Posted on 21/01/2019
If you’re just starting a new business, or operating on a restricted marketing budget, but still want a website that does you justice, website themes are a great way to go. But choosing from a collection of designs can either be a lot of fun, completely overwhelming, or for most people, somewhere in between.
While any good website developer should offer you an array of choice and advise on the best option for you, here are five things to look out for when it comes to setting up a new site from a pre-existing website theme.
None of us have a crystal ball, but it’s helpful to plan ahead as much as possible and think about what capabilities your website needs now and what it will need in the coming months and years. It’s much easier to include capabilities in the build up front, even if they are kept behind the scenes to begin with, than it is to start from scratch later. Of course, things change, and new opportunities arise, in which case, hopefully you’ve maintained a good ongoing relationship with your web developer, so you can make changes as and when you need to.
Website themes should be more cost effective than tailored websites, but as with any purchase, beware of the really cheap template offerings out there. The price you pay should reflect the experience of the team building your site and the quality of the finished product. In short, pre-designed website themes should offer excellent value for money – that doesn’t mean they should be cheap.
There’s a common misconception that if you go down the route of building a site from a website theme, you won’t get the same ongoing support and maintenance as you would with an individually tailored website. Although there are some companies that don’t offer long term support, there are companies that do, so explore all options before you decide who to partner with. It’s easy to think you can manage on your own once your website is complete, but there’s always something that crops up – something new you want to add, changes you want to make that are beyond your abilities, or general updates that need to be made to ensure the site continues to run smoothly. Choosing a supplier that offers ongoing support could prove to be invaluable.
4) Always choose responsive
This is a no-brainer. If your site is not responsive, your site is outdated. Responsive designs make it possible to adjust the layout of your sites across different screen sizes and devices. An incredible portion of web traffic is generated from mobile and other hand-held devices and this trend will only continue to increase, so if you don’t make your website available to handheld devices, your business will suffer. Most designs today provide responsive, mobile-ready themes. However, there are still some that do not provide mobile-friendly layouts. Make sure you stay away from these aberrations.
5) Experience/portfolio of previous work
Last but by no means least, once you’ve narrowed down who might supply your website design, check their experience and if it’s not readily available, ask to see a portfolio of work. Looking at an array of website themes is one thing but seeing them up and running and fully branded and functional, is another thing altogether. A relevant and professional looking portfolio speaks volumes for any supplier.
The friendly team at Glazing Vault are always happy to talk through our strong portfolio of work in the glazing industry. We offer advice and ongoing support every step of the way to ensure customers have a website that perfectly fits their business. For more information, please contact us today.
Posted on 14/01/2019
Most of us now accept the importance of any business, existing or new, having an online presence. We know that consumers like to research companies and products before they buy, whether or not they make their final purchase online (which an increasing number of people now do by the way). But creating a new website that best represents your new venture, can be daunting. Glazing Vault has worked with hundreds of start-up businesses in the window and door industry and one of the things we often hear is that there’s a perception that there are only two ways to go when getting their new business online – costly professional design and development, or cheap and cheerful DIY websites. However, there’s a middle ground that’s perfect for new companies.
We deliver cost effective, professionally designed and developed website solutions that deliver real results. How? We use a collection of design templates that our experienced team can quickly tailor to individual requirements.
Cost effective professional websites, fast
Design templates are useful because they give companies with lower marketing budgets access to truly professional looking, fully functional websites, in a more efficient way. Choosing a template design doesn’t in any way mean your site will look like everyone else’s either, it will be completely styled with your brand and contain any and all information you want included. It’s the next best thing to having a new website built from scratch, entirely to your specification, which is naturally more time consuming and therefore more expensive. When designed and built by a professional company, these websites will not only look the part, they will also be maintained and regularly updated to make sure they stay current and fresh in terms of design and functionality.
We understand the financial pressures on a new business starting out and appreciate the temptation to build a website yourself. With cheap and easy to use options readily available online, it appears on the surface an easy way to save money. However, what might be cheaper in the short term, will almost certainly turn out to be more expensive in the long run. We hear time and time again from people who have had a go themselves and just couldn’t quite get the design right, encountered problems when viewing the site on mobile devices, found the site hard to manage on an ongoing basis and simply didn’t get the results they were hoping for. Even worse, these sites are easier to hack and may not be compliant with all the necessary GDPR regulations. And of course, all of this, takes an inordinate amount of time to put right.
Best of both worlds
The middle ground between creating a website from scratch, entirely built around your business, and doing it yourself, i.e. using a professional web company to tailor existing well thought out templates to your individual requirements, is proving increasingly popular with new businesses and existing companies looking for a refresh, alike. The end result is a professional website that looks just how you wanted it to look and probably has even more functionality that you thought you could afford. With all of this working as it should, you are far more likely to achieve excellent lead generation from your new site too.
If you or someone you know is looking to give their new business the best start, get in touch with the approachable team at Glazing Vault today to find out more.
Posted on 17/12/2018
If you’re thinking of starting a new business or if you’ve decided your existing company website needs a complete overhaul, there are a lot of things to consider as part of the process. How you will host the site, which CMS you’ll use, whether you’ll outsource your web design and if so, to who. In the mix, and perhaps one of the most important up-front decisions with a new website is whether you’re going to use a template or whether you’re going to have a completely custom-made design. There are advantages to both and each option will be the best for different circumstances. A custom-made website can be built from the ground up, directly addressing your business’ specific needs, but a template website can be chosen from hundreds of pre-made outlines, which can be adjusted to suit your individual requirements.
Here we look at the template route and the benefits of using a pre-made design.
If you talk to any good web design partner, they will have a significant bank of templates you can choose from and the nice thing about that is, what you see is what you get. There are no surprises when you’re buying web design off the shelf. The hardest part is choosing from the array of options!
With websites that are essentially ready-made, a lot of the work has already been done. Not just in terms of the design of the layout and how the site flows, but in terms of built-in functionality, widgets and options – all of which makes it much easier to set-up the site and in turn, much quicker to finalise and go live.
Choosing a design that has already been produced, with functionality that has already been built, is also a very cost-effective way of creating a new website. In our experience this is particularly useful for new businesses starting out who don’t necessarily have large budgets, but still a nice surprise for companies who want a completely new site, without it costing the earth.
When you buy a template website, especially from a reputable web design agency, it’s likely to come with ongoing support and updates to the theme that ensure your site remains up to date and bug free for the long-term. Sometimes when people go it alone, they are unaware of these updates and can get caught out with problems in the future.
These are some of the reasons why people are choosing template web designs and why they continue to be popular. One piece of advice we would offer companies looking to go down the template route though, don’t be tempted to do it yourself. ‘You would say that’ we hear you cry! But whether you choose to work with Glazing Vault or anyone else, your website will always have more built-in functionality and long-term reliability, than if you attempt to build your own. And our customers tell us time and time again that it’s not as expensive as they thought to have a professionally designed and built website that represents their business in precisely the way they want it to be.
For more information about the options available with website design and which is the best for you, please contact our friendly team at Glazing Vault today.
Posted on 29/10/2018
When a prospect wants to know more about a product, they’ll search the internet for more information. With any luck, if you’ve done all the right things with your website, they’ll land on your site and start exploring the products you have to offer and the kind of company you are. But how do you keep them on your site for longer? And how do you encourage them to leave their contact details, so you can follow up this initial interest?
If you read up on this topic, you’ll probably find an array of articles explaining that to generate leads online you need to encourage engagement with your visitors. It’s great that they are on your site, but you need to use every possible opportunity to inspire them to interact with you and engage with your brand. This is what peaks their interest and makes them a lead, not just a visitor.
Engage at every turn
There should be opportunities for visitors to engage at every turn in the form of ‘click here’ buttons and ‘contact us’ prompts, but one tool that has seen particular success, is the product designing tool. Product designers are proving to be an excellent way of capturing the imagination of online visitors. Composite door designers have been the most popular in our industry, but this online lead generator is just as successful with any window or door product. But why?
Whether they are used by homeowners, or by the installers selling these products, product designers help the consumer to visualise the finished product. They can see exactly how their colour choice, door style and suite of hardware will look in situ on their new door, or how the type of glass and handles will look on their new window. Encouraging this interaction with your site makes it far more likely for the visitor to get in touch.
More cost effective than you think
Talking to people about product designers for their website, whether fabricators or installers, we often hear that it’s something they’d love to have but assume is prohibitively expensive. This isn’t the case. Product designers are fantastic online sales tools that are more cost effective than you think! If you want to put us to the test on that, get in touch today to find out more.
Posted on 25/09/2018
Fifty-three per cent of marketers say half or more of their budget is allocated to lead generation, but 63% said generating traffic and leads was their top challenge. It’s not easy to generate leads and it’s certainly not easy to generate meaningful leads. However, there are a lot of online tools that can really help. Find a company that knows what they’re doing, and you could transform your business.
The window and door industries provide their very own set of challenges too. They’re competitive markets that are renowned for their more aggressive sales and marketing tactics. Of course, not all companies operate in this way, but if you’re a fabricator or installer operating in these markets, it’s imperative that you stay ahead of the competition in the right way. Your online presence and lead generation tools should have a significant part to play.
The team of designers and developers at Glazing Vault have years of experience – all within the window, door and glazing industries, with both trade and retail companies, large and small – so they know what works and what doesn’t.
Even with a basic brochure website there are things you can do with the design and layout to encourage people to interact and engage with your business. You can make it easy for them to find the information they want, and you can give them every opportunity to get in touch. The easier you make it for your visitors, the more likely it is that you’ll start to get genuine leads from your online presence.
If you want to go a step further, you can also add product designers to your online offering. We’ve produced product designers in various fields for countless companies who quickly see the benefit of allowing customers to interact with potential product combinations online, before they buy. It helps soften the buying process and gives them more control over the decision-making process, which they can do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to suit them. This takes us back to our previous point about making it as easy as possible for visitors to find what they want from your site, when they want it.
Make the change
If you’re a retail business or a fabricator selling to installers and you think you can get more out of your online presence, our experienced team would be happy to talk to you to review what you have in place now and how we could help make it better in a cost effective way. Make sure your online presence is working as hard as it can be for your business and get in touch today.