Why do I need a web designer?
With the proliferation of tools such as Macromedia’s Dreamweaver and Microsoft’s FrontPage (an Express version of which is even included free with current versions of Windows) it is possible to publish your own website easily and conveniently with no user knowledge required. So why should you pay somebody to do it for you?
The answer is two-fold; at the end of the day the thing you as a business person need to be worrying about is the success of your enterprise and the last thing you need is the hassle of having to develop and manage the company website as well. In the same way you would delegate the printing of flyers to a company that specialises in print media, the website should be handled by a company that can commit time and resources to making your website the best it can be.
Secondly, the websites produced by creation programs like Frontpage tend to be, by their nature, very similar to each other; there are a finite number of templates and clip-art provided with the program itself so, in order to stand out from that crowd, a website preferably needs to be well written, using original imagery, compatible with all of the popular web browsers and, above all, it should be fast loading.
Why is browser compatibility important?
At the moment, the majority of Windows users are using Internet Explorer simply because it arrives along with Windows itself, however with the rise of alternative products like Opera, Netscape Navigator, Mozilla Firefox or more recently Apple's Safari and Google Chrome that are faster, take less resources from the computer and are generally more reliable, a significant number of potential viewers to a website will now be using something else and this trend of migrating away from Internet Explorer seems set to continue. So in order to reach these people, a website needs to not only be compatible with the most popular browser (which is under 50% of the browser market at the time of writing for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 combined) but also needs to support the other options available.
Why fast loading?
Because potential customers aren't going to wait around, many users will merely click away from a website that takes too long to load up. The internet has geared people to expect their content now and even a delay of a couple of minutes can prove too much so, whilst the proliferation of broadband has alleviated the speed issues of the internet for a lot of users, some are still based on either low-end cable services or through dial-up, so not allowing for these visitors is, essentially, removing a percentage of the possible market who can view your website.
Is the web the be-all and end-all of business?
The world wide web as it stands can be used as a basis for a business, the fabled e-commerce company, but as has previously been reported in the media these companies are very prone to failure and the ones that tend to survive are those based in more than one market such as Amazon. The web should, however, be considered as a powerful marketing tool in the same way that a batch of flyers or a run of business cards would be but with a far wider distribution and the obvious advantage being that a website is available to view twenty four hours a day, seven days a week from any internet-ready computer or web appliance in the world.
That isn’t to say that print adverts are "dead", far from it, but an online presence has become an extension of the word-of-mouth propagation that many smaller businesses rely on for their trade; as the idea of websites has pervaded popular culture and from there society in general, rather than satisfied customers merely telling friends and acquaintances about your business, they can now simply recommend it and point to your website for a more detailed description.
Why aren’t you telling me that I need the internet?
Because at the end of the day that would only be a half-truth; the internet is a wonderful marketing tool that any business owner who wishes to increase public awareness and the throughput of their company should be looking at very closely, but at the same time it certainly isn't the only means that should be considered and for some businesses may simply be a red herring. Our task at Enisoc Design is to help you decide what action you need to take rather than merely adding to the hype that has built up over the last few years, please get in touch if you have any questions about how the web can serve your needs.