Your web site represents your business or organization to the world.
As such, it’s extremely important to you and to your visitors. Web site design involves many different factors. These include:
- Overall design, including the “look and feel”, which must be appropriate to your business or organization
- Appropriate and harmonious colors and fonts
- Good navigation. Visitors want to be able to find what they’re looking for easily and quickly
- Interesting and useful content. Your visitors will be looking for this, and so will the search engines. If your content is “thin”, you won’t get much traffic and you won’t get many repeat visits
- Good, clean code. You want your site to display properly in all of the popular browsers; i.e., Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari
There are a number of different ways to achieve these objectives. Depending on your needs and preferences, they can be inexpensive or very costly. Here are some of the options we offer:
- We can design your site using an online Content Management System (CMS). This has the advantage of being very cost effective, and is relatively quick to get up and running. With this approach, you also have the option of maintaining and updating your own site without the need for any special software. It is possible to achieve a very polished look, but your options for customizing various aspects of the design will be more limited than with a custom built site.
- Another approach that is becoming very popular is to use a free open source CMS like WordPress or Joomla. Many great looking themes are available, particularly for WordPress, that will allow you to achieve a nice looking site without a lot of work (meaning time and money). This site is running on WordPress. In general, this approach will offer somewhat greater options for customizing your site than using an online CMS, but it takes a little more time and it will be significantly more complicated for an end user to maintain (although that is still possible with some training).
- We can build you a completely custom, bespoke site in xhtml/css. This approach offers the best opportunity for customization, but it also takes the most time (and money). You would not be able to update or maintain your site without purchasing web design software and learning how to use it. We use the Adobe Design Premium Creative Suite, which currently costs about $1800 (less expensive options are available, but Adobe is the “gold standard”).
Any of these approaches can yield a site that is attractive and highly functional. We can advise you on which one would be most appropriate for your project.
Maintenance is important too!
The job does not end when your new site is launched. In fact, it’s just beginning! Have you ever visited a web site where the content is way out of date? What kind of impression did that make on you? At the very least, you probably made a mental note to forget about returning, unless it was a specialized site that focused on archived information or history.
Fresh, up-to-date content is important not only to your visitors, but also to search engines. I’ll discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on a separate page, but suffice it to say that if you don’t keep your web pages fresh, search engines will lose interest just as fast as your visitors will. We spend a lot of our time updating web sites for our customers who are unable or choose not to do this. The need for special software is a big factor in this decision. That’s why choosing an online CMS as discussed above might be a great choice for your small business or organization if you are interested and willing to do your own updates. Not only will this be less expensive but you will have the ability to update your site anytime you want, giving you the power to keep it very current. A number of our customers are using this approach very effectively.