Monday, 8 January 2018

The Website Design Business is Changing Again

Since the start of this Century, there have various trends in Website design. Not just the creation techniques and presentation styles but also Google's influence over content (viewable and back-office).

screen sized web pageAs with graphic design, a decade earlier, when software packages became available to enable company owners to create their own leaflets, etc., there is an increasingly wide choice of DIY website options, notably Wix, Weebly and, of course, WordPress. A plethora of "W"s, possibly to associate with Website or World Wide Web. 

Startups and hobbyists often invest their own time in building free or very cheap DIY websites because money is scarce. If a business out-grows their website, professional designers are often engaged, as the business owners' time is better spent elsewhere, usually production or sales.

long scrolling web page example
Most likely inspired by small devices (smart-phones), the trend in website display over the past year or two has been for a very long, scrollable home page, sliced into sections of images and text blocks. Not my favourite design but it's the client's choice and, who knows, they may want to follow another trend in a couple of years and come back for a re-design!

The more important trend is to do with security. Not only are site owners being "encouraged" to apply for https certification, which adds to cost, but there are almost continuous updates required to improve protection from hackers. Building a more secure website takes more time and therefore will cost the client more money. Adding features also increases development and testing time.

One estimate that is difficult to build in to a quote is the number of changes that a client will make during the development. In the past couple of years...
  • We designed a client's website, migrated it to a different name, made several tweaks and successfully published it until a few days later when the company underwent a change and we had to take it down.
  • We had to charge one client more than twice as much as originally quoted because three completely different designs were requested and created in the space of a few months.
  • We designed and built four websites for another client, which they liked but did not publish due to a change of direction.
  • A successfully published client site was handed over to a third party for updating; it now looks a bit of a mess and we don't like to include it in our portfolio.
The end result is that, of those nine developed websites, we have only one in our recent portfolio. Of course, there are three others that have been published - four websites to show out of twelve developed doesn't help promote our website design services. We currently have two more under construction where we have been awaiting content for several months.

We learned today that a website that we quoted for last week is not going ahead. We're hoping to find out the reason, as this is the second bid we've lost in the past year; the other one was due to the client wanting a larger website company to provide support as-and-when needed (there are only two of us). There is a price to pay for this support though, as their quote was 30% higher than ours, showing that cost isn't the only factor. The BPc is not entirely dependent on website design, as we also offer branding/graphic design services and SEO/social media management, therefore we have remained buoyant, whatever the trend, since 1990.

Along with many other businesses, we wonder what impact Brexit may have in the next couple of years.

Should you require a website or any of our internet/marketing/design services, please visit TheBPc.

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