Building a great web presence is easy: start with a solid foundation and steadily improve over time. Unfortunately, businesses often get locked the wrong platform, wrong developers, or wrong approach. Save yourself time, money, and stress by applying the formula below.
Once you’ve built your 100th website, it becomes pretty clear what differentiates the successful projects from the boondoggles. Here’s a cheat-sheet for the normal humans out there …
For most businesses, the proper platform for your website will be predominantly based on budget.
Basic site builder (under $2k) — If you’re short on cash, have a simple pitch, or don’t expect an immediate return on investment, use one of the top 3 site builders: Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify. These all offer a professional look at low prices, just don’t expect to add custom design, features, or SEO.
Custom WordPress site ($2k – $20k) — If improving your branding, message, features, conversion rate, or SEO could significantly impact your bottom line, then you’ll need the ability to fully customize your site. WordPress – which powers 34% of all websites and has a 60% share of the CMS market – is generally the best platform for SMB marketing sites and web application prototypes.
Build it from scratch ($20k or more) — If your revenue is measured in 7 figures or you’re building a fully-featured web application, you’ll likely want a custom tech stack. This gives you maximum flexibility and performance, but comes with significant up-front expenses and ongoing maintenance.
Whether a web designer, developer, or agency, find someone who specializes in your needs.
Modern web development has become extraordinarily complex, so the only way to truly master a particular platform in to devote oneself to it full-time. You wouldn’t hire a plumber to paint your house, so don’t fall into the trap of hiring a graphic designer to build your website.
A self-described “web designer” is generally focused on visual appeal, so they may be best suited to configuring site builders. A “web developer” is generally focused on writing code, so they may be best suited to technical implementation. An “agency” can tie together these and other roles, but be sure to verify that each member of your team is an expert in their respective domain.
In the end, finding the right professional(s) to build your website can be boiled down to two questions: is this what they specialize in, and can they demonstrate a history of quality work?
Focus your initial resources on nailing the basics, observe the results, and refine your approach.
Clear messaging, good typography, structured markup, site speed, and clean code might not be sexy, but they critical to a website’s success. Projects go awry when they chase trendy design fads without first addressing these “best practices” of web development.
Once the core elements are in place, you have a solid foundation upon which you can refine the design or build out a new feature. But without them, a site is destined either fail, or – at minimum – require a costly overhaul.
Finally, the most sustainable approach to building a website is to employ the “build, measure, learn” feedback loop. Observe how visitors engage with your site, measure their behavior, incorporate their requests, refine your messaging, and add features deliberately.
You web presence isn’t static: it’s an ongoing labor of love that improves and evolves alongside your business.
We specialize in building custom WordPress themes and plugins for SMBs. Our WordPress Starter Package inlcudes a branded theme, custom block plugin, copy editing, page styling, technical SEO, and speed optimization for a flat fee, starting at $2800. Contact us today to learn more!
Hi, I’m Kevin Hotaling, founder of Desconu. I lead the design and development for our projects and call upon a carefully chosen network of talented, local freelancers when their skills are required. This allows you to get most of the benefits of an agency, without the expense, headaches, and bureaucracy of a bloated team.
The first step to improving web presence is measuring current performance. Send me some details about your site, and I’ll send back a quick analysis of your design, site speed, SEO, code health, and best opportunities for improvement. I actually enjoy this stuff, so no strings attached!Free Site Review