Why should you choose to work with us, or with any professional for that matter? There are ISPs and web services available that allow you to easily create your own website. Or you could set up your own WordPress, Joomla or Drupal website.
Sure, you could do that. And you’d have a mediocre website that nobody notices. It probably won’t meet today’s required standards, and may not even meet legal requirements with regard to accessibility, etc. It may not show correctly on all devices either. And you’re guaranteed that there will be plenty of other aspects that you did not pay attention, too. So, it turns out, there actually are plenty of reasons why you should not go the ‘DIY’ route. Let’s have a look at:
- User Experience: ease of navigation, structure, readability (both visually and intellectually), speed
- Economic Viability: opportunity analysis, feasibility analysis, return on investment and marginal utility
- Standard Compliance: accessibility, being mobile-friendly, SEO
Independent research has repeatedly shown that most users are willing to wait only some seconds for a page to load. So if you have a magnificently looking website that takes minutes to load, you are losing a lot of visitors.
Texts must be readable and understandable. Writing texts is an art in itself. Sentences shouldn't be too long. (As a rule of thumb, they shouldn't contain more than 20 words). On a screen the texts shouldn't be too wide, either. (More than 65 characters on one row, force your eyes to go back and forth. This slows down the reading process and causes a subconscious resistance). And then, there is of course the issue of proper usage of language...
The texts you present on your web site, give the visitor an indication of the quality you offer. You’d want to avoid, e.g., an average of four spelling errors per paragraph...
Ease of Navigation - Structure
What good is a web site that contains any information a user could possibly want, if he can't find that information? There are many web sites where users get "lost in hyperspace," or where the information is "a click too far."
A thoroughly prepared tree structure, site maps, search engines, sufficient internal links, all contribute to the ease of navigation of a website.
The bigger your website, the bigger the challenge to maintain ease of navigation. A well designed tree structure, combined with a menu that is available on each page can do miracles.
An opportunity analysis verifies whether there really is an opportunity for what you have to offer. It analyses offer, demand, and necessary prerequisites. An example: A customer wanted to develop a site that offered a specific service, and charge a low price for it. He had calculated that he could offer the service online cheaper than if he would deliver it in person. One quick analysis, however, pointed out that there were at least a dozen sites on the Internet already that offered the same service for free. Unless he differentiated his service, there would be no market for it, as others offered similar (or better) services for free.
One customer had planned a web site in several languages, and with different user profiles to give access to different parts of the web site. A feasibility analysis showed that the cost would almost quadruple if this site would be in all the languages envisaged. The cost would quadruple again if the system of user profiles and authentication that the customer had in mind would be installed, whereas another solution offered the same functionality at one quarter of the price.
The feasibility analysis showed that by choosing different technologies, 95% of the desired goals could be achieved at 6.75% of the cost.
A SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable / helpful and unfavorable / harmful to achieving that objective.
The Strengths are the attributes of the person or company that are helpful to achieving the objective. The Weaknesses are the attributes of the person or company that are harmful to achieving the objective. The Opportunities are the external conditions that are helpful to achieving the objective. The Threats are the external conditions which could do damage to the objective.
Return on Investment (ROI) & Marginal Utility
Will your project break even or be profitable? Can costs be reduced? Can effectiveness of resources be increased? Sometimes investing a little more can have dramatic positive results.
At Lamiroy Consulting, we want to maximize automation. On more than one occasion we noticed processes that were done by hand or through third party services before. We provided solutions that resulted in saving a lot of resources. Typically, the solutions dealt with data collection and date processing. Strictly speaking, it was not necessary to automate those processes for the projects to succeed. But by automating them, many resources were saved which could then be better used for other tasks.
These extra investments resulted in a greater return on investment, because of a proper understanding of their marginal utility.
The Internet changes constantly, and rapidly. Continuously, new standards come into being, and 'best practices' must adapt accordingly. Websites that were state of the art some years ago, and met all standards and best practices, are outdated now. In fact, not a single website designed before 2010 meets today’s standards and best practices.
Did you know that if you are collecting any data on or from your website visitors, you must, by law, in most countries have a privacy statement? Having a disclaimer and a site map also is highly recommended.
Do you know whether your site is standard-compliant? If you’re not sure, it probably isn’t.
It’s no longer a matter of being politically correct for a web site to be accessible. In most countries, including the US and the EU, it is compulsory, by law, for most websites to be accessible for people who experience disabilities.
People who are visually impaired, e.g., often use devices (called ‘readers’) to read the texts of web pages to them. Web pages that rely, e.g., on a solely graphical navigation, are totally inaccessible. Instead, semantic markers have to be integrated in the code for these reading devices, so they know what is navigation, what is content, etc.
Making web pages "accessible" involves a lot of "dos" and "don'ts" that not everyone is familiar with.
It's a mobile world
When you're visiting this site, chances are you are doing so by means of a handheld device. In fact, at present, approximately two out three visitors on this web site are using a handheld device.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, people using smart phones and tablets are more likely to look somewhere else. So with a website that is not mobile-friendly, you are probably not reaching two thirds of your target audience. And to add insult to injury, since May 2015 Google started ranking mobile-friendly sites higher than those who are not. So, not only are you not reaching two thirds of your target audience, they are being guided to the competition on top of it.
There simply is no way around it: these days, being mobile-friendly is a must.
Having a website is one thing, making sure people actually find it is another. Crafting your pages so they do well in search engines, is an art in itself. You need a carefully selected set of key words, as well as a to the point description of your pages. Key words should ideally be repeated in the title, and in the headings. The description, too, should be repeated as text in the text, etc.
These days, being mobile-friendly and accessible, having a sitemap, disclaimer and privacy statement also affect your ranking.
These are just some of many the rules to take into account when submitting your web site to search engines. There are more, because each search engine uses its own ranking criteria. It's important to keep these rules in mind. After all, you don't want to end up being link 1024 of 2048 in the search results...