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Website design has changed and developed immeasurably over the last ten years, with a myriad of different ways to create an online presence for your business or organisation. There are a plefora of self-build tools, from software solutions to hosted services. And also cheap web design services, from your wife’s cousin’s son to cheap and cheerful web design companies.

And while all these options can have their benefits, anyone who is serious about creating a successful website should really consider the following before taking one of the routes above…

1. Stand-out from the crowd

Off-the-shelf solutions and self-build systems are based on templates. For this reason they look very similar and once you know what to look for you can spot a one a mile away.

The problem with your website looking the same as every other business website, is that you don’t stand-out. Your potential customers will not recognise your website and will not remember your website. When a customer looks at your website they are making subconscious judgements about your brand and the service you provide. If they are unable to differentiate you from your competitors they won’t be able to make a positive judgement.

2. Clean, lean and fast code

The problem with one-size-fits-all is that it has to include all the possible functionality and layout options you might want. If you are only need a small amount of this functionality, there will be a huge amount of extra bloated code in your website. This will slow down page-speed drastically and make future updates harder as script conflicts will become common.

Page speed is now a major ranking factor in Google’s algorithm and is very important. The faster the site, the better chance you have of ranking well in the search results.

The beauty of a hand-drafted, hand-coded website is it is tailored to your needs and requirements. Using only the minimum amount of code needed to achieve this functionality. This means super-fast page loads and optimum performance.

3. Your time is better spent running your business

Is building a website really the best use of your time? In most scenarios the answer to this question is emphatically, no! While self-build systems are convenient they still require a heavy investment of your time to learn how to use. Hours of frustration and wasted time which could have been better spent doing what you enjoy and improving your business.

Outsourcing web development makes a lot of sense. Choosing the right provider is also very important. You don’t want to outsource the work only to find you are having to project manage and chase every amend to get the work finished.

Don’t go for the cheapest and make sure you have a good relationship with your web designer – this will go a long way to making your life easier and your website successful.

Plus – make sure you ask your web designer if they hand-build their websites – a lot of designers sell off-the-shelf themes as custom sites and charge the same price. This is the worst of both worlds, so make sure you avoid it at all costs.

4. Future proofed – supported & well coded

Working with a quality web designer helps to future proof your website and means you can keep developing it into the future. All websites need to be maintained and updated periodically to ensure they are secure and don’t get hacked. A templated system can very quickly become impossible to update if the creator of the template doesn’t provide updates or the self-build system goes out of business.

Which leads onto my next point…

5. A little more investment now can save you in the long-term

As most people know, it is rarely the cheapest option which is the best option for any purchasing decision. If you are prepared to invest a little more in your website in the beginning it will pay dividends in the future. You will save time and money long-term, plus your website will be more successful and will generate more revenue.

In Conclusion

Remember web design is a service for good reason. A service is something which can’t be turned into a product, because it requires individuality and has many variables. Web design is a service because it requires creativity and thought to create a memorable and lasting website.