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Professional Websites

Bespoke Web Design For Small Businesses

Pro­fes­sional web design adds value that stand­ardised solu­tions just can’t provide. Advanced fea­tures and bespoke user exper­i­ences boost sales and com­pet­it­iveness, leading to faster growth.

Still, such custom work takes time and skill to analyse, design and implement. So Simple Sites aim to help small busi­nesses on limited budgets. When those aren’t enough – or even if you just aren’t sure – get in touch to discuss your goals.

Why Professional Website Design?

Exper­ience matters when assessing advanced website pro­jects. There may be several solu­tions, some using common (or uncommon) com­ponents, whilst others may need to be designed and built from scratch. The details of your goals and cir­cum­stances will affect which of these will be most suitable.

Some­times, it’s pretty obvious that you need more than a basic solution. Common pro­fes­sional web design require­ments include:

  • Bespoke Web Design — mem­orable branding and premium design ser­vices help your company stand out
  • Word­Press devel­opment — Word­Press is so flexible that most CMS pro­jects use it.
  • Advanced eco­m­merce — including large cata­logues or fea­tures like drop­shipping or print-on-demand
  • Mem­bership sites — from members-only content to forums and multi-level mem­ber­ships
  • Bespoke web devel­opment — some pro­jects need coding from the ground up

Pro­fes­sional web design and devel­opment isn’t just about graphic design and coding, either. It’s about avoiding mis­takes like these and these. In business, mis­takes lose sales. Those lost sales can easily cost you far more than engaging an exper­i­enced, pro­fes­sional web designer.

Investing In Success

Unlike a per­sonal website, your business website must compete in the 24/7/365 mar­keting race. It’s both a vehicle and a sales team. The chassis, engine, fine-tuning and training all make a dif­ference to per­formance, so your leading com­pet­itors invest heavily in those.

Sure, a standard run­about will get you on the track — and around it, if you know how to drive. It won’t give you the best chance of winning though, and under­in­vestment or cutting corners both increase the risks of failure.

So, if you want a better chance of winning, do you spend ages drawing up a detailed blue­print for a new vehicle yourself and hope a local garage can build it? Or engage an exper­i­enced pro­fes­sional to analyse your goals and develop a better plan?

Business Sites — Professional Blogs & CMS Websites

WordPress Development

Looking for a WordPress developer?Word­Press is by far the most popular CMS platform, powering over 30% of web­sites and almost 60% of all CMS sites. That’s because it’s extremely user friendly and flexible. Thou­sands of plugins let Word­Press (WP) provide advanced eco­m­merce, book appoint­ments, run online com­munities and more.

Still, con­trary to what some Word­Press developers will tell you, it isn’t ideal for everything. So other CMS plat­forms like Joomla, Drupal, CMS­MadeSimple and Octo­berCMS can have their uses — as can fully bespoke coding. On the other hand, being popular, Word­Press also attracts some unfair cri­ticism. It is flexible enough to let ama­teurs make mis­takes that exper­i­enced Word­Press developers would not.

Whilst I’ve been a keen Word­Press developer since 2004, I have used several of these altern­atives over the years and coded a few from scratch, too. Still, if you need a cost-effective, editable, pro­fes­sional website, it’s often best to con­sider a Word­Press solution first.

Unless you need very unique fea­tures, there’s probably a Word­Press plugin for them. Even if you don’t like some­thing about the interface, an exper­i­enced Word­Press developer can often adjust that, too.

Word­Press developers who code (as I do) can also write bespoke plugins to provide fea­tures that existing plugins don’t — and dig into the code when necessary. That may be needed for troubleshooting, or — increas­ingly — to optimise the site for speed and SEO.

Still, it’s worth noting that not every Word­Press developer can code. Whilst they can develop basic Word­Press sites, fixing tech­nical problems is not their forté. These can become sig­ni­ficant lim­it­a­tions as your business evolves. So before you start, it’s worth checking that your “Word­press developer” is an exper­i­enced pro­grammer.

Ecommerce

PrestaShop ecommerceEco­m­merce can mean any­thing from adding a payment button to a site, to bespoke web devel­opment for unique sales systems integ­rated into existing third-party plat­forms and work­flows. Usually though, eco­m­merce refers to sites with cat­egorised online cata­logues and shopping carts. Man­aging these — and cus­tomers, orders and trans­ac­tions — is complex.

Eco­m­merce sites also need to integrate more closely with mar­keting strategies and external systems like payment gateways, stock control, drop-shipping and print-on-demand ser­vices. So choosing the right systems can make a big dif­ference. How do you get that right if you’ve never used them before? Ask an exper­i­enced web developer, that’s how.

Again, I’ve used and invest­igated many eco­m­merce systems over the years, including several Word­Press-based solu­tions, Prestashop, OpenCart, Magento, Zen Cart, osCom­merce and hosted plat­forms. Some I would recommend for a variety of uses, others I wouldn’t. If you only need a standard online shop, check out my simple eco­m­merce website package — oth­erwise, let’s talk.

Membership Sites

Clubs, char­ities, events organ­isers and pro­fes­sional asso­ci­ations often want to create “members-only” content. Some charge sub­scrip­tions for this, whilst others are free. Still, all mem­bership sites need a system to let people register, login and manage their on-site pro­files. These sites may also let members chat in forums or publish their own content — among many other pos­sible fea­tures.

Unlike blogs, mem­bership sites aren’t limited to a few staff logins. As such, security and per­formance con­cerns are even more vital for this type of site.

Pricing & Planning Professional Websites

Since 2005, my goal has been to help small busi­nesses. So if it seems like you only need a simple site, that’s what I’ll recommend.

For pro­fes­sional web­sites though, I offer a risk-reducing website pricing process. This involves a paid “Dis­covery” phase to allow for proper ana­lysis before you commit to the whole project. For pro­jects that seem likely to cost under £3k, this costs just £300.

If you then decide to go ahead, this fee reduces the project price – so it is effect­ively free. That way, you get lower risk and a better solution, and I get a happier client.

Do you need pro­fes­sional web design?

Tell me your goals!