Ed is correct in as much as you will get a more focussed view and a more personal presence - but sometimes this takes time to come out in terms of what you want for your business. Times change - and once you go the designed route - more effective though it may be - you are on a path of no return. Better to start small and ensure that you are clear on what you want to be - and are definitely going to get the revenue from your site before you invest heavily in it in your start up. You can always move to something more bespoke when you are established. One other thing to mention is that you will still need to decide where and how your site is going to be managed if you go the bespoke route - so consider all costs. For me the benefit of the managed service is that while not completely original, it allows you to bring in new chunks of content/capability as and when you need them at known cost. A well designed site is a thing of beauty - but not for the faint hearted. As a minimum and regardless of end route, I would plan out the image you want to portray and how your site will do that better than your competitors. Also - try and avoid making it a jack of all trades thing. Focus it on one aspect. You can always take email orders and look just as efficient with a manual process. When something goes live on a site, all the processes have to just work. If the links aren't right for PayPal or Sage or whatever for payment, you will lose custom - whereas a promptly responded to email will deliver a more personal service. Lots to think about.Dependent on your business I would advise having your website designed and built for you. We have recently had 3 websites re built from the ground up, costly yes but in relation to other advertising mediums... not costly.
The right designer and builder will create what you want. I am not very I.T savvy and can upload and change images and text on the new sites.
If you decide to use a third party, give them a tight brief of what you do and don't want. To be fair, they will probably advise you of elements that you did not even know about that will enhance your website visitors experience.
'Subscriber Only' = so you'll need some form of user authentication and login software add on.Lots indeed, Eric. My site doesn't need to be overly-complicated as I'm offering a limited range of produce and services. An online booking and payment facility would be essential though, as would a gallery, a blog and two-way links to FB and Twitter (i.e FB links to the business website and vice-versa) And a subscriber-only 'Downloads' section for various odds and sods. The facility for an online shop would be handy too, but that isn't essential from the outset. Plan is to run the business from both a fixed and mobile site too, so an online update-able calendar would be pretty useful to publicise upcoming events that we'll be attending.
The more I think of, the more I have to think of!
Here is my two cents I will try to make it come across without offending anyone but I won't make any promises....
2 years ago I set up my own firm ( I work in Banking Recruitment) so in all honesty doing it myself was just not an option. There is a certain level of professionalism that needs to be shown in my opinion, and home built websites unless you are of very tech savvy mind rarely show this. Certain industries like Fieldsports, PT's and "soft" industries thrive on social media and its lower level interaction so depending on your presence you may or may not want to target that area. Me personally I use Linkedin a lot but have no twitter, Facebook or IG. Facebook pages are easy to set up though and you can link to your proper website.
For your website if you want to look professional imo spend a few quid and get someone to do it. They range from £500/1k depending on what you want done and normally they can do it quickly than you plodding away on Wix.
Be careful what you pay for though and refuse anyone who wants payment up front or a non scheduled payment policy because my experience with web designers has been seriously poor in terms of them getting their act together and delivering on their promises. If you have friends with a business ask them if they were happy with the level of service they got and go from there. The old adage buy cheap buy twice is seriously true with a lot of these guys hence why I am now on my third one and still nowhere near the website.
So with that in mind if someone does have a good designer they used I would love some contacts.
Oh I know the amount of times I speak with people and they are tearing their hair out over Web designers is just untrue. Some of my clients had MASSIVE budgets as well because they needed legal stuff for them to trade and have access to confidential stuff. So I know its a very much polarising industry.I'm really sorry to hear this, and not that it will make you feel any better - but you are not alone. One of the issues I see is one of the clear brief requirement - plus the ability of the buyer to 'see' the ideas in their heads. There are some unscrupulous designers out there who take advantage of this ambiguity and are very good at selling alternatives/options to keep the cponversation (cash) flowing.
All I am going to say is function over form every time. Customers may prefer pretty, but they will not continue to interact with a rubbish process. Get the functions right and the custom will flow, allowing you to spend on the form. No point spending on the pretty if it is not working - and by that I mean bringing the business in to fund it.
I accept that the templated sites may not be the most original - but they are easy to use and deliver nice results (over using basic wordpress or similar to construct - and I wholeheartedly agree that is not the way to go). In addition - if you use someone like Vistaprint, you can get all your headed paper/business cards/promo material branded in the same way - so effectively doing all your design work just the once. It's simply another headache not to deal with in your busy start up time. Keep it simple and get it right and you'll then have the time to tinker round the edges and add the frills - when you know you need them. The first objective is having a working presence - and then responding personally and promptly to each contact so they know there is someone real behind the façade.