I have been having a lot of fun in this new environment of becoming a new Entrepreneur in London, Ontario. I have met so many people that its getting difficult to retain all the wonderful advice and knowledge that has been shared with me. In an attempt to remember some of their wisdom and also to show my thanks; I came up with this idea to record the conversations in a podcast.
All of our websites to date are exclusively built on the WordPress open source CMS. We believe this provides the most flexibility for expanding your web presence as your business grows. Also, because we don’t like to re invent the wheel. By utilizing existing solutions, open-source software, and popular web standards, we can help you save both time and money. But the best part is the community involvement. Never before in our lives have we seen as great a number of talented people helping one another create amazing products and services! We are not the only ones that think this way. He are a few more thoughts from another blog.
Why It May Be Better To Use Premium Themes Than To Design From Scratch
– By Garrett Vogenbeck www.holisticwebmedia.com
In the past several years, the premium website theme industry has exploded. Professional grade website themes designed by world-class designers are now available extremely cheap. Using these themes decreases costs in incredible ways, while minimizing maintenance problems and providing a superior product overall.
Business may still consider custom-from-scratch theme design, but should be aware that money saved on design can be put into marketing, social media, and content creation – business issues that are often overlooked during a website’s startup. New themes (i.e. designs) can often be applied to a website if it is based on a common content management system (CMS) like WordPress and using a standard content structure. Using a premium theme reduces initial costs, project timelines, risk, and switching costs.
The Difference Between Premium Themes, Free Themes, and Custom Theme Design
First off, let me explain the difference between a premium theme or free theme from custom theme design. A premium theme is a professionally made designer website theme that can easily be applied to a new website. There are several websites that sell premium WordPress themes, such as ThemeForest, Templatic, and WooThemes. A free theme is a theme available that can be applied to a website, but usually are of less quality and have less support. On the other hand, custom theme design involves the process of wireframing (i.e. hand-drawn/computer created layouts), graphic design, and programming to create a theme from scratch to fit requirement specifications exactly.
If you are a small business looking for a website, your best option may very well be to use the best stuff out there and keep it simple! Not all businesses will settle for a premium theme, but each is different, and that’s OK.
Prior to contacting a web designer, there are some tasks you can do that will help save you time and money. If you bring this information you will be in a great position for a productive collaboration. Here’s what you should do:
- Have some clearly defined goals for your new website
- Have an outline of steps you want each of your customers/readers to take
- Demonstrate your computer competency level
- Have an idea of the domain name you might like to use (if a new website)
- Pick out some key words you would like typed into a search engine for your site to be listed
- Provide as many pictures, logos and graphics as you possibly can
- Have a list of competitor’s websites and what you like or don’t like about each one
- Have a list of websites you like the look and feel of and why
- Determine whether you will be creating your own content or have a copy writer involved?
- Have a detailed description of timelines and budgets
- Decide how much editing you would like to do yourself
- Think about who will be managing your website month to month
- Decide on who will be maintaining and securing your website over time
There are several types of media that go into building a web site and not all of which may be done by one web designer. For example:
- The logo and graphics are usually created by an artist or graphic designer.
- If photos make up part of the graphics a photographer can do the job.
- The text that is written for you biography or about page as well as the business copy on other pages is crafted by content writers.
- If you have video, you are most likely going to use a production company to create it.
- To make you website rank in Google you will need help from a SEO specialist (Search Engine Optimization).
- Now with the popularity of Social Media, there is another expert that handles that.
So what does your web designer do then? There is plenty left for us to do with your website.
- The primary job is to get all of your media published to the Internet. Domains and hosting servers help to map the media file locations to addresses so that your website is accessible online.
- Then we determine the navigation of your media in the most logical manner. Menus allows users of the site the ability to find the information they are seeking and to guide them to take the actions requested by the business such as signing up for a newsletter.
- Next we add functionality such as fields and boxes to capture data, and scripts to track how many visits each page receives.
- Lastly, we blend all the media into one format to give the website a consistent feel. This includes font sizes, colour palettes, borders, sidebars, widgets, forms, headers, footers and overall design.
If you are mostly concerned with how your website looks vs how it feels and functions? You may want to consider hiring a graphic designer first and then a web designer second.
Did I miss anything? 😉