It all depends on what you want your site to do!
Some companies need their site to collect members or sell items, and others just need a ‘brochure’ site. What is the purpose of your site?
Ecommerce vs. Brochure Website
A small business website and ecommerce website have different requirements for time and resources. A brochure site features products and services, includes web forms, and sign ups, which could be five pages. An e-commerce site that sells products requires more work due to images and site configuration. If you plan to hire a web team find out what types of sites they have worked on and if they know how to build what you need. Experience is key!
Some question to answer – these have an impact on the type of site you need and the associated investment
1. Are products or content the focus of your site?
2. Will a database be connected to the site? One that will change and grow at least once per year?
3. Is a custom dashboard needed at the back end for users, managers or owners, with custom reporting options?
4. Are product or service updates going to be a regular occurrence, such as products, images, descriptions, pricing, availability, specials?
5. Will online purchases require various shipping options and tax parameters for various states?
6. Do you have an idea you have never seen before on a website?
7. Will you have a growing number of users who register with the site?
8. Will you serve multiple countries and use multiple languages?
9. How much site traffic will you have?
Themes vs. Custom Code – does it matter?
For a small business it matters, because there’s a huge difference in price. A theme has a licensing fee and overall they are pretty inexpensive. It’s like a custom-coded site with built-in features. Think of it like a house, pre-built, and the features are like the furniture ready to be moved in. Just as houses have unique designs, themes are built by developers who have added their own design elements. There’s much more to it, but you get the idea.
Custom code on the other hand is complete design and build from from scratch with custom coding. It’s expensive, and must be written in a way it can be updated by any developer – but it rarely is. If your developer leaves, what do you do? Code has to be regularly updated. Custom code has a place on a WordPress website, and it’s useful if the site needs to do something that existing technology tools don’t offer. But, there are a lot of development teams and software companies that make tools for functionality, and they regularly update their software! These are called ‘plugins’. They manage the form and functionality within a site and can add rich features.
Get a site with the right tools and tech, that performs well, looks great, and provides insights
Site goals can be accomplished a lot of different way. But you should be informed about what TYPES of tools that your development team will use use to create your new site. Be informed and you will make better decisions.
If you interview a web firm, ask the following questions, and take notes:
- What types of themes do they use? Or do they use custom code?
- What Plug-ins do they use for every website, and why?
- What tools do they use to ensure your site will render quickly when it first loads?
- How will they ensure your site is quick, from page to page, and image loading?
- What technology do they use to keep your site safe from hackers?
- Do they add analytics and Google tag manager for audience tracking and ads?
- Is email marketing important? Find out if they can configure settings for your preferred provider
It’s important that these questions can be answered and you understand what you are paying for. While you may not understand it fully, these are the assets that represent your website. Get familiar so you know what kind of site you will own.
Arrow Timber Framing website before redesign and redevelopment. This site was intended to attract and connect with hybrid timber enthusiasts.
Arrow Timber Framing website after redesign and redevelopment.