If you are thinking of taking your business online, you may be wondering about a pre-packaged website. Are they effective? Are they expensive? Can they offer your business everything you need? In order to decide whether or not a pre-packaged website is for you, it's helpful to brainstorm and discover exactly what you need in a website.
Your Website Needs
If you want to take you business online, ask yourself exactly what you want your website to do. Do you want to offer online sales? If so, you will need to include shopping basket technology and online payment processing in your web design package. Are you interested in gathering information from your customer base? If so, you will need to add forms for customer feedback. Do you want to include audio or video? Then be prepared to add the proper applications.
Then, ask yourself, how computer savvy are you? How much time are you willing to personally invest in web development? Do you know how to do graphic design? Are you comfortable with designing a web layout? Do you want to have a lot of control over your web content? Decide at what point you feel comfortable handling this labor. Your web site will represent your business on a global level, so you should take steps to ensure it looks professional (and that it is clear and easy to navigate).
Custom Web Pages
A custom web page is designed by a professional web designer. This person will listen to your wants and needs and create an entire site based on your specifications. This package often includes graphic design (especially a logo if you don't already have one), layout, and domain name searches and web hosting. The custom web designer can assist you when you have trouble with your site and make recommendations for getting your site noticed.
Of course, you pay a price for perfection. Custom web pages are generally more expensive than pre-packaged ones. Because of the labor involved, they usually take longer to create as well.
Pre-packaged Web Pages
A pre-packaged web page is a package deal that you buy off the rack. Unlike custom web pages, there is very little customization involved--it's a basic web page with basic features. You can often add features to your package, such as shopping cart software or feedback forms. The best part of pre-packaged web pages is that they are much more affordable than custom jobs. Because there is little customization involved, they are usually extremely quick to obtain. On the other hand, your options for customization are much fewer than with a bespoke web page.
Depending upon your needs, you will be able to decide if a pre-packaged site is best for you. If you need something cheap, quick, and basic, a pre-packaged site will give you exactly everything you need. You may even, depending upon your level of expertise, be able to add your own custom touches to a pre-packaged deal. On the other hand, if you demand a high level of customization and want to have a lot of control over how your website looks, a custom job may well be worth the extra time and money.______________________________
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.