Tips for creating a custom CMS website on a budget
A custom CMS (content management system) is a good choice to keep down future costs because you or a staff member may manage new site content without technical skills or paying each time for changes.
Web Design Price, Quality, and Value Compared
CMS Design Tip #1: Budget funds for as much quality as you can afford for the initial development and launch of your custom CMS web design.
Like any consumer product, paying more for quality that lasts provides value for money spent. This is true for a custom CMS web design. To establish a design budget our advice for analyzing web design prices may help you avoid the mistakes others make.
Value depends on quality, so an expensive price for a nice looking website could be misleading. A cheap price even though nice looking could be a mistake. If you look for the cheapest price and lack the technical skills to analyze quality, you may end up with a website that just doesn’t perform. Websites and knockoff consumer products can appear like the real deal until they fall apart or become outdated exceedingly quickly.
A quick test of quality for any website is to validate the code, so Google the phrase “validate html” to locate the free W3C online tool. Check out a potential designer’s work by testing their design. If the site is in xhtml and complies to W3C without errors, that’s a good indicator the designer cares about quality. The next tip provides more advice for evaluating a CMS web designer.
Choices When Selecting a CMS Web Designer
CMS Design Tip #2: Evaluate your options for a source to create the custom CMS web design based on their quality and experience.
An amateur CMS web designer who states “I can do web design” is probably correct. Children 10 years old or younger at grade school level can design websites. Creating an attractive custom CMS web design may seem easy, yet creating a website that performs well attracting business and search engines is different.
Here are a few CMS web design service options to consider. The first 3 could be free except for the time needed to setup, manage, and update your website. The other web designer options involve cost.
- Do It Yourself Web Design
2. Trust a Friend or Relative
3. Use a Free Standard Template
4. Purchase a Premium CMS Template
5. Hire a Freelance CMS Web Designer
If you lack experience, the first 4 options for free or nearly free web design involve climbing a steep learning curve to have a quality CMS website that performs well. With zero experience, it may take 200 or more hours just to research, evaluate, and select a good CMS software package, and then modify it to your unique look in preparation for installation and launch.
Hiring a freelance web designer may be the best choice, yet use due diligence to verify their quality and experience. Have them provide performance evidence for their website. Ask for links to customer CMS design projects that demonstrate quality and performance for their clients, too.
Inexperienced designers may exaggerate or overpromise. Many prefer to discuss what they will do for you without real evidence. This has been proven by catching the lies of firms begging for web design work as subcontractors, yet they cannot prove results for their site or their customers. If a person or company can truly provide a quality custom design solution that performs well, they will have evidence.
Another test is asking if the designer can create a custom CMS in xhtml in a tableless design with valid code to W3C with the ability to add new pages in plain text without learning advanced technical skills. A custom design meeting that sentence should display well now and on new computing inventions for years to come. You may want to ask for evidence that their designs are cross-browser compatible and will display well in all major browsers, too.
Plan Details of Your Site Launch and Growth
CMS Design Tip #3: Plan to add original quality content often to your new custom CMS web design to attract repeat visitors.
A website launch cannot succeed unless your product or service is one-of-a-kind or extremely unique. If you have competition and a one-shot web design budget, your competitor may outperform your website by constantly adding fresh content that gives visitors a reason to return. That site traffic will include repeat shoppers and search engines eager to access that new content.
The purpose of a CMS (content management system) is the ability to add original quality content often but not too often that it creates a pattern for Google. Before a single line of code is written, my advice is mapping out the site navigation of the initial launch, and pencil in future site growth. The navigation outline will allow you to envision where to add content in the future while keeping a logical site structure so visitors don’t get lost.
During the custom design planning phase, avoid the temptation of having just something or anything online like an under construction one-pager as a place holder. A more developed site with very general information is nearly as bad. Think of a brick and mortar store having a grand opening while half their shelves are empty. You need to make a positive first impression, so do not launch your until you have provided sufficient details of your product or service to convince visitors to consider you.
In summary when choosing a custom CMS web design, budget as much quality as you can afford, use due diligence in selecting your design team, and invest ongoing time or money for future development of your design. Online success of your website depends on planning ahead and implementing our “add original quality content often” strategy along with these custom CMS web design budget tip