Building a website for your business can be approached in a number of ways. You can of course create your website design from scratch, but few people that want to open an E-commerce business have all the skills required to use this method of website design. The ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that host online businesses were quick to realise that they could improve their profits by offering website design services themselves.
Not all ISPs have website design services on offer, but the vast majority of the most high profile services do. If you have yet to choose an ISP to host your online business, looking for one that does offer a website design service can make building your website fast and easy.
The online website design services from companies have evolved over the last few years and now offer sophisticated design tools to enable you to construct an E-commerce website including all of the trolley, checkout and payment systems built in. Using nothing more than your favourite Internet browser, you can have your website live on the web selling goods or services your business has to offer without any knowledge of website building, or HTML coding. Using an online website construction service has a number of advantages and disadvantages:
- No HTML or website design knowledge or skills are needed as the entire process uses templates and forms you simply fill in.
- Costs are usually very low. Often an ISP that offers these services will include the website construction and design with the cost of your website hosting.
- You can start a new online business in minutes and start trading without the long timeframe that building a website design from scratch would require.
- Maintenance and upgrades to the services on offer are handled by the ISP or the business providing the website design and construction services. You can then just concentrate on marketing your new business.
- Expansion of your website can often be very easy. If you are using a service provided by an ISP, they can offer your business unlimited space to expand into when your business takes off.
- A lack of control over the layout and design of your webpages can be constrictive if you want a website design that is distinctive and supports your business’s brand.
- The payment options that are offered as part of the website design and construction services can be limited.
- Often, the online building tools will limit the amount of pages your website can have and will usually place your website on a shared server and database along with all the other businesses using their services. This can mean a lack of control if you want to evolve your business. This could mean you have to move to another ISP that will disrupt your business.
- Search engine optimisation is sometimes built into the online services you can use, but not always. Check this carefully before you commit to a service.
- The branding and credibility of your website could be adversely affected as you are using a template for your website design that many other business will also use. Your website needs to standout from the crowded E-commerce marketplace.
- Some of the free online website design services are free because your website has to host advertisements that your business has no control over.
Website Building Checklist
Your website design is a key component of your business. Using online website construction services can offer a fast way of getting your enterprise online. Use the guidance below to ensure your business uses these services to their best advantage:
Look at the Small Print
Some of the online website design services have limits placed on them. The number of webpages or the amount of server space can sometimes be very limiting.
Test your Design
All of the online website design services are based on a set of templates that you customise. Take some time to look at the design of the templates on offer. Are they professional enough for your business?
Support and Maintenance
When things do go wrong with your website does the service provider have a clear support and maintenance policy? Try and get a service level agreement to ensure you know what to expect from your website host.
E-commerce means your website has to be able to offer an array of payment systems. Often, the online website design services only offer on payment option – usually PayPal. Your business may need to offer other payment options as well.