Developing Your Website
Website development can be carried out in many ways – you could adopt an existing WordPress theme and deploy it for your site. Several of them are available for free. If you don’t currently have a website, a domain name can be purchased for as little as $1. There are also mobile-friendly WordPress themes, and all you need to zero in on one which you think would be great for your site and populate it with content.
This is the easy way. But unfortunately, your website ends up looking like a lot of others (you might have already noticed striking design similarities between a lot of websites that you visit), and there is really not much of anything to differentiate it, apart from the content. Because you have no control over the code, you cannot optimise your site to figure higher in search engine rankings. Your website ends up being there for show and not really adding to your bottom line by way of bringing in more business. Is that what you really want?
Get your website done professionally
Professional web developers will customize your website for you so they experience the ‘wow’ effect. This makes them want to do business with your straight away. If you want it to be more formal, your web developer(s) will still work with you, taking extreme care to ensure that your visitors get the right first impression of you or your organization. That, as you may already know, counts for a lot – first impressions are often the best impressions.
This is the reason why there are a lot of people who choose a professional web developer over a free website development tool. The leaders in any business segment do not use free site building resources.
There is also another reason why the leaders continue to stay the top – SEO. Search engine optimization, as it is known in full, refers to the practice to changing web design elements so that search engines index the pages or the site higher. This brings in more visitors and leads to more business. With free WordPress themes, it might not be possible.
- Videos are the most consumed form of content today. If you include a video on your site, that improves its SEO rankings instantly. A Forrester Research study finds that having a video on your homepage increases by 53x the chances of you figuring in the top ten search results. Why this is important is because only ten results are displayed per page – and 90% of those who search for a particular keyword or set of keywords never get past the first page.
- You could embed a YouTube video using WordPress, but because of the code (this is how search engine bots determine there is indeed a video on your site), it takes them longer to figure it out. There are two alternatives to this – you could host the video on your site (there is no need to upload it to YouTube first), and your visitors could stay longer on your website to watch the video. This could have the effect of converting them to ‘buyers’. If you choose to embed a YouTube video, it is easier for a search engine bot to crawl through the line of code that mentions the YouTube URL when it has been done in a clean way. This is something that only a professional web developer can accomplish.
You can optimise your site for SEO
Content remains king. A lot of websites that are ranked at the top have keyword-rich content. The same content on a WordPress site doesn’t deliver the same results. This is because professional web developers know what search engine bots look for, and optimise the code accordingly, without compromising on the look-and-feel of the website.
Have a better Content Management System for your website
WordPress is good, but there are others which are even better. SilverStripe, for example. The latter lets you have more control over what you would like to do. For instance, when someone signs ups to your site with his/her email address, you could send a welcome email immediately. If you compare the code of sites that use SilverStripe with those that use WordPress, you would immediately notice that SilverStripe sites have ‘cleaner’ code, which is easier to read and understand. This also leads to the SilverStripe sites being ranked higher simply because search engine bots can understand these better than complicated codes which refer other elements. In other words, there are more keywords for search engines to index accordingly. A professional web developer would be able to tell you this.
A professional web developer knows which plug-ins work with which browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Internet Explorer) and operating systems. He/she can then do the needful so that your website delivers a top-notch, consistent user experience across all browsers and operating systems. With his/her experience, he/she will also avoid the plug-ins that may be universal, but have the effect of slowing down your site, and use alternate ones. The more experienced web developers know how to deliver the same experience without using any plug-ins at all in the first place.
Web developers know how to crash-proof websites. They test their websites, with the intention of crashing it, and do not deliver the final version until and unless they know it can withstand a barrage of traffic. They also test for bugs to see if it performs as expected – your existing/prospective clients are likely to be put off by a ‘glitchy’ Do-It-Yourself site.
You do not have the advantage of crash-proofing your site with a free WordPress theme.
Better user experience
Have you noticed that when you click on an image to view it in higher resolution, one of the following two things happens?
- A blurred image appears at first, and as more data is downloaded, it becomes clearer.
- The top part of the full image appears first, followed by another small part, and then another, until the whole image is downloaded.
If you were a user, which do you think would be better? A professional web developer can see to it that the first is what happens and not the second.
A mobile-friendly site leads to more visitors
There are now more connected mobile devices than the world population. This means that the average person on Earth has more than one mobile device. This trend is expected to continue, with there being 11.6 billion mobile devices by 2020, according to Cisco. The world population by then is projected to be only 7.58 billion, pointing to the increasing importance of mobile devices for internet access. As of 2015, the total number of mobile-only internet users has exceeded PC-only internet users.
More people will be accessing your site using their mobile devices, and if your website is not mobile-friendly, you lose out on business. It is people with mobile devices that already form the majority of buyers, and a seamless experience across all devices – be it PC, tablet or smartphone – is important to 83% of them. Only a professional web developer can make your website mobile-friendly along with other advantages as well. Google updated its search algorithm in April 2015 to award higher rankings to sites that are ‘mobile-friendly’. Even though there are WordPress themes that claim to be Responsive Web Design-compliant, you only need access them on your smartphone or tablet to see if they are all that they say they are.
A web developer can integrate social media onto your website. This goes beyond merely linking out to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest pages. Professional web developers can enable comments in such a way that social media users can post directly without having to go through the process of having to sign up first and/or complete a captcha in the process; since their user accounts have already been verified by social networking sites. This can turn out to be extremely useful when it comes to SEO.
Could WordPress do this? If you look around, functionality is limited – comments are restricted to those who already have user accounts with WordPress. More specialized tools help, but these too might allow only those who have signed up to Disqus and/or Gmail to post their comments.
An interesting blog post could keep the conversation flowing, leading to increased user interest on your pages. They could also ‘connect’ with you via the social media platform of their choice, and you could respond to them immediately, improving your brand reputation in the process. You become known as ‘customer-friendly’ organization/company and this leads to more sales.
Remember, the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times the cost of retaining an existing one. A professionally done website can help you achieve this goal, and save you thousands of dollars in the process.
Is it worth it?
A professional web designer will pull out all stops to guarantee that you look your best in the online world. He/she will also perform routine maintenance tasks such as website backup, so that you can be back in an instant even if something happens to your website. And the best part is, he/she will conform to your budget. If you need any help with your web development project you can contact us here.