Blog : Website design

Batman vs Superman

Batman vs Superman

Who would you pick? …Difficult eh! Everyone has their favourite, both have their own strengths, weaknesses pros and cons.

When potential clients come to us for website advice we often find ourselves exploring the ‘Wordpress Vs Boson CMS’ question. (CMS = Content Management System) It’s a similar process to picking your favourite hero! There are many elements that come into play to determine the outcome.

So, we’ve conjured up some handy tips below to help, if you find yourself in this predicament.

Reasons to choose WordPress:

  • If you (or one of your team) are familiar with using WordPress.
  • If what you need can come ‘out-of-the-box’.  i.e. you don’t have any bespoke requirements
  • If the are no plans to change the website and / or integrate business processes
  • If you want a LOT of flexibility when it comes to layout and customisation that you can do yourself
  • If you have a limited budget

Reason to choose the Boson CMS Framework:

  • If you want to expand your website at some point in the future in more unique ways
  • If you would  prefer a more simplistic, cut-down approach to content management
  • If you require bespoke web apps within your website
  • If security is important

Simply ask yourself the questions below to help you decide which approach is best for you:

  1. Do you have any bespoke requirements, unique to your business?
  2. What is your budget?
  3. Are you looking to expand in the future?
  4. Is it important to you to have an exclusive website, or is something more off-the-shelf appropriate?
  5. Who is going to be managing the website content?
  6. Is security important to you?

These principals can be applied not just to our CMS but to any bespoke CMS. Not only will they guide you in the right direction, but should help you make the correct choice for you….

But sometimes people just prefer Batman!

Design: emotion or science?

Design: emotion or science?

In a world where content is king, and small business owners have filled the internet with sites designed by their 12 year-old nephews, website design has suffered. So to uphold the virtues of good design, I’ve come up with a few thoughts to help you navigate through it.

The first thing to consider when designing a website is space. Yes, that’s right, empty space. But empty space doesn’t mean just nothing. Empty space in its right place (small rhyme there), can visually strengthen the content you do have. Using space in design is important to bring focus to the right areas of your site. Don’t be afraid of space, it is a faithful, albeit neglected friend of good web design.

With any business site, it’s also important to honestly reflect your company and what you can actually deliver right now. If your site gives the impression that you are ten times bigger and better than what you actually can deliver, you will set yourself up for longer-term failure. The online consumer is becoming more and more intelligent, and they have immeasurable power to affect the opinions of others.

A good rule of thumb is not to jump too far ahead of yourself. Make your website design reflect where you want to be in two years time. Styles change over time, often having a shelf life of no more than two years. Make sure your site design changes with the times, keep it looking current.

One of the common mistakes made by people redesigning a business website is to get feedback on the design from all the wrong people. Friends, relatives and pets make good companions, but often the wrong choices regarding what is and isn’t appropriate for your business website. Make an effort to get feedback from people relevant to the business.

Ask yourself questions like: Who is my target market? Will this design appeal to them? Good brand recognition and marketing opportunities can come from getting some of your good clients together for their feedback in some kind of fun focus group forum.

Design is often touted as a subjective thing. Remember though, that design is not necessarily art. It has a mission to accomplish and it is a whole lot more technical than often perceived.

Good design will elicit an emotional response, but the process of good design is enhanced when business owners are willing to sacrifice certain emotional attachments.

How to buy a website

How to buy a website

Buying a website can feel a bit daunting. Unless you’re an expert, all the technical jargon can be overwhelming. You’re left wondering how on earth you’ll make the right choice.

The key to a smooth commissioning process is a little bit of thinking ahead. If you know what the web developers will need, it can make your life (and theirs) a lot easier.

Here’s are few tips on buying (or commissioning) a website:

  • Give the developers as much information as you can right from the start.
    Don’t hold anything back. Adding new information later will complicate things, adding to the time and cost of getting the new site up and running.
  • You don’t need to know geek-speak.
    Tell the developers what you want in plain English. A good web development company will translate what you need into technical specifications. To commission something, you say what you want the supplier to supply. Let them worry about the nerdy stuff.
  • Plan ahead a little.
    Before you go visiting web agencies, think about the questions they are likely to ask you.

We normally ask things like:

  • What business are you in?
    We want to know what sort of business sector you operate in. What’s your place within it? Give us a feel for the landscape.
  • What are the primary objectives of this website / web application?
    Think about what you are hoping to gain from the project – e.g. saving time, increasing sales, increasing your company’s profile, etc. Tell us simply what your goals and objectives are.
  • What’s your target audience?
    There may be more than one. List them all. Tell us about the audiences you want to appeal to, and why. Give us as much detail as you can.
  • Do you have an existing website you are looking to replace or upgrade?
    If so, tell us why. If there are aspects of it that are working fine, tell us what they are.
  • What features do you need?
    This can be tricky, because you might not know what features you need in advance. Will you want to update your site yourself, frequently? Will you be selling products online? Do your customers need access to any special services, multimedia files, or access to secure members-only sections? As I said above, you don’t need to know the geek-speak. Just tell us what you need, and we’ll tell you how we can build it. Feel free to ask us for advice at this point. If you’ve been able to tell us plenty of detail about your industry, your business, and your aims, we’ll probably have some suggestions.
  • Is there a brand or visual identity for the project?
    Make sure you pass on any brand guidelines as well as logos and other visuals.
  • Who are your competitors?
    What do you think of your competitors’ websites? Are there any other sites you particularly like? Tell us which ones, and why. Tell us about sites you don’t like, too. What is it about a site that annoys or frustrates you?

It will also help to consider the following:

  • Are there any important timings or deadlines that can’t be altered which will affect the website development schedule?
  • Do you have the resources within your team to stick to a schedule once its been agreed?
    You’ll need to allow time for progress meetings, adding content, and testing once development is complete.
  • How will you be marketing your new website?
  • How will you measure the project’s success?

OK, so that’s a long list of questions and things to think about. But it’s worth going through them; you’ll save yourself time, and your business money, if you plan ahead a bit before starting the commissioning process.