In order to run a website and manage the content on it, webmasters use content management systems (CMS) and with these you have a choice. Depending on the purpose and needs of your website, there is a range of platforms to chose from upon which your site can be designed and run. They come in a range of forms – some simple, some not so.
As with anything in our age, there are shortcuts. There are hundreds of vendors selling website templates for content management systems, which initially appear cheaper and easier to put together than bespoke options. This may sound like an enticing proposition to someone with little experience of running or updating a site but there are big limitations.
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS service and one of the options they provide is a range of free and easy to use templates, so that anyone can run a website with relatively little training. Although it includes some customisable features, this service is better suited to those who just want to run a blog, as corporate sites will need a more tailor-made approach.
For those with e-commerce needs, Magento is a popular choice. It is designed with selling in mind and is used by many large brands. However, it can prove very tricky and time-consuming for developers to use and run and even more so for any people with no formal training. There is also the Amazon Webstore service for sellers but this also encounters very limited customisability and can prove expensive.
Your website is not something to take shortcuts with. It’s understandable that many businesses are feeling the pinch but a template-based website can end up actually costing more than a bespoke one. It is likely that sooner or later your website will be required to do some additional task, perhaps something unique to your business and it will be difficult, time-consuming and therefore expensive to incorporate into a predetermined template – if not impossible.
People in the world of business are used to seeing websites, lots of them, and those confined to a template are often easy to spot, which can have a pejorative impact on the business’ image.
You have a unique brand, therefore, your website should have a unique look. Working with a designer and a developer, rather than a preset outline, means that all aspects of your site can be custom built to suit your audience and purpose. If you want to make sure that every page has the opportunity to inspire visitors to make an enquiry or to promote your products or services in a way that fits your business, a bespoke site is likely the best option.
If you choose to have a bespoke design for your company’s site, you will not be so constrained by page layouts, fonts, colours, etc. as you would with a template. You have all the freedom in the world! But hold on. Just because you can have a navigation bar in the shape of a frog that goes “ribbet!” when you hover over it, doesn’t mean you should. I know we said ‘unique’ but come on… Don’t forget: audience, purpose, goals!!
Next week we’ll move onto layout, colours, fonts and imagery.
Have a fantastic weekend!
The other topics in this series:
Part 7: Redeveloping Your Website: Responsive
Part 6: 6 Redeveloping Your Website: The Design
Part 4: Redeveloping Your Website: Building Your Site
Part 3: Redeveloping Your Website: Know Your Audience
Part 2: Redeveloping Your Website: Start with Purpose
Part 1: An Introduction to Redeveloping Your Website