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Whatever your business or industry, you will not get far in business without a website, and some kind of social media presence. Technology is a wonderful thing. It has spawned many solutions to this problem, for very attractive prices. This article aims to cover these options and why you should ignore them.
There are more and more adverts in the media for places like Wix and SquareSpace. These offer you the opportunity to build your own website without ever having to learn how to code. What's not to like? Well, the answer is quite a bit.
These systems are meant to serve anybody, anywhere. There is no connection to your business. These are cookie cutter websites turned out in their droves, and guess what? Other people are doing it to, using the same features you are.
Building any business is about building trust and communicating that trust to your clients & customers. How can you do that if your site looks similar to dozens of others. It might have different fonts and images, but its the same under the hood.
Maybe you have chosen to use Wordpress, and build your site on a theme. That popular one with all the features thats sold millions of copies? Take a look at this web post of the best Wordpress themes for 2018. Pay close attention to the screen shots. They all look pretty similar, right?
Performance is important for websites. The site needs to be fast, and highly optimised for search engines. The sad fact is that many of these services simply don't cater for this. I saw one Wix based site recently where someone had gone mad with the font choices. The home page was making over 200 calls to the server just to fetch custom fonts.
That is insanity, and a negative bi-product of offering the user to much choice without communicating the consequences. For the record, a site should not use more than 2 or 3 custom fonts. Search engines will penalise you for a slow site, and you will not rank well unless you address it.
Ten years ago, just 0.7% of internet users were using a mobile device to browse the web. Now, in 2018, that figure has escalated to a massive 52.2%. If your site is not properly optimised to be viewed on any device, you will fail.
I viewed that same Wix based site on my Nexus 6P using the Opera browser. The site totally fell apart because they seemed to be using user agent sniffing to detect a mobile device, rather then reacting to screen size. This is a terrible idea a probably not something you can fix as a Wix user. Not such a bargain after all.
Your site needs to communicate your brand. A professional designer will work with you to build up a style guide based around your companies branding. Where there are gaps in the branding, they will work with you to solidify it.
This usually means coming up with a colour palette and font pairings that optimise your values as a company. You may have had a logo professionally designed. This might contain some colours that can be used as a starting point. All this takes a bit of care and time, and its difficult to pull off in tools designed to build anyone a website.
You can take a look at some good style guides for other companies here.
So you need some photos and graphics to pad out your website? Again, there are many sites out there offering stock media you pick up cheaply. This can be bad idea, because those images are out there for anyone to use. It's worth hiring a photographer for a morning to come in and take some pictures of your business and your staff. It doesn't have to cost the earth and really does make you stand out.
These should never be used to pad out a website. Content is king, and every image you place should convey a meaning, and backup the topic of the page. It should never be there just to look nice.
Even big business make this mistake. I saw some social media posts recently by a big well known brand, and I can't remember what it was for. The reason for that is because I immediately recognised the stock photo they had used. I knew exactly where it had come from, and, more importantly that smiley "employee" sitting at the desk didn't work for them any more then I did. It is disingenuous and hurts your brand.
Don't make the same mistake.
Finding the right designer to build your site can be a challenge. There are a lot of cowboys out there waiting to take your money for promises. Here at Hash&Salt we pride our selves on delivering cost effect websites for small businesses, all the way from scratch.
We do this honestly, and fairly. We tell you if you are about to put your money in the wrong place and help you find a better solution. If you want to take your business to the next level, Get in Touch!