There are two ways to approach re-designing a website. Perhaps the best analogy is the difference between renovating a house, where you repaint, replace tiles and carpets, install a new kitchen, replace old furniture; OR re-building completely from the foundations to the rooftop. With regard to websites, I absolutely encourage the latter. Let me explain:).
Is your website, no longer 'working for you'?
- it does not represent who you are in the present moment, your passions, your business
- your business has expanded to the point the website has become messy and is not easy to navigate
- you cannot update or edit because your designer/well-meaning friend doesn’t answer your emails anymore
- you just don’t know what to do with it overall and feel 'stuck'
- you have dropped out of search results and no longer get the emails you once did
These days a large percentage of websites are built using templates, which is something I choose not to do. Wordpress, WIX, Joomla etc. Wordpress is actually a blogging template, it was never originally designed to be used for websites, but over the years has become the most popular DIY website template. If you have a template website, I will want to re-design using hand coding (see technical issues below).
Personally, I would find it fundamentally un-ethical to call myself a web designer, if I then just opened a pre-designed template, copied and pasted content, dragged and dropped images, really having no idea about actual web design coding and processes. I liken it to writing a book, building sentence after sentence by moving already written words around on a page, until they seem to fall into place and make a paragraph; without really knowing anything about the language at all... I prefer to write those words, know what they mean, spell them correctly, use synonyms, provide a service from scratch resulting in a personal story.
IT gurus who still hand code, are mostly web developers, and are likely writing the very templates most web designers now use rather than be web designers building websites themselves. It’s a dying art and many an eyebrow has been raised at my insistence on hand coding! However by hand coding I can guarantee to be using the most recently approved CSS, PHP and HTML code, developed and standardised by the W3C (the people who set the standards for design code worldwide). Therefore there is no risk of the code being out of date, or written by someone who didn’t really know what they were doing. It is also a matter of doing it well, and thoroughly, from beginning to end. My clients end up with a clean page, and no excess code to keep Google from focusing on your actual page content.
My goal is to build you a solid, beautiful, energy-infused website, which is also full of fundamental integrity behind the scenes, with all the benefits of a long-term spiritual relationship.
Frontline web designers mostly choose to use templates because it is easy and quick, the code is fairly likely to be current at the time, and they can charge you the same amount they did before, when hand-coding was more common, after all... do you know the difference when looking at websites?
Template websites are fairly easy to spot. Visually, they will look a bit like a busy magazine page; 2-3 columns, lots of separate blocks of text, more than one area for links (which can be confusing to users), bits and pieces all over the place, random text size and colour, random bolding. You may also notice words spill over their boundaries - the areas they are obviously meant to fit neatly into, or drop onto the next line below - when they are supposed to fit neatly left to right... (it never ceases to amaze me how many websites have obvious ”this didn’t quite fit, but oh well” areas, which are never redressed)
Here are some technical issues with templates: not all templates are updated regularly. Some become unpopular as new ones are launched, and if new versions are not on offer, their coding is never updated. When code gets old, Google crawls and indexes the page less often, thus reduce the rankings, and the page stops showing in search results. Some things may also stop working completely.
Templates have basic forms (lines of code that display certain aspects of a web page), and you add “add-ons” if you want more: such as a shopping carts, or an email form.
If you want a shopping cart for example, you add the shopping cart code to your main website code.
However, the shopping cart code may not align perfectly with the basic page code (meaning the code that displays the web page, does not speak exactly the same language as the shopping cart code), so you need bridging code to merge the two.
Eventually the more you add-on, the more bridges have to be created, and believe me there comes a time when it starts to get really, really messy, and eventually the page can fall apart at the seams.
Another issue is the resulting number of lines of code on one page to make it all work together, hundreds and hundreds of lines of code in some cases. One result is search engines such as Google, can give up crawling the page before it gets to the bottom, and therefore not all your content is read.
Bottom line for me; if you have a website you would like re-designed, I will want to re-build from the bottom up, and it will be hand coded, with as minimal code possible, one code, one language, no mess.
“Neri has been my web and graphic designer now for many years. In saying this, she has been much more than this; she is the person who has been by my side every time I get a rush of inspiration. It may not be her inspiration, but she is right there with me, demonstrating the same amount of dedication, passion and perfectionism as if it were her own business. She will chase me for deadlines, give me ideas and help me get back on track with some much needed feedback when I’m a little lost.
With Neri, when it comes to getting it right, there is no such thing as too many changes. She makes you and your business a priority and has endless amounts of patience. Neri is the perfect person to partner with your business, she is extremely talented and efficient at what she does an absolute pleasure to deal with and most importantly, she will never let you down and will always deliver on her promises. I’m quite a harsh critic when it comes to service, but Neri has exceeded every expectation I’ve had and continues to do so.
I highly recommend Neri to any business and in particular sole traders who work a lot on their own. Starting a business can be very daunting, but the best business decision I’ve ever made was finding Neri on Gumtree and signing her up for every adventure along the way. I truly don’t think I will every work with another person I value as much as her.”
Rochelle Morgan - Inspire Innovative Therapies, QLD