A lot has changed since I started coding websites. From what started as a hobby doing Geocities and Angelfire sites turned into an area of study and now a career. I am by no means an expert in all things web (which makes me want to brush up on different branches of web design)but I know what I like and don’t like. Working with small business owners, a lot of people are looking for a good central website that is an online representation of their business. But not just that anymore. They want websites to do much more now. They want it to generate traffic, bring in new customers, sell items, be a resource…they want it to shoot through a hoop of flames! And the best part is websites CAN do it. It’s absolutely amazing!
A lot of clients ask me what my take is with all the options out there for web. And my advice is simple – we need to figure out what you want to accomplish with your website. Do you want to have a blog? Do you want it to be interactive? Do you want it to be informational? Do you want to be able to edit the site yourself? Do you have time to stay up to date? Do you want to sell items on your site?
As a web designer here are my takes on the most common types of websites:
Exhibit A: Flash. I needed to put this first and say that I. DON’T. LIKE. FLASH. Yes, I know, hate me now. But I just think that a site made only on flash is hindering to any business’s internet potential for 1 simple reason: it is HORRIBLE for SEO. I think flash is great to implement on a regular site but otherwise, it’s just not logical for business. Flash sites are image based, search engines can’t pick up key words from images. They can be beautiful for personal sites, but if you’re trying to promote something or you want to have unique visitors come to your site, I just don’t recommend it because it’ll be harder for them to find you.
Ok, enough with the rant. 😀 Let’s move on.
Exhibit B: HTML. Geez, it has grown so much since I started working with websites. From tables to CSS to DHTML to XHTML to Java to PHP to HTML5…. It’s actually growing much faster than many can keep up with, including me. But, needless to say, the possibilities are practically endless. The great thing, in my opinion, is that HTML is the most basic form of language on the web. Why is this great? Because whatever your preference from the options of coding from above, it all starts with this language and grows from there. It’s like a tree with branches. As technology soars and more and more innovation is created with web-based development there is so much to choose from. Ok, so the main question probably is, “So what does this have to do with my business?”
As I said at the top of the post, it all comes down to 1 thing: what do you want to accomplish with your online presence? Simple. As. That. Based on the wants and needs of your company, your web designer should know what best suits your budget, time constraint, and goals.
A huge trend that I am seeing now in small business is many people wanting to edit their own sites after someone makes the initial template for them and publish it. My suggestion for this:WordPress. WordPress sums it up into 3 letters for me, w-o-w. There is so much that can be done with this platform. But the best thing that clients find so appealing is that they can log in and edit content, pictures, etc. as they see fit. Many end users are now using WordPress for not only blogging but their main sites as well. They’re able to create pages, link to their social media, and share information in an easy way.
So, you might be asking, “What type of websites do you use?” I love the flexibility and ease that WordPress provides (PHP based). I use this for 2 of my sites, this blog and He Said She Wed. Though these are both blog based websites, I have used WordPress in integration of actual websites as well which worked out nicely. I also love to stick with what I know, CSS. These 2 platforms have proven well for me, while I throw in a little Java here and there. This can be seen implemented on our main website, www.cocreativecartel.com. But I do know that being in this industry sticking with what I know is never good enough. So we’ll see where the industry takes me in the next few months and years. 🙂