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Choosing a Website for your Business : The out-of-the-Box option explored
by Startacus Admin
The folk at Starting Point Website Plan offer an ‘out of the box’ website service that lets you select a template website from a collection of unique and professional designs.
Since they've been behind a recent Startacus b2b giveaway competition and they're currently offering a fab £100 discount offer to anyone looking to avail of their template website service, we thought it’d be quite timely to find out some more about the options that you can be faced with when choosing a website for your business, what an out-of-the-box website might offer you, and what factors should be considering when you’re buying or developing a website?
So then, can you perhaps start by explaining what options a business owner could be faced with looking for a new website?
Think about getting a website the same way as getting a house - we believe there are three ways you can get a website and three ways you can get a house.
The first option is to do-it-yourself; there are lots of cheap, and indeed free, do-it-yourself tools to use to build your own website, but much like buying a pile of bricks and some land and attempting to build your own house, if you don't know what you're doing it's a case that you'll have to invest lots of time acquiring knowledge or your website/house will fall down around your ears.
At the other end of the spectrum you can hire in experts to plan, design and construct your dream house with as many bedrooms and swimming pools as you like. However this is going to be expensive, much like hiring expert web designers to build a bespoke website bespoke. Yes it will meet all the needs your heart desires, but it will cost more.
The third route is to buy something that already exists and make it your own. When buying a house, most people buy a house that is already standing and hire painters and decorators to re-decorate or builders to add an extension or new conservatory. What we have done is to build the website and then we can apply the design to ensure every site we produce is branded and unique for the client whilst keeping the costs down.
You recently offered Startacus members £100 discount off a Starting Point Website Plan website. Can you give us some of the benefits that an off-the-shelf website can offer?
The biggest benefit is a reduced price as, in effect, the website has already been created ready to be tailored. But additionally, an out of-the-box layout won't just be thrown together, it will adhere to best usability practices to ensure that it is intuitive and practical for any business it is applied to - at least that's the way we like to approach creating our layouts.
And to keep things impartial - some of the disadvantages that a consumer can face potentially?
Because an out-of-the-box solution is pre-built there will be restrictions as to what it can do - functionally - and so some compromise is almost inevitable, but isn't that just like buying a house too? After all you may want that extra spare room for a man cave but have to prioritise the need to be close to a good school!
In terms of website trends - what should consumers be concerning themselves with when considering buying or developing a website?
The web is changing all the time, with new social media platforms and technology, but that has been the case since the 90's. What should be more concerning than the trends to businesses entering the web-sphere is the fundamentals - adhering to usability practises and principles that will work for their target audience and generate new business, as noted in the Startacus article '5 Decisions When Creating Your Business Website'. The key goal is building a good reputation and showing how professional your business is by the image your website exudes - another reason to avoid doing it yourself!
What's next for Starting Point Website Plan? Any big goals for 2016?
We are looking at 2016 as an exciting year for Starting Point Website Plan and want to help as many new businesses get their web presence right first time around. One of our key ambitions is to launch some exciting new layouts to add to our collection as well as new features that the customers can add to their website - things like table booking widgets for restaurants - to reduce the need to compromise when it comes to what their out-of-the-box website can achieve.
Finally, from your experience how different is the small business and micro business sector compared to say perhaps 15-20 years ago?
There seems to be a much greater entrepreneurial spirit now than back when the World Wide Web was in its infancy and there is a self-belief that is driving lots of people to go it alone - which is very exciting. The opportunities for micro and small businesses to succeed, especially when leveraging the web, is mind-blowing and things such as remote working and tools like Skype mean the opportunities for smaller businesses to compete with much bigger outfits are realistic.