Your website is an integral part of your business. Not only does it provide information about what you do, why you’re great at it, and your pricing, it also serves as an opportunity to establish yourself as an industry expert any time someone does an online search about what you have to offer.
Business sites also enable efficiency, as your prospects get a sense of your brand and can browse at their leisure instead of having to call you several times any time they have a question. It also enables you to better promote your business, particularly if you’ve discovered the wonders of inbound marketing.
Therefore, it behooves you to design a website that provides a good user experience (UX). But when you look at your options, you realize that there’s a wide range of options and prices. Specifically, it all hinges on whether you create a custom website or build it using templates. Let’s take a closer look at both options.
What Is Custom Website Design?
Whether it is a b2b website design or b2c, custom websites are built from scratch. This involves using code to create the customizable elements you want to include on your site. As a result, you have full control over how the site will look and function.
Because of its complexity, you’ll need to either hire an in-house developer or hire a web design agency to design it for you.
Pros of Building a Custom Website
Building a custom website allows you to create exactly what you’re envisioning. You also won’t have any limitations regarding integrations with applications, functionalities, or scalability.
Cons of Building a Custom Website
Building a custom website is expensive and takes a long time to complete. While the timeframe may vary, you should expect it to take close to four to six months. You also need to look for a highly skilled team of web developers to do this for you, since it’s unlikely that the tech savvy go-to person on your team knows everything there is to know about coding (if they do, kudos to them — and give them a raise!)
What Is a Website Template?
Website templates are predesigned elements that you piece together to bring your website to life. You can browse through a platform’s template library to look for any that match what you’re looking for. You can then make slight modifications regarding layout and colors to align them with your brand identity. You can also add more personality by including visual elements, such as images, videos, and modules.
Pros of Building a Website Using a Template
Website templates are helpful if you are looking to design a simple website. There are hundreds of thousands of templates to choose from, so you don’t necessarily have to feel too limited by going with this option.
Templates are also easy to use; and depending on the website builder you choose (such as HubSpot), they may come with drag-and-drop capabilities that require no coding knowledge.
Cons of Building a Website Using a Template
Although you don’t have to feel too limited by using a template, there are limits to what you can do with this type of website. Some templates may not be designed to enable some of the features you’d like to include; or implement a layout that makes sense for your business; or make it easy to modify as your business grows.
When to Use a Website Template Design
Just because custom websites can give you exactly what you want, it doesn’t mean that templates can’t provide you what you need. In fact, templates are an ideal solution if any of these circumstances apply to your business:
Maybe you’re a startup or there are bigger priorities for which you need to allocate your resources. Using templates can still allow you to design a beautiful website with all of the main functionalities you need, such as background banners, desired typography, and a responsive design.
Some websites don’t really need bells and whistles. This is especially the case for smaller businesses and solopreneurs. This doesn’t mean that your site has to look basic or cheap. You can purchase higher end templates or hire a web developer to make it look state-of-the-art.
Since templates don’t require complex coding (and many of the modules are already created), websites that are designed using them can be completed in a much shorter time frame.
No Coding Knowledge
Using premade modules, CTA builders, and drag-and-drop functionalities eliminates the need to have any coding knowledge. That being said, you still can implement code to achieve exactly what you want to achieve, but you can still create a functional website without it.
When to Create a Custom Website
Custom websites can be created around your specific needs and marketing strategies. This is the best solution for your business if any of the following considerations apply to you:
If the nature of your business requires that you incorporate a complicated website structure, a custom design will save you a lot of time going back and forth trying to get it right. In addition, since so many websites are created using templates, yours may end up looking similar to others.
Custom websites are also ideal for businesses who want to include a lot of graphics, interactive content, a modern storefront, quizzes, online scheduling, order status, or customer portals, for example.
Custom websites can be modified whenever you want, and include whatever you want. This makes it much easier to include additional features and functionalities as you expand your products/service offerings.
You Have Plenty of Time
Building a website from scratch requires a lot of time and patience. You’ll be waiting several months before you can launch it, so even if you do have the money to pay for a big ticket website, make sure you aren’t constrained by a specific deadline.
You Have a Larger Budget
Custom websites cost tens of thousands of dollars. The bigger the website and the more features and functionalities you want to add, the more expensive it’ll become. You’re also paying for highly skilled professionals to do the job for you.
More Control Over User Experience (UX)
You want your website to be intuitive and easy to navigate. You want to create specific paths for website visitors, depending on where they are on their buyer’s journey. You may also want people who browse through their mobile phones to be able to do so by simply using their thumb to click around. While a lot of templates do allow for many of these functionalities, creating a custom website lets you incorporate every single requirement you have.
Require Multiple Integrations
A website’s ability to integrate with other software is crucial to provide a seamless customer experience. This is also necessary to make things easier for your team. For example, you may need your site to communicate with your CRM, email, customer service software, social media accounts, and any other critical tools your business relies on. The more add-ons you need, the more it makes sense to create a custom website that conforms to these requirements.
Things to Consider If You Have a Lower Budget
What happens if you would love to get a custom website, but it’s not possible to do so with your current budget? You can still create a visually appealing and effective website using templates. However, look for those that allow you to easily incorporate the following:
Not all website templates are responsive to smaller screens. This is a problem, since most people conduct a significant amount of online searches from their phones; and if your site isn’t loading fast enough or they have to keep scrolling sideways to get your info, they’ll simply go look for a competitor that offers a better user experience.
Search engine optimization is what increases the likelihood of your website being found when your target audience does a Google search. There are many factors to consider to make this possible — such as page loading times, HTML tags, including appropriate headings, meta descriptions, alt text for images, URL format, etc… Some templates include HTML that makes it a lot easier for search engines to make sense of the content. Others don’t load fast enough, or (as mentioned in the point above) aren’t responsive to mobile devices. If you’re using templates, make sure they don’t interfere with any SEO elements.
Whether Third-Party Applications Will Slow Down Page Speed
Sometimes you need features that aren’t included with certain templates. This is solved by integrating third-party applications, which can enable things such as eCommerce, creating pop up forms, or getting SEO recommendations. While they are great ways to implement functionalities that the template alone doesn’t provide, some of them may cause your site to load slower. So if you choose to go the template route, make sure to work with developers who know how to address this issue.
As you can see, there are many considerations that come into play when deciding whether you should build a custom site or use templates. But with the right web developers, the process can become as simple as possible.
Image Credit: Photo by Monoar Rahman from Pexels
A business website is an important and essential way to establish your company’s digital presence, share your message and display your brand. However, designing a website from scratch requires a lot of planning and consideration.
As successful business leaders, many members of Young Entrepreneur Council have experience creating effective business websites from the bottom up. Below, 10 of them shared what they believe should be the first considerations you should make when designing a new website for your business.
1. Your Ownership
The single most important thing to do when creating a new website is to make sure there is one, very important sentence in your contract: "If at some point I want to take ownership of the content of my site and move it to another company, I will pay you X amount, and my website and all of the content within it will be mine completely." I was in a situation where I tried to switch website companies, and they wanted to hold my website and all of the content hostage. I am so grateful I penciled in that one sentence before I signed the contract! - Sheila Nazarian, Nazarian Plastic Surgery
2. Your Call To Action
What is the call to action (CTA)? Every website should usher the visitor toward a single point of action that represents the next step in the buyer's journey. If your website isn't prompting the reader to take that next step, it's incomplete. At several points, but especially at the end of the content layout, you should gently encourage the reader to proceed to the next phase. The key is to emphasize that doing so is for their benefit, not yours. Make it clear that there's something they can learn or use by moving forward with your CTA. - Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
3. Your Mobile Experience
Focus on the mobile experience first, then worry about the desktop experience. For most businesses, your customers will be visiting from their phones more often than their desktops. Cut down on what isn't necessary. Look at your current analytics and consider the features used. Do users care about the live chat feature? Are people not scrolling down the page to see your lead form or main call to action? If not, get rid of the chat feature and move the call to action up on the page. - Chase Williams, Market My Market
4. Analytics And Tracking
SEO, UX/UI and user journeys should all be top priorities when designing a new site, but one of the most important aspects that you need to consider at the start of building out a site is analytics and tracking. You can make informed decisions when building out a site, but ultimately, you won't know how your users will navigate your site and the type of content they gravitate to the most until you get the site in their hands. Analytics and tracking data are crucial in order to understand your users and allow your team to make data-driven decisions to improve your site. Your customers should be what drive your site improvements and changes, and without a robust data-collecting system, you will be spending money on content and features users won't even look at. - Ryan D Matzner, Fueled
5. User Experience
User experience is everything. UX/UI is so often overlooked. People just want to sell and feature their services or products and fail to take into consideration the thought process and mentality of new eyeballs on their site. They assume people know what and who they are, what they offer and how it works, etc. Design for people as if they know nothing about you, your services or your products. Don't make them search for it or try to figure it out. It should be in their face. They should be able to ascertain within seconds of hitting your site what you're all about. - Scott Levy, Fuel Online
6. The Platform You Choose
When designing a business website from scratch, it is important to consider how user-friendly the platform it's built on will be long term. Unless your company has a web designer on staff full time, having a website that's easy for anyone on your team to edit will be the difference between a current, up-to-date website and one that sits around with outdated info waiting for someone to make changes. - Rachel Lipson, Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People
7. How Pages Are Named
A seemingly simple yet extremely important consideration when first building a business website from scratch is how the pages are named, including the URL slug of the pages. These items impact how search engines will rank each page, so they should be well-researched and planned. The page title and URL slug both indicate to search engines what the main topics and types of information are on the webpage, which the search engines then use to compare with the content within the page. When these items don’t seem to match up, search rankings can suffer. So, it’s wise to use an SEO tool, freelancer or agency to help with planning your page titles and URLs when launching a new business website. - Richard Fong, SecurityForward.com
8. Your Website’s Purpose
It is vital in the world of the internet to have an online presence, whether you have an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store. Websites increase your brand’s credibility, convey your brand’s message to the user or consumer and make your business discoverable in search engine results. The first thing you should do before you dive into the technical aspects of building a website or having one built for you is determine what your website’s purpose is. Why do you need a website? Who will your primary users be? How will your website meet your customers’ needs? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can determine how to best meet their needs and relay the information in a clear, concise and aesthetically appealing way. - Ian Sells, Rebate Key Inc.
9. Your Content And Message
A major factor in the success or failure of any business website is communication. You have to ensure your website has a clear and unified message for visitors, as this is what drives sales and inspires them to do business with you. When designing a website, it is crucial to write high-quality, original content that is relevant to your company and customers as everything from the quality of your content to the keywords used affects your site's ranking in search engine results. - Chimezie Emewulu, Seamfix Limited
10. Your Branding And Theme
When designing a business website, it's important to consider your branding and theme. If your site's appearance isn't cohesive, it'll appear unprofessional and few visitors will take your business seriously. It's crucial to create a clean, cohesive design that's user-friendly and leads visitors where you want them to go. This ensures they can easily navigate your site and engage with your content. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
Image Credit: Pixabay
Thanks to the Three Digital Accelerators I identified in the early ’80s, which include computing power/processing power, storage, and bandwidth, we as a global society are at a time of extreme connectivity. Exponential digital technology is transforming every business process, and massive disruptions are at every turn.
The reality is those Three Digital Accelerators are only going to continue to increase, and as a result, digital disruptions will become even more widespread than they already are. So, with that being said, what are you doing as a business leader or what is your organization doing as a whole to embrace transformative digital technology rather than resist it?
More importantly, are you as an organization embracing it, or do you feel your organization is merely pivoting to get by?
Digital Technology Simplifies Our Lives
The fact of the matter is that digital disruptions are what I refer to as a Hard Trend, or a future certainty that will happen, and try as you might, a digital disruption of any kind will inevitably find its way into your industry, organization, or specific department.
While that might sound intrusive, trust me when I say that digital disruptions are a positive thing! Let’s use an example that is not solely limited to business, but something that is present in our everyday lives: smartphones and tablets.
If we turn the clocks back well over a century ago, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone as a device to more quickly and efficiently communicate with one another at a moment’s notice. Many years later, around the ’90s, we finally started to see the dawn of the mobile phone, which made it possible for us to call one another while out and about, simplifying our lives. You wouldn’t buy milk and eggs at the grocery store if you could call your spouse at home and discover that you already had some, saving you time and money.
Fast-forward a little bit more, and we now have smartphones; personal computers in our front pockets and purses. This has simplified our lives even further by connecting us to both the internet and one another via texting, video calls, and more.
Disruptions Breed Business Diversity and Longevity
In our personal lives, technology improves and simplifies our lives. But when so many jobs transform and potentially even go away thanks to exponential digital transformation, how could this possibly be a good thing?
The answer is simple: Consider a Hard Trend that change is the only constant. Customer wants and needs are always evolving with the times, and this means that your business always has unlimited opportunity to grow.
Think back to our telephone example for a moment. Imagine a world where the first telephone was good enough. Think of all the careers that have stemmed from the connectivity of the internet, from smartphones and tablets, or even older iterations of mobile phones; none of that would exist! Without disruptive technology that simplifies and revolutionizes processes, your organization might never have reached the heights it is at now.
The ripple effect that disruption in general creates can be linked heavily to the diversity and longevity of an organization, as change in the world gives it a chance to grow indefinitely. Are some disruptions detrimental? Yes.
Using Hard Trends to Be the Disruptor
Disruption is like physics: An object at rest tends to stay at rest… until something or someone thrusts it into motion, that is. My Anticipatory Organization Model teaches an individual to use the tools available to them to put them in the driver’s seat of that disruption.
A large part of my Anticipatory Organization Model is rooted in my Hard Trend Methodology. Identifying Hard Trends that will shape your industry both inside and out and separate them from Soft Trends that are open to influence set you ahead of the disruptive curve.
Again referencing our telephone example, but from a business perspective: If you were a company that installed landline telephones, mobile phones certainly disrupted your status quo in an unfavorable way.
However, if you viewed the onset of cordless landlines emerging in the early ’90s as the Hard Trend that it was, you likely leveraged that information to start getting involved in the cordless mobile phone and, eventually, smartphone industries.
A disruption might not always be on a silver platter in your lunchroom, but when you utilize my Hard Trend Methodology to identify the future certainties shaping the world both inside and outside of your industry, it can be. Being able to anticipate what is to come by understanding future certainties effectively lets you send the disruption into motion first to your and your industry’s benefit.
A United Futureview
Because this methodology gives you the chance to disrupt, it is equally as easy to foster a shared Futureview at your organization, which is a healthy environment for both innovation and a positive outlook on transformative digital technology.
No longer will your employees or organization as a whole look at digital disruptions as a bad thing that must be merely “dealt with,” or try to protect and defend legacy systems in place of new developments for fear that those new developments will discredit their entire career.
When an organization demonstrates knowledge and confidence in how change leads to more opportunities for both the organization and the employees, those workers feel as though they can trust the organization with the future of their career and trust that there is a future in front of them.
Ultimately, when you are in charge of how digital technology disrupts, those disruptions will always be a positive thing.
Technographic data plays a key role in the success of any business. It’s among the essential technologies and tools companies should use for better operations and more effective processes.
A great example of technographic data is the infrastructure and network tools they’re using to the applications they prefer and the adoption rate of these applications at scale.
Technographics can include information about how and when your customers use a certain technology. Technographic data provides insights into the tools prospects use, what the purpose of their use is, how long they’ve used this technology, and other aspects.
What is technographic data
Technographic data is information that describes how certain technologies are used, what challenges they may cause businesses, and others. Technographics, which is the combination of “technology” and “demographics”, is the analysis of the technologies that a business uses and its ability in buying new technology.
Technographics contain insights about the technology stack of your potential customers and how they use their technology. Without technographics, you have no insights into how the company operates, how it makes certain purchase decisions, etc. 71% of organizations say that closing more deals is their main priority. Implementing technographic data is very important, as it positively impacts lead generation and customer success activities.
There’s a clear distinction between technographic data and social technographics segments. Technographic data is about the use of software, networking technologies, and hardware within the company.
And the main focus of social technographic data is the company’s consumption and use of social media. It’s useful for a company’s marketing efforts. But it’s important to note that social technographic data as technographic data used for B2B marketing efforts.
What is a technographic profile
Technographic data offers companies useful insights into their target audience. A technographic profile is a summary of their technology usage. It can be a profile of an individual or a company. And understanding a technographic profile is key to learning more about their buying habits.
When it comes to an individual’s technographic profile, there are six different types of profiles. These are also thought of as a ladder, from least to most active. The individual technographic profiles include:
Technographics data is very beneficial for tech companies and B2B SaaS companies.
Technology characteristics are helpful for identifying ideal leads for companies like these. A company’s technographic profile is not about online engagement. It’s mostly about businesses’ hardware and software use.
Importance of technographic data
Technographic data provides valuable insights into how companies use technology. When you combine this data with marketing and sales activities, it offers useful insights to boost conversion rates. Here are some of the most important benefits of technographic data:
Technographics complement firmographic data and help companies better estimate customers’ will to buy technology.
Technographic data gives an overview of the technological stacks of a particular company. It helps companies to better understand their customers and assess more sales opportunities. Technographics is a market segmentation tool that can boost your lead generation by providing insights into customers’ buying and selling habits. Companies use technographic data to alight their marketing strategies and plans with their target customers.
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.