There are a number of reasons why the answer to this question is “yes” and it definitely goes further than “because everyone else has one.” A website is a fantastic, public forum for showcasing your business, your work and your achievements. A well-designed site will add to your company’s credibility, making your business look professional. Even if yours is a long-established company with a steady stream of customers, a website can save your business time and money by acting like a customer service representative. Your customers (current as well as potential) can use your website to independently find answers to numerous questions, from your basic contact details and physical location(s), to what products and services you offer. Through an FAQ page or a blog they can even find answers to queries just like this one! Plus they can do this even when your business is closed for the day.
A responsive website is one which looks good on any screen size – desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone. The elements of each page will shuffle around and resize automatically so the viewer can easily read and navigate through the site. This is increasingly important with as much as 50% of all internet searches taking place on mobile phones. Users searching on their smartphones will most likely be put off by websites that look bad and are hard to read and not get further than the homepage. Google has even started penalising websites that are not responsive and rewarding those that are with better search rankings.
Joomla is a content management system used to build websites and online applications. When talking about websites, content is elements like text, pictures, video and documents. Joomla is widely used and developed for so there are numerous add-ons available to suit all website requirements. Using a content management system like Joomla means that content can be easily adjusted and new content can be added any time, integrating easily into the website's structure.
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is basically the process of making a website visible in the unpaid search results of the major search engines (e.g. Google, Bing and Yahoo). This differs from paid search results generated through advertising methods such as Google AdWords. Obviously, greater visibility in search engine results will increase your website’s chances of being seen, which in turn can increase your business’s chances of gaining customers. All zebra creative websites receive basic SEO upon completion, ensuring the search engines can see your content and can navigate through your site as easily as a human viewer. As part of this process, each of your website pages will be set up with unique title tags, meta descriptions and keywords.
SEO is also something to be mindful of when developing content for your website, and we can discuss this early on in the process – understanding how your customers might search for your products or services and creating content which includes keywords relevant to your business will help your site’s ranking in search results.
When building your website I will use a pre-designed template rather than putting everything together from scratch. This saves time and money and ensures your website will work correctly. However, using a template doesn’t mean that your website will look like it came out of a box. We can incorporate your branding (your logo and corporate colours) and use fonts and images which reflect your company’s personal style to make the website your own.
How long a website takes to put together is generally dependent on the size of the site (i.e. how many pages it is) and the complexity of the build – how many additional features are to be included. As a guide however, one of my Basic Website Design Package sites of up to 7 pages in size should take 1-2 months to build. One of the biggest hold-ups for a website build is the supply of content (written material and images) and this relies on the customer. The faster you can get your content to me (and the fewer changes there are once it’s submitted), the faster I can tie things together and get your website up and running.
We will get together a number of times during the build process so you can see how your site is coming together. The first look will be once the initial set-up is complete – the template is installed and customised to suit your business, the menus and main individual pages are configured and most of the homepage is in place. At this stage, although most of the content will still need to be included, you will be able to navigate through your website to see how it flows.
For more information on the steps involved in completing your website project, please refer to my Website Design Process.
Absolutely. I can give you training on how to edit and put new content on your website using the Joomla system. Keeping your website content fresh and regularly updated is extremely important for a number of reasons, including ensuring it gets noticed by (and remains of interest to) search engines like Google. If making updates to your website isn’t something you have time for, I’m happy to help out, especially in cases where the site structure is effected or if updates to the design are required.
I completely understand and would be more than happy to get together to talk through the options. My Basic Website Package is simply what I consider to be a great starting point for a small/medium-sized business. It will provide you with a functional, modern website that I believe will have enough content to get noticed, both by your potential customers and the search engines.
The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is often true. Without claiming to know the business of every other website design company out there, a lot of these websites will be one-page affairs with little or no customisation and very limited features. You’re probably not going to get any Search Engine Optimisation and your website isn’t going to impress the search engines. In most cases the website won’t be built using a content management system like Joomla and you might even find you have to add most of the content in yourself.
It is not unusual for web designers to require a 50% deposit before starting on a website build. My payment schedule for new builds is as follows:
30% of estimated cost upon signing of contract
This allocates time for your project and work can then begin on initial website set-up, configuration of the site structure, and template customisation.
30% of estimated cost following presentation of the website design
The template is installed and customised to suit your business, the menus and main individual pages are configured and most of the homepage is in place. At this stage, although most of the content will still need to be included, you will be able to navigate through your website to see how it flows.
Balance (40% of estimated cost + any additional agreed work completed) upon delivery of your completed website.
Yes! The Joomla content management system is open-source software which means it is freely available to anyone to use, copy and change in any way.