No matter what tools you use to develop a website, it's important that your site is streamlined and accessible. While it may not matter to most users, our expertise and attention to detail is nonetheless very important, and often overlooked by other website designers.
Some companies (GoDaddy, Quickbooks, etc.) offer “Instant Websites!” which use pre-designed templates that the user can simply log in and edit. Yes, this is cheap. However, it's not fast or easy — at least not if you want to change anything on the template. That aside, the worst thing about these DIY websites is from coding standards, they are a mess. So what? Read on…
A website with ‘GOOD' coding has many advantages.
- Your website is highly accessible to search engines.
- Your website can be viewed by users on PCs, Apple, mobile phones, tablets and a variety of screens and browsers.
- Your website is fully accessible to users with assistive devices, such as screen readers*.
- Your website is easy to update and expand.
- Your website's code is standardized and functional, and will continue to work as technology advances.
- You will not be “stuck” with your current web person or designer. This important if you ever decide to edit your site in-house or outsource it to someone else.
Is it the LAW?
There are website accessibility laws that apply to government agencies. These may or may not apply to your privately owned website (yet). But do you really want to turn away potential customers just because they are viewing your website on different type of computer or device than you are?
508 Law discusses the Rehabilitation Act and how it applies to websites and other electronic communication: “In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily… ” [visitwww.section508.gov to read more]
My advice if you go DIY.
If you really don't have a budget at all and/or really and truly want to figure it out and do it yourself, I highly recommend WordPress. Get your feet wet by creating a WordPress blog for free. This may very well be all you need. You can even purchase a domain name (yourname.com) and point it to your blog. Or, if you want to create a “real website”, buy yourself a domain name, set up hosting account, install WordPress and take it from there. If at any point, you need a little or a lot of help, we'd be happy to hear from you.