Top 5 Tips About Web Design for Small Businesses

Web Design for Small businesses

If you are looking for web design for your small business there are some things you must know before getting started. I started out intending to right a short blog with some quick tips.  As I got into writing it I realized there was a lot to share if I wanted to really cover the topic right, so I decided to split it into five blog posts.  Over the next few weeks we are going to cover topics such as selecting your website platform, do-it-yourself web design vs. hiring a professional, the WordPress CMS, website pricing and budgets, what to look for in your web design company, and much more.  I am breaking the information out into the 5 main topics that I think will make the biggest impact on your web design experience.  I am looking forward to sharing with you, so lets get started with the first tip.

Tip #1: Choose the right website platform

There are many different ways to build a website.  Some web designers prefer to hand code everything.  Others use content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.  Occasionally you come across web design companies that use their own proprietary web design system.  So does it matter how they build your website?  We believe it does.

The dangers of proprietary web design systems

Some web design companies create their own proprietary website platforms that they use to build all of their websites.  Out of all the website options I believe proprietary systems are the worst choice for web design for a couple of reasons.  When your website is built with a proprietary website platform you will be stuck with that web company for the life of that website.  They own the core system your website is built on which means if you decide to leave them down the road you won’t be able to take the website with you.  You are basically committing to that web designer for better or worse.  If you have a falling out and leave, your website ceases to exist.  This also means the web designer has much less motivation to provide good service after the sale because they know you can’t go anywhere. I can tell you we have talked to many really frustrated small business owners who felt they were over a barrel.  They were getting no customer service and couldn’t get updates done.  Unfortunately, they felt unable to switch web designers because they had already paid $5,000-$10,000 for a website and leaving would mean starting over.

Hand coded websites have been replaced

Hand coded websites are another option.  They aren’t as bad as proprietary websites because you are able to take them with you if you choose to switch web designers.  There are several drawbacks though. One challenge is that there is good code and there is sloppy code.  Unless you know code and can check out their previous work you don’t really know which you are getting.  Also, everyone codes a little differently so transferring your website to a different web designer could be a bit of a mess.  Taking over someone else’s hand coded work can be challenging and costly.  The next web developer may or may not be able to update and maintain the site depending on how well the code was written and documented.  Hand coding used to be the way all websites were designed, but since content management systems (CMS) like WordPress came out most small businesses have made the switch to a CMS.

Why choose the WordPress CMS for your website

Web Design for Small Businesses using WordPress CMSWhen it comes to web design for small businesses the solution we always recommend is WordPress.  It is one of the top 3 content management systems with the other two being Drupal and Joomla.  Drupal is really meant to be used by large corporations that need lots of custom programming and it’s overkill for the majority of business owners.  Joomla works for a larger segment of businesses, but it is not user friendly.  We used to build websites with Joomla, but our customers did not like it.  It was not intuitive for the typical business owner, and most had trouble making their own website updates.  The WordPress CMS won us over almost 4 years ago, and I really believe you will love everything about it.

Update your own website content

Our clients love WordPress.  One of its main selling points is how intuitive it is.  With a little training it is extremely easy for small business owners to make their own content updates after the website launches if they want to.  They can also easily learn to manage their newsletters, blogs, ecommerce stores and any other functionality they need.  We love empowering small business owners by giving them the freedom to manage their website if that is what they want to do.

WordPress offers so much functionality

Another great feature of WordPress is its vast functionality.  There are thousands of plugins designed for WordPress with more coming out every day.  If there is functionality you need, WordPress can do it.  When doing web design for small businesses we have used functionality such as web forms, event calendars, paid advertising, ecommerce, e-newsletters, membership systems, employee intranets, business directories, event registrations, blogs, photo galleries, customer reviews, job listings, real estate listings and more.  We have not found a client yet that WordPress wasn’t a great fit for.

Everybody’s doing it

WordPress is used by many very recognizable companies such as Xerox, Fortune, and Time, Inc. to name a few.  I read that as of 2014 over 74 million sites depended on WordPress with 50,000 new sites being added each day. Small and large businesses are seeing the many advantages that WordPress has to offer and are actively seeking out WordPress web design companies to build them a WordPress website. Many of the clients that come to us are specifically looking for a Boise web design company that specializes in WordPress,  and they choose us because of our expertise with this platform.

If you are in the market for web design for your small business, I hope this information has been helpful. We would love to talk to you about how we can help you with your web design project.  Give us a call today at 208-939-0493 for a free web design consultation.

Next week I will be discussing Tip #2: Setting a realistic budget as well as answering the important question, “How much does a website cost.