is nothing wrong with the appearance of the website so that it is easy to use and looks attractive at the same time.
Use Powerful, Large, and Concise Headlines
Headlines are the most viewed item on a page and they attract more attention than the images. This is because the users want to know what’s on the page for them and with the help of bold yet concise headlines; they can get all the necessary information upfront. This design can be commonly seen on the homepages of many companies.
If you want to creatively design a website that is stylish enough to be on par with the biggest competitors in the market, you need to follow these simple guidelines. Through a strong website, you’ll be able to have a meaningful presence in front of all your potential customers and users.
About The Author:
This article has been written by Clinton Loomis, Currently works at courseworkclub.co.uk, he is a Career Counselor, a Teacher and a Writer who writes on different topics related to web development, technology, education and social media marketing.
We all work very hard to cater the best possible design and user experience for the website’s client centric views. What about the administration panel?
There is very less importance given to the admin panels. If you exclude the CMS frameworks like WordPress which has a decent administration view out of the box then you may not find anything interesting with admin panel on the majority of the websites.
We all know that the engagement, conversion, and money will be flowing through the client-centric website design.
And we know that the admin panels are going to be used by either the sole website owner or the in-house I.T team.
Apparently, there is no meaning investing much of the resources on the administration panel which going to be used by you or your employee right?
Well, that’s not really the case. I have two things to say here. One a better administration design would help you improve the workflow if it is going to be used by you or your team.
The second point, there are certain applications which have sole administrative purpose only with the specific set of users and roles.
In such cases, these templates help you save much of your designing time and help you concentrate on your programming part.
Being responsive in nature these templates work seamlessly on the majority of the mobile devices. And it helps you save the effort and cost of native mobile app development.
No matter which web programming language you are going to use or what web server infrastructure you will have. It will work just fine in all the cases.
One more thing is that there are many admin templates that look good with provided demo data. But they look all different when you remove some elements and add your own data to it.
I have tried my best to pick those free admin templates which would still look good even after you add/delete some UI element and add your custom data on it.
So let’s start exploring our top five bootstraps based admin template now.
This is the MIT license based open source and GitHub hosted the project that you can use freely. You can even add your own changes to make it more customized based on your requirement.
This is Bootstrap 3 based responsive admin template. The template uses some of the third party jQuery plugins and tools to make a powerful admin template.
What you see here with the template is what you actually get. The template contains many libraries like charts, maps, wizard, calendar, date range, upload control, weather, and much more.
If you are interested knowing more about this project or you would like to contribute your efforts for this template. Consider visiting the gentle Lela’s GitHub project.
This free open source template is for your if you are looking for minimal, animated, material design and bootstrap 3 based admin template.
The template comes with two distinct version of the dashboard to choose from. You can also customize it to fit your needs.
Almost all the templates you get the wide variety of animation with this template out of the box. It is very useful if you are making a flat and funky looking admin panel. You can always disable that animation if doesn’t like them.
Like every other template, you get all the standard UI elements like calendar, charts, badges, forms, input boxes, the set of animated radio and checkboxes and much more.
You can fork the repository and create something new out of it. If you prefer adding something valuable to this template you can contribute the original GitHub repository.
If you haven’t concentrated much on the admin design template or you don’t want to invest your efforts on admin template. Here are the five best free hand picked admin templates you can use right now. All the templates are open source and hosted on Github.
If you thought 2013 was a busy year for online marketing trends, think again. 2014 will see a number of new internet marketing trends and tactics, designed to help attract a new customer base, turn leads into conversions and sales, and maximize profit, boosting business in the process. Here are some of the best internet marketing trends and tactics for 2014 that you should be taking advantage of.
Mobile platforms will become even MORE popular
A new study suggests that 87% of all connected devices sold by 2017 will be mobile tablets and smartphones. The mobile market is booming, and business owners should take advantage of this powerful marketing platform more than ever. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you do in 2014, as more and more companies are developing apps for mobile devices and making their websites accessible on smartphones. You will be able to keep your customers informed when they are away from home, leading to more sales and conversions. Consider configuring your marketing budget to spend more money on mobile development. What’s more, Google has recently announced a new project called Enhanced Adwords, which can help companies increase their cost-per-clicks by as much as 30%.
Incorporate more visual content into your website or blog
The age-old adage A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words may sound like a cliche but it couldn’t ring more true. In 2014, platforms will become increasingly visual – even more so than in 2013. A study suggests that visual content can retain customers much more when compared with text-only content. So, consider spicing up boring black text with images, graphics and videos – a sure-fire winner when attracting new customers and getting them to stick around. Consider posting more visual content on not only your blogs and websites, but your social media accounts as well. Be creative. Think about a Photo of the Day or Name This Picture caption competition which could increase customer engagement, and boost the number of likes, shares and comments on your posts. Use bright and vibrant photos that will attract attention and draw the eye of your visitor onto the product or service that you are trying to promote.
Responding to current developments and global events
One of the most popular marketing trends of 2013 was incorporating global events and news stories into your blog posts and social network posts. If you have a small business and are looking for fresh new content ideas, how about responding to a current news story that pertains to your line of business? For example, if you own a gym, post content that is related to the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, or the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in the Summer. You could post tips on how to get fit when playing winter sports or soccer and incorporate this into your blog content. Always remember to follow your articles with a call-to-action, and encourage readers to sign up to a service or purchase promotional items. This trend will become increasingly popular in 2014 and business owners strive to create fresh and original content for SEO purposes in the hope that their website or blog will rank higher on Google’s search results.
Useful information for this article has been kindly provided by Promo Planet.
We love to create awesome websites for small businesses! It is our passion and goal to help as much as possible people with a beautiful online presentation that represents who they are and what they stand for.