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Considering a new website? Read this first!

Considering a new website? Read this first!

Is your website is looking a little dated or isn’t working the way you need it to anymore? It may be time for a revamp or a new site. But where do you start?

Google ‘Website designers’ and you’ll be inundated with thousands of agencies all promising you beautiful mobile responsive websites. The options can be overwhelming, and will vary significantly in cost. The whole process can seem daunting and long winded. One of your worries may be selecting the wrong agency or freelancer that won’t suit your business or budget. Fear not, we’ve listed a few pointers below which may help you when making your final decision.

CMS – You’ll hear this acronym pop up alot when looking for a new website. CMS stands for content management system, it’s simply the system that allows you to control and manage the content within your website. Without a decent CMS you’ll probably have to reply on a developer to make updates to your site, which can be inconvenient and costly.

What CMS should you use? Choices are endless, from WordPress, Joomla, Wix, Squarespace and hundreds of others. These are just different types of content management systems. Some have slight more edge that the others, may be easier to install, use and manage. WordPress has consistently maintained the highest position in the CMS market because it’s so easy to use, looks great, and there’s a plugin for just about everything (a plugin is a WordPress add on that can extend functionality or add new features).

If you want to sell online? WordPress has its own shopping cart called Woocommerce, which is super easy to set up and manage. Pre Built ecommerce stores like Shopify are ideal for getting up and running quickly, with great features all geared around ecommerce. For heavier sites you may want consider a more robust platform like Magento, it’s scalable, designed to cope with thousands of products, and won’t cave in under pressure. Nike, Samsung, Nestle are just some of the bigger brands that use and rely on Magento for seamless ecommerce.

How much does a new website cost?

Out of the box solutions, such as Wix and Squarespace, are mainly pay monthly solutions, with an option to use one of their pre-built templates. The monthly cost usually includes hosting, SSL and your website. The advantages of these kind of platforms are that they are quick to set up with no big initial overhead. The downside is, they are pretty restrictive when it comes to customisation, integration, and unique functionality.

Web agencies build sites specific to your requirements. A bespoke website is based on the unique pages and functionality required. A decent agency will work with you to scope out your website requirements to put together a total build cost. Bespoke sites will usually consist of wireframe design (like a blueprint of how your site will work), visuals (how each page will look) and development. Dependant on the calibre of agency, be prepared to pay a small agency at least £4,000, larger agencies will charge considerably more.

Sometimes a bespoke site isn’t always necessary. A pre-built website otherwise known as a theme, is a great option for if on a budget with straight forward requirements. Most themes have a one off cost, from as little as $29 and can be customised to your brand by changing colours, logo, fonts and images. You can check out industry specific themes on themeforest. If you’re on a budget, look on sites like PeoplePerHour to find a developer who can do the install, customisation, etc.

Whether you decide to use a freelance developer or a web agency to make your new site, it’s important to make sure you fully understand the process, timeframes, and what is included and what isn’t i.e. who will crop and edit images, write/add content, host the site, add an SSL certificate etc. Remember you don’t have to use the web agency to host your site, shop around for competitive hosting prices, your web agency will just need your hosting account login details in order to set up your site.

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