Today, it is easier than ever to get your business online. Do-it-yourself (DIY) website builders continue to improve and no coding skills are required to build a basic website. The options discussed below will help your business decide if a DIY approach will work or if you would benefit from collaborating with a web professional.
Low-end: Free Website Builders
There are countless simple and free website builders intended for people who don’t have technical backgrounds or web development experience. Low-cost website builders often use pre-designed, industry-specific website templates to get you up and running quickly. These website options are referred to as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) and utilize drag-and-drop editors. DIY website builders are great for short-lived sites like parties and events. They also prove enticing to small businesses on tight budgets, yet according to Yahoo:
"...just 3% of websites are created using do-it-yourself platforms. Amateur users find it hard to finish the process on their own and only a small percentage of registered users (1%-3%) end up with a published website on a domain."
- technical skills not required
- extremely affordable (i.e. free)
- unoriginality (note: search engines do not like duplicate content, so swap out any pre-filled text with your own unique content)
- limited functionality
High-end: Custom-Coded Websites
Larger companies often have advanced business requirements that necessitate hiring web programmers. These processes might include membership management, integrating an existing database, or providing highly-filtered search results. In these instances, a custom coded website is currently the only option. Although, it is reasonable to predict that out-of-the-box solutions for these processes may exist in the near future.
- original website
- advanced functionality
- sites usually require on-going maintenance from a web designer
Mid-range: DIY + Web Professional
A popular option for many businesses is a balance of the above approaches. For example, here at Collaborada we build small business websites using the content management system (CMS) Squarespace. Clients appreciate the all-inclusive hosting, security, and easy maintenance after launching. Squarespace allows for quick development on our end which saves clients time and money. Small businesses benefit from a collaborative approach because web professionals bring expertise to projects in the areas of UX design, branding, content strategy, information architecture, SEO, advanced CMS features, and more.
- you get knowledgable advice every step of the way
- polished end product that is easy for non-technical staff to maintain
- portability — with many easy-to-maintain options, if you decide to change platforms, the website will need to be rebuilt
THE BEST WEBSITE OPTION IS THE ONE THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
If your business requires advanced online processes and deep integrations with company data, then a custom coded site is the solution. If you have no money to budget towards a site, then a free website builder might be your only option. If your small business wants a polished online presence with the technical aspects done right the first time, then hiring a website professional to assist your business is the way to go.
Keep in mind, for most businesses, building and launching a website is only the very beginning of their online efforts. Most websites require on-going quality content, promotion, and tweaking to stay current and relevant for site visitors and search engines.
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