Web Design Package Deals
Before you decide whether to get web hosting and web design from the same provider, it's important to understand the difference between the two.
Web hosting is how hosting companies make web pages available to anyone surfing the internet. Your web hosting provider makes sure there is enough bandwidth to handle your web traffic, and it may perform site analytics to help you track the performance of your site.
Web design is the process of creating the actual pages that make up your website: making them look a certain way and placing various types of content -- such as text, photos, video, and navigational links -- across the pages of your site. A web designer works with text, graphics, fonts, and colors to give you a website that looks the way you want. You can have one company to take care of design and hosting, or you can purchase these services from separate providers.
Advantages of Design and Hosting Package Deals
Using one provider for both hosting and website design is convenient, and you can often get both services for less than what you would pay if you worked with one hosting company and a separate web designer.
When working with a designer, it's important to know how a design / hosting company defines "design" -- whether they mean editing off-the-shelf templates or designing a site from scratch. Typically, if you get your hosting and design services from the same provider, you will get your website up and running faster than if you were working with two separate providers. This can be an advantage if you need to get your site going quickly.
Drawbacks of Package Deals
Disadvantages of getting hosting and design from one provider often have to do with website redesigns. Sometimes when clients need a site redesign, their requests for an update go unanswered, and sometimes clients have a hard time wresting control of their site back from the company that is providing hosting and design in order to work with a different web designer. Make sure you understand the terms of your contract and whether it covers updates and site maintenance.
If you want to maximize control over your site, register the domain name yourself rather than having your hosting / design company do it for you. This will help should you need to separate your design from your hosting provider in the future. Getting your hosting and design from the same provider is similar to putting all your eggs in one basket: it's convenient, but risky too.
What Business Owners Should Expect
If you are getting real web design services (as opposed to a bunch of templates from which you can choose) from your hosting service, here are some general guidelines about what specific services you can expect:
- Initial phone or face-to-face consultation with designer
- Your company logo worked into your website design
- Approval of proposed design or request for changes
- A certain amount of content updating within a specified period after your site goes live
- Professional formatting and styling
- An agreed-upon number of content pages
- Instruction on editing and managing your site once it's live
General Trends in Web Hosting and Design
If you haven't yet heard the term "responsive web design," you soon will. Responsive web design is the design of websites so that they look and function well whether the visitor is using a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. Be certain to speak to your web designer about accommodating mobile users, because they will make up an increasing portion of your web traffic, as long as they are able to read, navigate, and enjoy your site on a variety of devices.
Great content is another thing your site can't do without, and the site's colors, typography, and layout can enhance content or detract from it. Work with a designer who understands the importance of showcasing great content.
Web design and hosting may be offered as package deals, and in some cases getting both services from one provider is the right choice. However, it is critical that web design offered by hosting providers meets your needs for an aesthetically-pleasing site that is useful and engaging for web visitors accessing the site on any number of devices.
If you're interested in exploring your options and comparing vendors, check out Business.com's pages on web design. The more informed you are, the better the services you decide upon will serve your business.
Photo Credit: Murak Erturk