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Is Your Strongest Lead-Generating Tool Doing Its Job? Custom web design or DIY? With today's tech platforms there's a lot you can do in-house, but should you be designing your own website, or are there some things best left to the professionals? Leigh-Ann O'Hagan from LIT Creations unpacks your options.

By LIT Creations

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What's the difference between Custom Web Development and WordPress?

With a custom website design, we create a look and feel for you specifically tailored to your business and not based on any particular pre-existing theme.

If you have a unique idea that you'd like to implement, then the custom development route is best for your business. Perhaps you'd like to have various levels of logins with functionality associated with each. Today there are plugins available for just about anything you need, but your site will always be defined by the restrictions of the template or plugin you're purchasing (or downloading).

On the other hand, if you're more interested in a website that effectively describes your business but with pages that you'd like to be able to update yourself, then Wordpress is a great platform for you. Just be careful though — while there are a lot of things you can do with a WordPress theme, you're bound by available templates. You'll never have complete control over your website's look and feel.

What are the pros of Custom Development?

When codes are scripted in-house by talented developers, there are three core pros to your website:

  1. The code is private and not available on the world wide web to be exploited or hacked.
  2. If you want to move one image two pixels to the left it's no problem — the code is yours, and your developers know exactly where to go to make any change you would like.
  3. You control the process. For example, as developers, we do a design proposal for you at the outset of the project, so that you can see what your website will look like and suggest changes to the design before going ahead.

There are however, some cons as well. Custom development takes longer than a WordPress site, and not every aspect of your site will be Content Management System-driven, which means you may need to go back to your developers to make certain changes on your behalf in future.

What about WordPress?

Development is quicker — you can get a basic website up and running within two working days and go live. There are also a lot of templates and themes to choose from. And finally, you also get a WordPress admin login so that you can update anything on the site yourself.

Unfortunately, WordPress sites are frequently hacked because their code is freely available on the Internet. LIT Creations do all of our WordPress websites with a WordPress security plugin, but this is still not a failsafe.

The power of a strong website

"All businesses need a website," says Leigh-Ann. "We get so many people telling us that their website generates no income for them. But this doesn't need to be the case. If you're selling something through your site, you need to ensure that it's geared towards making sales as simple and secure as possible.

"On the other hand, your website should be generating leads for you. People research everything they need through the Internet.

"Look at your website's bounce-rate. How many people are landing on your home page and immediately going elsewhere? If it's high, there might be a problem with your landing page. Assess why people aren't staying on your site. Are they the wrong prospects, or is your site difficult to navigate? I always prompt our clients to think of their wording carefully — especially for their home page.

"Start with a question and then provide an answer. If you're a plumber, don't start with "Welcome to ABC Plumbers. Our business started in 2001 and we have a wealth of experience.' This means nothing to a fast-paced society who are solutions-driven. Rather say "Do you have a leaking toilet? We can help! We service the Gauteng area and provide 24/7 support. Call us today.'

"In addition, if your website is not responsive, you need to get it redesigned into a responsive format. More people view websites on mobile devices than on PCs. If your budget is not big, then start out small and build on your website as and when you can. You should never feel stuck with a site from the outset — your site should grow as your business grows and as new ideas occur to you, such as adding testimonials or linking enquiry forms to specific offers. Your website is a powerful lead-generating tool — is it working for you?"

Call us today for a free website assessment. We'll give you an honest assessment of what's working and what isn't, as well as cost comparisons between Wordpress and custom web development solutions.

LIT Creations create affordable, well-designed and functional websites, with the best personalised service.
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