Are you looking to have your first website developed, or perhaps you’ve already got a website and are looking to have a refresh and re-design? Maybe you’ve carried out your initial research and you have found there are certain things you’ve seen or heard, and you are not quite sure what is true and what is not.
We have identified the following top 7 web design myths, which we hope will bring clarity and assistance to your web design project.
1) A website template is just as good as a custom designed website
Some people think that a website template is just as good as a custom designed website. It is true that some templates do look nice, are attractive, and are very affordable. However, a template is a one fit solution which may not be suitable for your business. To design a perfectly fitting website for your business it is important to know what your customers want, your buyer journey and your buyer personas.
By understanding your site visitors, your website design should be built to fulfil their needs whilst visiting your website. You must make sure that you have the correct landing pages, call to actions and useful information for every part of the buyer journey.
In our experience a growth-driven design works best where you carry out the initial design whist studying visitor behaviour. The design is adapted depending on the data collected, so instead of the project finishing once the redesigned website is live, changes and improvements are part of the ongoing process.
2) Content can be sorted after the web site has been designed
Whilst it is true that content can be changed and added after a web site has been designed, if the content is available during the design and development phase, each page can be optimised specifically for that content. It’s no different to decorating a room. If you decorate the room and then add furniture and soft furnishings, your result will be less cohesive than if you decorate the room knowing exactly which soft furnishings and furniture you are going to use.
Another benefit of having your content together during the design and development phase is that your web design agency can help you optimise your content and offer professional suggestions, especially if they are Inbound Marketing Experts.
3) The cheapest design quote will be as good as the most expensive
When you are paying a designer or development team to create a web site for you, you are paying for their time. Yes, hourly rates do vary so it is worth asking your design agency what their rates are. Work out how many hours will they be spending on your web site, does this seem to be enough time? Take into account the initial design research and then putting it all together, testing and after-sales support.
If not enough time is spent on a web site design project, even if the web site may look impressive, it doesn’t mean that it is suitable for your target market and will perform. If hourly rates are low, can your developer survive and make a decent living? Will they be around to support you in the future?
4) Once my web site has been designed, that’s it, job done!
You guessed it, this is another web design myth we have come across numerous times with clients. As well as marketing your web site it is also important that it is maintained. I am not just talking about updating and creating new content (this is a must) but as your website ages, vulnerabilities could surface. This is especially true with open source sites developed using WordPress, Drupal, Magento and other similar platforms.
Hackers are out there looking for vulnerabilities. Another misconception is the belief that if your web site does not contain user data or payment details, hackers will not be interested. This again is a myth! Hackers are after clean and reputable web sites in order to exploit them. Trends change and so do hacker motivations. Presently, using vulnerable sites to mine for crypto currencies is the main motivation. Whilst this hack will not exploit your data, it will cause a poor experience for your users and potentially could get you banned from your server or you could get an unexpected over usage bill from your provider. It is worth investing in a Care Package for your website so at least you know it will be looked after by experts.
5) I do not collect user data so I do not need an SSL certificate
Google Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as ‘not secure’ starting in July. HTTPS encryption protects the channel between your browser and the website you’re visiting, ensuring no one in the middle can tamper with the traffic or spy on what you’re doing. Google has been pushing for all sites to use HTTPS. This next browser update will force more site owners to use HTTPS encryption.
Web sites that do not use HTTPS encryption are also down-ranked in their search results so it is in your best interest to use an SSL certificate, which will protect your visitors and increase your chances of ranking higher in the search engines.
6) Any website hosting company will do
When it comes to hosting, it is a case of you get what you pay for. Reliable, fast servers are not cheap to run so this will be reflected in your site’s hosting cost. It is a case of economies of scale. To provide extremely cheap hosting, servers need to be oversubscribed, so your site is going to be fighting for resources with a lot of other websites. Don’t be fooled by the unlimited terminology. Truly unlimited services cost your hosting company so there will be fair usage caps in place.
Find a hosting package and cost that you feel will be suitable for the size of your website. If you have a low traffic site then don’t be tempted by the unlimited bandwidth, go with quality reliable bandwidth. Also, there would be no point in utilising a whole server for your site. If you are running an ecommerce website and this is the main source of income for your business, then perhaps a shared hosting package would not be suitable and you should consider a Virtual Private Server or dedicated server. Yes, you will have a higher monthly cost but surely this is a small price to pay than going for a cheaper package and risking your website not being available. How much would 4 hours downtime cost? Would that work out much more than the extra monthly costs you would be paying for your own server?
7) Once my new website is live the enquiries and sales will start flooding in
This would only be true if you already have a high-ranking web site, however in our experience nothing is ever that straight forward. A new website redesign does not automatically mean a high-ranking site, especially if the web site is a new entity. It is the content and domain authority that is going to increase your search engine visibility. Yes, a professionally designed and optimised web site will help in the rankings and in converting leads, however content is king and like anything else, you need to market your website.
Following the tips above should set you on the way to achieving a successful web site development project. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Always look at the credentials and past projects for any agency you are thinking of using and don’t be afraid to ask them difficult questions. Your website doesn’t need to cost the earth, but it is worth investing a bit more to ensure it delivers for your business. Saving money at beginning could end up costing you in the long term.