The Pros And Cons of Building Your Own Website

Retail Web Design

The Pros And Cons of Building Your Own Website

Retail Web Design
Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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A website is just like a house. Any homeowner would want it to be solid and functional from the ground up, with every room rightly in place. This is why they’d hire an architect, an interior designer, and a contractor to make sure it turns out the way they want and need it to be.

A lot of business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and start-ups attempt to build their own websites. If you are thinking along the same line, consider the pros and cons of hiring a web designer before you do so.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Why You Should Hire a Pro Web Designer

Why You Should Hire a Pro

1. It’s their forte.

Professional web developers spent a lot of time learning and honing their designing skills. They know the best practices, what needs to be done, and how to do it. They are also familiar with the functions of the different types of web platforms such as HubSpot, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify including tech support. This means no cramming and guesswork when it comes to your website.

2. They come with the right tools.

Building a functional and user-friendly website requires the right tools, software, and information for the best results. Skilled and professional web developers have invested and come complete with these tools to build an amazing website. They also know the right talent to create graphics, illustrations, and imagery as well as content, SEO, and analytics/reporting.

3. You end up with a professional-looking website users will love.

Professional web developers are likely to have encountered every possible glitch a website can have so you can be sure yours will be free from them. They also know minute details—such as the tiny URL icons—to make them look complete and professional.

What Hinders People From Hiring a Pro​ Web Designer

What Hinders People From Hiring a Pro

1. It comes with a fee.

Would you hire a hairstylist to cut and dye your hair or would you trust yourself to do it? Most people won’t. Getting your website built by a professional designer is going to cost money. It’s a skill that they have invested their time and money with.

2. It can’t be rushed.

Creating a website is an art and most professional web designers need time to get their creative juices flowing. They also have other clients lined up in a queue. Yes, people are actually getting their websites built professionally. A web design project will take some time as well as a number of edits and revisions. Give it around two months before reaching completion.

3. They might get scammed.

We all know that scammers are everywhere. There are also web designers who might not meet your expectations in the long run. The best way to avoid this is to do your own research, ask for references, and look through their portfolio. It is also a good idea to talk face-to-face or via voice call to see if you get good vibes with your ideal candidate. You might also want to have a written agreement drawn with a clear list of your expectations and requirements.

Why People DIY Their Website​

Why People DIY Their Website

1. They think it will save them money.

Building a DIY website is great because you get to work at your own pace and time. If it’s a rush, you can make it a top priority and put everything together in a short span of time. Otherwise, you can work on it on turtle pace—which might take forever.

2. They get to be their own boss.

Professional web developers don’t come with superpower mind-reading capabilities so building a DIY website saves people a lot of time spent on brainstorming and explaining about their business.

Why You Should Not DIY Your Website​

Why You Should Not DIY Your Website

1. Your website might turn out to be self-centred.

One of the drawbacks of building your own website is you might build it around yourself. Doing so will make your target persona lose interest, failing to convert them. Your website should be about your audience which the professional web developer knows how to address.

2. Leave it to the pro.

Professional web designers are called such because that’s what they are. Professionals. Unless you are one, leave the designing, development, content creation, and marketing in their capable hands. Focus on your products and services instead. Once they turn over the website to you, you can watch traffic and money pour in.

3. It will take you a lot of time.

Learning something new takes time. Creating your own website might be foremost on your mind but building your products and services will be more rewarding in the long run.

Conclusion

In this day and age, having the best products and services to offer will not ensure that a company reaches its business goals. People utilise the internet in search of their wants and needs and a user-friendly and professional-looking website will make sure you stay ahead of your competition.

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Why Growth-Driven Website Designs are Better Than Traditional Ones

Growth-Driven Website Design

Why Growth-Driven Website Designs are Better Than Traditional Ones

Growth-Driven Website Design

Designing a website takes a lot of work. You have to invest around 1-3 months of your time and about $15,000 to $80,000 for it.

However, there is an approach that will cut down on these two without sacrificing functionality and performance and that is by using growth-driven web design.

What is growth-driven design?

Growth-driven design (GDD) is a systematic website design and maintenance approach that helps in minimising the risks of traditional web design. This shortens the time to launch the website by focusing on the actual impact as well as continuous learning and improvement.

With the growth-driven design, you’ll be able to launch your website in as short as one month. Once it goes live, real-time and ongoing data analysis on how the website is performing is then fed back into the website in regular sprints, which is based on actual users. This means the website is constantly improving and continuously adapting to current conditions and markets.

Advantages of growth-driven website

Using a growth-driven design will let you enjoy the following benefits:

  • Minimise the risks of late delivery and blown-out costs
  • Produce better results through learning and continuous improvement
  • Promotes collaboration between departments, particularly sales and marketing
  • Flexible and responsive to changes in trends.
  • Requires less time to launch
  • The cost can be paid in monthly increments rather than upfront.
  • Data-driven functionality allows you to continuously improve your website and track ROI.
  • Capable of informing you how users behave which is helpful in improving marketing and sales strategies
  • Learnings and insights gained from other campaigns can be applied to the website almost immediately to help facilitate collaboration between departments.
  • Gives you an amazing website that puts you ahead of your competitors

The stages of growth-driven design

GDD undergoes three stages namely Strategy, Launch Pad, and Continuous Improvement. Here is an in-depth view of each stage:

1. Strategy stage

During this stage, you set out your objectives and create your buyer personas which includes customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. This will help you in understanding your users’ motivations and pain points which is crucial in setting a solid foundation for your website.

For existing websites, a detailed audit needs to be undertaken to get key information about where your users are coming from, how they are interacting with your site, and why they’re engaging or heading elsewhere.

Once you have all this information, perform the Pareto Principle and make an 80/20 analysis of every feature and function you want the website to have. 20% of these must deliver 80% of the impact you desire. It is also important that you prioritise your website needs and set the wants aside, at least until the next monthly sprint cycle.

2. Launch pad stage

The launch pad is typically the final step in the traditional website design process but with the GDD, this is the stage where you begin the standard work. What do you perform here?
  • Design the content and messages
  • Construct the information architecture
  • COme up with the wireframe and design
  • Start the programming and development
  • Perform simple UX testing
The goal at this stage is to create a highly functioning website in a relatively short amount of time and quickly launch it. Once you get the site into users’ hands, you can start monitoring the performance of the site, look at the organic traffic, heatmaps, and bounce rates. With this data, you can immediately make updates based on initial user feedback.

3. Continuous improvement stage

This is the stage where you start turning all the user data into updates and your website into a lead-converting machine. It is done in monthly sprint cycles making GDD different from traditional website design.

The four steps in the monthly sprint cycle

The monthly sprint cycle goes through four steps. These include:

1. Planning

In this cycle, you compare your performance against the goals you outlined in Stage 1. It might be the right time to initiate the wants you previously identified in the strategy stage. It is also a good idea to consult with marketing and sales to see if there are any new learnings that could be applied on the website.

2. Building

Here, you put your plan into effect. Make sure to set up validation tracking codes so you can measure success metrics, and develop marketing campaigns to drive traffic to the new pages and features.

3. Learning

Here’s where you track if the changes you applied achieved your desired effect. It will then help you learn more about your user and confirm your hypotheses.

3. Transfering

In order to ensure that the entire organisation is on the same page, you need to transfer everything you have learned to them especially to the sales and marketing team.

Your website is the most important marketing and sales tool that you have. Making use of the growth-driven design approach will easily bring you to the next level and help you achieve your goals.

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Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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6 Useful Tips for Redesigning a Website While Maintaining Its SEO Ranking

Keep your SEO rank with a website redesign

6 Useful Tips for Redesigning a Website While Maintaining Its SEO Ranking

Keep your SEO rank with a website redesign

If your website has been up and running for a few years now, chances are, you need to have it redesigned. Why? It could be that your marketing strategies have changed or you need to give your website a makeover to stay ahead of your competitors.

Planning for Success

Redesigning your website or migrating to a new content management system (CMS) takes a lot of planning. You’ve got to be careful not to damage your current SEO ranking which you spent years working on. Here are six tips to help you update your website without hurting its structure.

1. Make an inventory of your current site

Taking snapshots of what your site and ranks look like before the big change will provide helpful reference points, helping you evaluate the updated one once it’s launched.

What do you need to do?

  • Take note of your present SEO rank – Review the current rankings of your pages utilizing Google Analytics and take note of the keywords you used.
  • Crawl your existing site – This allows you to see the layout of your current site and get hold of the structure, meta description, current URLs, and title tags. You can then match your new site with the old one. How do you do that? You have the option to use Screaming Frog for this.
  • Verify your blocked content – Using your Robots.txt and/or Google Search Console, you can verify your blocked content and go back and make sure that they remain as is after the redesign.

2. Don’t make any drastic changes to your content

Keep your content the same by making minimal changes if needed. The title tag, meta description, URL, and the H1 – H6 should remain the same as much as possible. Why? They are the most crawled areas and if they are already ranking on Google, don’t mess with them.

3. Keep the website structure similar

Since you are trying to protect your ranking, keeping the architecture of your site close to similar with the old one will help search engines recognize it just like before. It’s okay to organize your navigation and files differently to keep up with your new website strategy and goals but make sure the structure stays the same. This also helps your existing visitors adapt to the new site seamlessly.

4. Keep your existing pages alive by creating 301 redirects

What’s a 301 redirect? It simply informs search engines the permanent moving of a web page from one location to another. Implementing 301 redirects will make sure you don’t kill your traffic and retain your pages especially those that are doing well. Do this by keeping an organized list of your old page URLs and new page URLs which will be useful when it comes to importing the 301s into HubSpot’s URL Mapping tool, or your WordPress 301 Redirect Plugin.

5. Keep your new site blocked from search engines in the staging process

The staging environment is a duplicate of your live website and acts as a testing ground. It allows you to have a full working site that can be tested for issues before launch.

During this stage, it is important that the new site is blocked so that search engines won’t index duplicate content. To do this on HubSpot, put the “No Index, No Follow” code in the Global HTML Header in Content Settings under the specific staging domain. For WordPress, simply go to the settings tab and click the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”

Now let’s go back to the staging process. If you’re a HubSpot user, you can approach it in two ways:

  • For new sites, simply go to the Website Pages Add-On and create all the pages you need. You can find useful staging domains here which can go live and functional once you’re ready.
  • If you already have an existing site in HubSpot, go to the Website Content Staging area, set up a brand new page or clone existing pages, and push live to the staging environment.

If you’re a WordPress user, the staging environment can be created depending on where your site is hosted. If you use WP Engine, it’s an easy one-step push of a button and your live site is cloned and set to the staging environment.

6. Make sure to double-check everything in the staging process

Once you’ve got everything built in the staging environment, run the Screaming Frog and make sure all the H1 & H2 tags, title tags, and meta descriptions aren’t missing or have duplicates. In case you missed it, the Screaming Frog is a small desktop program compatible with PC or Mac and crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script, and apps and fetch important elements that are used in analysing and auditing technical and onsite SEO. If everything is in place, then you are ready to go live.

Planning for Success

Yes, you’ve done a great job in the staging process and have successfully launched your new website but the work ain’t done. There are still a few tweaks you need to do:

  1. Remove the “No Index, No Follow” tag.
  2. Import and check your 301 redirects, making sure they are going the right path.
  3. Check if schema.org tags are still implemented.
  4. Check if the tracking codes are all still up and running.
  5. Re-run the broken link checker.
  6. Re-submit sitemap to Google Search Console.
  7. Check on the number of pages indexed in Google to ensure no pages are dropped. Also track impressions and clicks, and track your rankings.

With everything in place and double-checked, all you have to do is monitor your ranking constantly so you can get it back up if you did drop.

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Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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  • Please tell me a little about your business and what you are trying to achieve so I can see if we are a good fit.

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What is the Cost of a Website Design or Redesign in 2019

Your 2019 Guide to the Cost of a Good Website Design or Redesign

What is the Cost of a Website Design or Redesign in 2019

Your 2019 Guide to the Cost of a Good Website Design or Redesign

In this day and age, a good website is a must-have for every business. It creates a powerful first impression and impacts how your audience perceives your brand.

To stand out from your competitors, your website should be fast and mobile-friendly, allowing customers and prospects to make quick decisions before making a purchase.

If you want to keep your leads on your page, you need a good web design.

The Cost of a Website Design

Your website is the central part of your inbound marketing strategy and the most important marketing tool you have.

A website design agency can charge $6,000 to $20,000 for a simple custom website design and $20,000 to $40,000 for more complicated, custom-built websites. There are also talented freelancers who prefer to work alone and charge a little less compared to an agency while providing you with a stellar website. Looking for the cheapest option? You can try your hand in designing your own website. However, It doesn’t stop there. Trends change and at one point in time, you need to redesign your website to keep up with your competitors.

How Much a Do-it-Yourself Website Costs

Building or redesigning your own website is the cheapest option which can cost you a few hundred dollars to more or less $3,000. The unforeseen expense here is the time and hassle required from you. However, if you’ve got the skills and the ability to code, then the odds are in your favour.

If you have a limited budget and want to start small, here are a few suggestions for D.I.Y. websites:

  • ThemeForest – ThemeForest lets you choose from a wide variety of website themes with varying functionality, performance, and ease of use. They will cost you around $30 to $100 and work well with WordPress. Make sure to choose a theme with plenty of positive reviews and doesn’t require technical skills for editing.
  • Genesis Framework by StudioPress – The Genesis Framework is not your average website back-end. This mobile-friendly and search engine optimized framework offers great themes and allows you to easily create content and edit the visual features of your WordPress website. The framework and theme will cost you around $100 to $130.
  • HubSpot’s Website Platform – HubSpot’s Website Platform features customizable themes as well as built-in features for SEO to content management. You can also test your design skills and build one from scratch using their drag-and-drop builder. If you want more custom features, you can always hire a developer to add them in. This platform costs $300 per month. 

The Importance of Content

Would you buy something if you can’t find anything that describes what the product is and what it does?

This is where content comes in. It is considered the most important part of a website redesign which also consumes a lot of time.

Building your website around your content is the ideal approach to a website redesign, not the other way around. The goal of your website is to persuade your buyers to avail of what you offer and that’s where your content goes to work.

If your prospects are not yet ready to buy but are doing some research or read blogs, you’ve got your content to thank for.

Content First, Design Later

Creating content for a website goes through a process. If you’re doing it yourself, first map out all of the pages you want your website to include before writing the actual content. This can help you pick out the best website theme that will suit your content strategy.

Although most freelance web designers can create content, most of them team up with a skilled copywriter do the specific work. Whether the content creator is sourced by you or your designer, make sure they are on the same page. You will also sleep better if you ask your designer to let you in the process of content creation.

Now, when it comes to an agency, content is already part of the redesign process and their experienced copywriters are just waiting for their queue to fill in all the work.

Why so High?

Back in the days when the Internet was still in the works, a website doesn’t do much for a business. Fast forward to the age of the Internet, a business cannot survive without a website. What’s behind the shift making the cost of a website redesign so high?

  • Supply and demand – One of the reasons why the cost of having a website redesigned has been increasing is because of supply and demand.
    In the past, running a successful business is not dependent on the Internet or a website. However, times have changed. Companies nowadays should be visible online and cannot be without a website. In fact, prior to launching, potential businesses first check on the availability of domain names and how the URL will look.

  • The process –  The techniques and tools in designing a website is constantly improving, making websites more advanced in the process. Although it does make a D.I.Y. website easier to design, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Every good designer knows that they should be ready to cope with the evolving digital landscape and be on the lookout for innovation. Let’s take for example the importance of a mobile-friendly website. Good designers have foreseen that the introduction and success of the iPhone would make an impact on how people navigate websites. Back then, mobile design was a complex and expensive feature and both designers and clients tend to avoid it. However, when Google suddenly raised its standards by allowing its search algorithms to show preference to mobile-friendly websites, everything went boom.

Working Round the Clock

A good website is like the perfect employee who tirelessly does all the work for you even while you sleep or go on a holiday. It does a great job consistently, using the tools that you’ve provided. All you have to do is find the agency that will give you this perfect employee. While it is true that humans play a vital role in a business, you need to pay them month after month, year after year.

A well-designed website is always on call, on all corners of the world, helping you rack up those sales asking for nothing in return but professional design.

Make inbound marketing work for you and invest in a professional website that is innovation and future-ready.

General FAQ

How much does a website cost?

A website can cost anywhere from $1,500 - $6,000 for a start-up business, to $8,000 - $80,000 for an established business. The cost of a startup business is cheaper because we use ready-made website templates, all we do is add in your content and photography. A custom website for established businesses involves a well-thought out strategy, wireframes, designs, development, plugins and man-hours to deliver a well-thought money-making lead machine.

What is the future of website costs?

The online world is ever-changing and so do the methods involved in building websites, the strategies required, the time needed to deliver a websites and the technology that goes into the structure of a website.

What if I cant afford a website?

Luckily technology has advanced enough in today's modern age to allow businesses an easier method of being able to afford a website redesign. The current shift in payment methods has moved towards a subscription based model, this makes it affordable for both business owner and brings in a steady stream of income for the website designer.

How do I know when I need a new website?

The average life-span of a website is always changing, with advancements in technology and trends it is almost impossible to keep up.

Things to look for are:

  • Is your website ranking on the first page?
  • Is your website converting leads, generating enquiries or making sales?
  • Do your services represent your business today?
  • Is your website aethetically pleasing?
Do You Want
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