lIt is said that the company website is like a business card of the company. The website is often the first thing which your prospective customer sees about your business. That is why the website should be stylish and represent well your brand. Your contact details and the information about what you want to sell to your customer, should be easily found.
In this article, I have gathered information about the design of the website, prices and other things like content that should be considered when creating a website.
If a company doesn’t happen to have a developer with a lot of free time and also a designer as well as usability skills, then I would pass on coding the website yourself. As alternative ways of creating a website, I would recommend creating it with either a Website builder or with a CMS. In both cases, you can create the website yourself or with the help of a professional. As next I’ll go through more about these two options.
Website builders are based on the idea that what you see is what you get. This means that you can already, while editing your website, see what the website will look like. The aim of a website builder is to make creating of a website as easy as possible for the user. For example, the technical side, such as the code and the hosting of the websites, are usually taken care of by the website builder and not the user. "It just works” could fit to describe website builders.
Large Website builder companies are, for example, WIX and Squarespace. They have been successful in the way that stylish websites can be created easily and thus they are good choices. For example, WIX is a traditional Drag & Drop type website builder, where you can place virtually what ever anywhere you want. The main challenges in this case are the mobile side, both on published websites and when editing it. In addition, when using Wix, it may be a good idea to consider professional help, as the fact that you can put anything anywhere often requires a design eye so that the end result is still stylish and usable. Many website builders, such as the mentioned WIX and Squarespace, have been on the market for a long time and thus face the challenge of an old technical burden. Thus, their use may be slightly slower compared to newer technology website builders.
In my opinion, most small businesses today should choose a website builder for creating a website. You can then create the websites yourself or use a professional. Which ever way you decide, usually using website builder is a good choice because later editing content will be easier than in for example a CMS and there will more likely be less technical dilemmas to solve. Website builders are designed to be easy to use so that creating a website would be as easy as possible, but also for the maintaining of the website to also be easy.
Oidom is a website builder we develop. It is equipped with the latest technologies to make it quick to use. Best thing is that the websites Oidom create are static. Static websites load very fast and are safe. We also do not use Drag & Drop. There are two basic reasons for this. Without D&D, we were able to create a website builder, where editing websites is easy and also works well on a mobile phones. In addition, Websites created with Oidom are responsive.
Oidom's basic steps for creating a free website:
There are already many customers who have made stunning websites with Oidom. Creating a website with Oidom is free. So you can take all the time you want creating a website. When you publish the website, you will also get additional 30 days free. Create your free Oidom account here.
An alternative to a website builder is a content management system (CMS). The best known and most successful of these systems is WordPress. Other successful ones are Joomla and Drupal. The secret to WordPress’s success is undoubtedly its versatility, backed by a large community. In WordPress, the best feature propably is add-ons. With add-ons you can create a lot of nice things to your website.
Using CMS however requires more time to familiarize yourself to it than a website builder, because CMS is less intuitive. There’s also more work expected to maintain a CMS and you are more likely to require professional help.
WordPress or some other content management system is undoubtedly a very good choice in certain cases where the use is already familiar and there is a requirement for more functionality than what is in normal websites.
Before making a choice between a website builder and a CMS, you should think if you prefer the ease of use and maintaining a website or is some CMS with some add-ons to it the best option? Many tend to choose the feature rich option although it might make more sense to take the option which offers maybe slightly less features, but features which are more user friendly. What my experience is that most websites out there could easily be done with a website builder, but surprisingly many have chosen the harder route of using CMS and especially WordPress.
The most expensive way to make a website is to use the help of a professional. It can however be well justified to outsource the website creation as professional can help with the style and content of the website leaving you to concentrate to other things. When using a professional, you usually still provide the content yourself, but then the person who creates the website adds and modifies the content to fit the website. Also you probably get a few layout suggestions from the website creator. Nowadays, also professionals use either website builder or a CMS to create the site.
The cost of outsourcing website creation: You pay the website author either a one time fee, an hourly rate, or a combination of these. Outsourcing websites generally costs from a few hundred to thousands of euros for small businesses. In addition to this, you should keep in mind the cost of maintaining a website.
So from hundreds of euros to thousands for small businesses as a one time fee + maintenance costs (if just hosting the website: usually more than 10 €/mo, if includes editing then probably more than 100€/mo).
On website builders, it is possible to use ready-made website templates and customize the layout to your liking. Thus, there is no need to pay separately for the layout. In addition, the package usually includes website maintenance, ie the servers where the websites are maintained, as well as technical updates. Content is something that the user still needs to do themselves. Thus, website builder is an affordable solution for especially for small and start-up companies with a tight budget. In addition, creating a website may not take a lot more of your time in relation to a professionally implemented site, as in both cases you will probably have to create the content yourself.
Website builder prices:
Website builders usually have multiple packages with varying prices. For companies the prices usually start at around 15 euros upwards per month. Packages to individuals a bit cheaper. Oidom has one price of 7.90 € / month (VAT 0) and it includes all the features of Oidom.
When the implementation is done with outside help, starting prices approach a thousand euros. Maintenance depends a lot on how heavy the implementation is so f.ex how many add-ons have been used. Add-ons might also cost a few euros per month or they might have some freemium version. For some installations a web hosting plan might be sufficient and then the prices start from a few euros a month. More robust solutions can cost hundreds of euros a month.
WordPress has its own service WordPress.com where you can maintain WordPress sites. Its prices for companies start at 25 euros per month.
Price of websites coded by yourself :
Time spent + platform where the website is maintained (prices start from approx. 8 € / month).
Your website represents your business, so of course it is important that the website looks good and that visitors there can effortlessly find what they are looking for.
A good way to find inspiration for the design and content structure of your website is to take a closer look at the kind of websites you like to use. You could also visit your competitors' websites and think about what there might also work for you and what you could do better.
Before you start experimenting with different color options for your website and what great blocks you’d add to it, take a few moments to design your content, if you don’t already have it ready.
Roughly list what your website is for: what you want the user to do there and what it takes to do it. If you want, you can also outline the page structure at the title level and the necessary elements. Even such a small plan will make it easier to choose the right structure for your website. At this point, you don’t have to write complete content for websites yet, but you can fill more later when something comes to your mind.
If you’re making a website for your business and you have graphical guidelines, it’s a good idea to make color and font choices with them in mind. In many cases, the guidelines specify fonts for use online, and the colors can also be found in at least HEX format, which can be fed directly to most website builders and content management systems. If your company does not have official graphic guidelines, but you have made printed products (business cards, brochures, etc.), you should keep the style of the website in line with them.
When designing the structure, graphic look and color scheme of the site, pay special attention to usability. Make sure all key elements and content (such as contacts) are easily accessible. Especially when choosing the colors to be used, it is also good to keep in mind the details related to accessibility: the text should stand out clearly from the background and when choosing colors it is worth considering color-blind users as well. Tools for testing different color combinations are available online, such as Adobe's Accessibility tool, where you can enter two different colors and the page tells you if the contrast between them is sufficient. On the same page, under the Tools section on left, you will also find the "Color Blind Safe" tool, which simulates the contrast of different colors with the eyes of a color-blind person.
The current trend on websites is the use of large images (i.e. Hero images) and background videos right at the top of the page. In Oidom, adding Hero images is easy. If you don't already have a suitable image in mind, you can use Oidom's built-in Unsplash image bank, where you are sure to find a high-quality image that suits your needs. You can add background video in Oidom with Vimeo.
You can add a modern look to your site with the help of parallax scrolling effect. In Parallax scrolling, when you scroll the page down, the background scrolls slower than the elements on top of it (like text ) creating a nice modern effect.
This is how it looks like in Oidom made website:
The loading speed of a website matters. It is especially important that the website load times are not just low , but consistent. People visiting your website will leave the website very quickly if it loads slowly or inconsistently. Also search engines know this so it can affect your website ranking in Google.
In content management systems, you have to optimize the speed-related settings and technical solutions related to it yourself or with the help of a consultant, where as in Oidom we take care of them for you. For example, you can test how fast the links on top of this website load. The latest technologies we use enable both Oidom's editor and the websites created with it to be fast. Read more about the importance of website speed in our blog article.
In addition, much care should be taken to ensure that the website is responsive, ie that the website scales to different screen sizes so that they work smoothly also on mobile devices. Content management systems can sometimes require a lot of effort to fit everything on the screen without anything (like f.ex. texts) overlapping. It's a good idea to keep an eye on this as you make new content updates. When we started to develop Oidom one of the most important things was that websites created with Oidom have to be responsive.
It is often thought that the decisive factor for the visibility of a website would be the technology used to create the website. That is not the case. Search engines are made for people, so search engines also try to specifically provide the user with the best possible content in their search results, no matter what the website technology is. Therefore, the content and usability of the website are the most important factors.
It is still true that there are some technical things that do contribute to the search engine visibility. Those things matter that also affect the user: website loading speed, responsiveness and uptime. You should also add Metadata to your website on every page, but that nowadays can be done with any software.
So in search engine optimization, you should focus on quality content. You should provide content on your website that is of interest to your visitors. A good example is quality blog articles. They can be very helpful to the web site visitor so they can also rank well with some keywords. Learn more about search engine optimization in my blog article.
Always remember to provide the basic information about your company where it can be easily seenlike your contact details and the product information. For example a restaurant, they should clearly show on their website where to find their restaurant, what are the current opening hours, where to call and, on the other hand, what kind of food do they offer.Even better if they have added some delicious food images. Think like your customer and why he or she will come to your website. If you want a customer to order something from your website or fill out a form, you should clearly display a call to action.
I would divide the maintenance of the website into three parts: hosting the website, technical updates and fixes and updating the content. You might use a server, a virtual server, a web host, etc to host your website. On the technical side: fixing technical problems, bugs, or other problems that can, at worst, crash your website you might do those yourself or get a third party to do it, if you are not using a sitebuilder. Editing website content is usually done by the person or company owning the website.
Website builders usually take care of the hosting part as well as technical problems related to the operation of the websites. In this case, the customer only has to edit the content himself. In content management systems, the maintenance of the servers is usually outsourced, so the websites are hosted by a web host. Technical issues can either be then resolved by a separate third party or the customer himself.
Most of the time the company or user who owns the website is the one who updates the content. For this reason, it is smart to look for a software for keeping up the website that can easily be used by a regular person as the people working for company might change.
E-commerce software can be its own applications, but also some website builders offer their own e-shop or they may include a third-party e-commerce solution. Well-known e-commerce software are for example Shopify and Ecwid.
You can easily add Ecwid to Oidom with embedded code: you can get a code snippet from Ecwid and you just need to copy and paste it into Oidom.
In content management systems, it is also possible to add an online store. For example, WordPress sites often use Woocommerce.
While this post is primarily about creating websites, I can’t help but mention domains and emails in the same context. Domains, such as oidom.fi or oidom.com, are an important part of websites and every company should have its own domain as it makes the website feel more professional.
Also at Oidom, you can easily add your own domain to the website and you can get a domain from any service you want (by contacting us, we can also recommend good and cheap providers).
Your website should have emails with your own domain, again giving a professional feel. I recommend getting the best email service on the market, Gmail. You can also associate your own domain with Gmail Workspace. This way, you can conveniently get your websites and emails up and running with the help of Oidom and Gmail.
I hope you were able to find this article helpful when creating your website. If you became interested to try if Oidom would be a good solution to create your website, you can try Oidom here for free. You can create your website for free and after publishing you still get additional 30 days free!