Years back in 1989, when Tim Berners-Lee, an English Computer Scientist, invented the World Wide Web (WWW), he would have had less idea that his invention will become the backbone of the great Information Age. The Web, another name for WWW, introduced a transitional phase, which at first left businesses in doldrums but later it created an excitement as well.
Not all businesses could primarily reap benefits of this unprecedented change in technology. In its early stages, Web development was limited to bigger enterprises. And, small and medium size businesses had to wait for long in order to harness gains of the Web.
As the Internet usage increased gradually, it marked a rise in the creation of business web pages. It gave easy access to information and businesses started exploring new opportunities and growth dimensions. World Wide Web (WWW) turned out to be an incredible communication medium, which opened more effective ways to connect with customers globally.
A website enables businesses in creating an interactive platform, which can support in better brand positioning. It allows businesses to attract customers even through social media networks, which in the present scenario, constitute to be an essential form of World Wide Web. It is expected that by 2020, approximately 2.95 billion (2.46 billion in 2017) of the total world population will be active users of social media networks. Social media websites facilitate blogs, photo-sharing, discussion forums, chats, business networking and many more.
In an age, where people’s life, businesses and functioning of economies revolves around the new Website culture, it becomes imperative to understand ‘then and now’ factors of this modern technology.
Internet Usage & Website Development Demand – ‘Then and Now’
Before we proceed further to understand changing trends in website designing, it is important to know facts on increasing internet usage and rising demand for websites. It will give us a better idea on how the growth of internet and web pages have completely revolutionized people, businesses and economies worldwide.
In 1995, less than 1% of the total world population used the Internet. And after 22 years, today approximately 50 % of the total world population are internet users. According to a report published on wearesocial.com, approximately 3.773 billion of the 7.476 billion total world population uses the Internet.
Converged with the creation of various forms of web pages, the Internet has made everything dependent. From buying products, such as apparels, electronic devices, groceries or anything for that matter, to booking travel tickets; from making friends online to finding the best life partner; from uploading photographs to publishing a book – everything can be done instantly through different website platforms.
With technological advancements leading to the birth of new business landscape, demand for website development has unprecedentedly increased. Let’s check the fact.
In 1991 there was only one website developed at CERN (info.cern.ch). Wikipedia informs that according to a study done by MIT Researcher Matthew Ray, there were approximately 623 websites by the end of 1993. And, this figure crossed 1 billion marks in September 2014 and is still counting.
The inventor of World Wide Web also tweeted on ‘Number of Websites’ reaching such a high level.
http://t.co/D9pwMXuZOa recently passed a billion websites by their count….
— Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee) September 16, 2014
How Much It Cost to Develop a New Website – ‘Then and Now’
Price to develop a website was a great concern back in 90s but today what matters the most is – Why do you aim to develop a website and for what? Whether it will be meant to run an eCommerce business, to post personal blogs or to write news articles, for instance – prices today differ according to your needs and services you want to avail.
Back in 90s, an average cost of developing a website fluctuated between $7500 to $12000. Unlike those days, price to use technology has significantly receded and it is easily accessible. This has led to the fall of costs required to develop a new website. Competition is continuously increasing
and web hosting service providers are busy formulating new ways to woo customers.
Buying a domain name and web hosting services is not a big deal these days. There are innumerable service providers available online. They not only offer products and services at economical price but many of them are even available to assist in developing, designing and maintaining of websites.
Unlike 1990s, buying a domain name is now costs less than $10 per year. On other hand, web hosting services can be bought in less than $300 per year and many service providers even offer a free domain name for a year. Moreover, there are options such as ‘shared hosting’ that can further reduce the price to develop a web site.
However, today there are multiple factors that determine costs to build a website. Companies enabling in buying a domain name and catering web hosting services keep themselves busy in wooing customers offering innumerable features at competitive prices. But real costs lie beneath. Apart from buying a domain name and web hosting services, following are other various services, which can add the price of website developing.
- Designing and Developing – Platforms such as WordPress enables the user to design their website themselves. However, in order to avail professional website designers and developers, will incur some more costs.Availing SEO Services – Registering for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services, helps in better ranking of the website on various search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and many more.
- Website Maintenance Services – Once the website is ready to be launched, maintaining it becomes paramount. Therefore, it must be decided, who will take care of the website maintenance. Web hosting service providers also offer to take care of complete website maintenance. And, users can avail such services offered by professionals.
- Adding a Separate Blog Section – Blogging is an important method to increase website traffic and therefore, businesses want a separate blog section on the website. It can help in generating brand awareness and delivering product information to customers.
- Incorporating Multimedia Features – A platform that converges audio, video, print, photography and other advanced mediums leaves an unending impact on visitors. And, therefore deciding on whether to add multimedia features to the website or not, can make a price difference.
- Connectivity to Social Media Channels – Social media network has emerged to be the most common platform, where both customers and businesses interact more actively. Reports suggest that customers love to follow their favorite brands on Facebook, which is the most popular social network website in 2017. They post their queries on Twitter and businesses actually answer such queries of customers on social media networks. Therefore, it becomes imperative for a new website to have Social Media connectivity options.
- Marketing Website Online – Marketing a new newly launched website is another important factor. Placing advertisements, writing and inserting content and various other forms of website marketing support in gaining wider market share. Therefore, it is important to decide who will be taking care of marketing of the website.
Mentioned are some of the major factors that determine the price of developing a website in the current scenario.
Points to Keep in Mind Before Buying Web Hosting Services
Besides, there are some other factors that determine the price factor while developing a website. People who are thinking to develop a new website for the first time must keep in mind some more factors that play a key role in setting the price. The reason being that cost of website designing can be confusing if all the factors are not well known.
While buying web hosting services to develop a simple website, customers should ask few of the following questions such as – What is the space being offered? How many visitors will be allowed on the website? How many email IDs does the package include? And many other such features of the package.
Similarly, when developing a website to run an eCommerce website, factors such as – number of images allowed, payment gateway, security certificates such as SSL, malware protection, privacy and many other, makes a difference in the price of developing a website.
While buying a web hosting plan must also ensure that – whether it is dedicated web hosting or a shared web hosting. It is suggested to have a little bit of information readily available before you actually decide to buy web hosting services.
Factors Impacting Modern Website Designing
Transformations in technology have changed people’s behavior drastically. From reading the daily news, expressing views, participating in debates to music and other forms to entertainment – everything revolves around one or the other websites. People can now access all forms of information and communicate instantly across various media platforms – right through their smartphones. And therefore, any single element that can make the website seamless and compelling can not be ignored. It is an age where users just want to scroll down to find relevant information on their fingertips. Keeping these various factors in mind, following are some of the many elements that are paramount for a modern website designing.
- Website’s Look and Feel
Look and feel of a website here means the User Interface (UI). How does it look? How user-friendly is it?Businesses, big or small, cannot ignore the importance of having a user-friendly User Interface (UI). Putting entire website component such as images, layout, content and many more must be well arranged. How effectively has graphics been used? How well have images been placed on the website? How well is the content defined? Such factors play an essential role in holding visitors. The ultimate goal is that visitors should be able to quickly find the information they are looking for.
- Responsiveness of Websites
Developing a responsive website is the demand of this technological age. The term ‘Responsive’ in relation to web developing is newly developed. It is aimed at making the website flawless for users and offering them optimum viewing experience. A website is made responsive to eliminate excessive panning, scrolling, page resizing and many other factors that can lead to dissatisfaction of users. With a responsive website, customers get a seamless navigating experience with usability and accessibility getting much convenient.
- Content Has A Larger Role to Play
Content, above all other factors, play an imperative role in converting a visitor into a prospective buyer. How well is the content framed? How informative is it? What is the font used? – Everything matters. Content is that part of a website, which convinces and encourages visitors to come again.Content Management System (CMS), today enable designers or the website owners to manage and optimize content in the best possible way. As content has a larger role to play, it is important to decide on its efficient management.
Websites Are Being Used for Diverse Activities
In early years, website developing was limited to business firms mainly. But as technologies transformed, trends in website developing rapidly changed. Not only businesses but even individual professionals created a website to showcase their work to rest of the world.
Some display their handicraft work and some develop their photography profile – websites play a vital role in individuals getting recognized across boundaries.
The new website culture goes beyond limitations of time. One can use the web to find information 24 x 7. Customers can buy products and services online on various eCommerce websites, even after working hours. Students can find study materials and download them. Websites allow a student in Dubai to find a mentor in America. In short, with such an exponential growth of World Wide Web, entire world stands on one single platform.
Websites have also brought a revolution in the life of small businessmen across the world. Developing a dedicated business website supports companies in informing and educating global customers about products and services they are offering. With this, businesses can seamlessly connect to global customers and can have an easy access to a wider market.
Therefore, with technology and lifestyle trends changing at a breakneck speed, websites today end up being the best platform to perform diverse activities.
‘Then and Now’ Factors of Website Development
When the first ever website was developed in 1991, it was based mainly on texts. It did not offer any visual delight and was based purely on textual information. Designing, layout options, images, videos and other various components that can be implemented while developing a website today, were not available back in 90s.
Those were the days of Dial-Up Modems. Internet connections were slow and lightweight websites were optimised accordingly. Later, things evolved and designers were able to better organize content through layouts based on Tables. It made space to be creative and added flexibility to use rows, links, columns and other similar features that could have helped in better positioning of information. In short, website developing revolved around basic HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).
Later, sometime in 1996, the development of Flash, a programming language, opened innumerable website designing options, which added wings to web designers’ creativity. Furthermore, options to add hyperlinks to icons and to improve color, pixels, resolutions of a website came with CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), a language used to describe an HTML document style.
Around the year 2004, the second generation of World Wide Web I.e. Web 2.0 attracted businesses. Designed and content merged. It facilitated enhanced SEO methods and can be said to be the base for contemporary website designs.
In the prevailing market scenario, UX (User-Experience Design) is playing a key role in enhancing accessibility and usability for users, making websites user-friendly. Today, an interactive and responsive website plays a paramount role in implementing business strategies effectively and enhancing conversion rate optimization (CRO).
With increased usage of electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets, now trends in website designing has changed more rapidly. Businesses need to ensure availability on all platforms as customers are today well informed and tech-savvy. Therefore, websites designed these days are made highly responsive, which can open on all platforms. Modern websites designs offer users a seamless experience, which can turn a visitor into a prospective customer.
Do You Need to be Technically Sound to Understand Web Development Nuances?
The answer is – No.
The Information Age has divided people into two groups – technical and non-technical. And, education rate has not much role to play in this common belief.
Using the Internet for performing various tasks and working over it, is a different thing, but knowing about technicalities of Web Development is an entirely different field of study. At least, many of us still take this to be a true fact.
Whereas, things are not same now. Search engines, such as Google, are always available to assist and guide even a non-technical person, who is looking to build a new website. How to build a website? How much a new website cost? Where to buy a domain name and which web hosting service should be used? – All such information is easily accessible on Search Engines. And therefore, it won’t be wrong to assume that for creating a website, it is not imperative to be technically sound.
Gone are the days, when lack of information and knowledge, shattered dreams of small businesses to own a website; when the competition was less and high price of developing a web page put a break on the desire to connect with global customers.
With rapid transformations in technology and competition getting steepish, developing a web page is actually possible within a day. Be it creating a website to write travelogues or be it creating an eCommerce web page – it is now everyone’s cup of tea.
The Internet is that Information Distribution System (IDS) which enables small and big enterprises to play leapfrog with more developed market across the world. For instance, businessmen in Africa, having access to the Internet, can develop a website or web shop and can connect to a customer in Dubai, UAE, to sell his products and services.
World Wide Web (WWW) is that communication service which is meant to give an easy and instant access to information and education through Internet-enabled computer networks. Gone are the days when people had to wait for newspapers every morning in order to get the latest news. Websites make it available in almost real-time.
The billions of web pages today have simplified life to a great extent. Perhaps, this is why it is called the great ‘Information Age’ as innumerable websites make information readily available. Making research work, checking facts, getting images, reading and all other various activities on the web is helping people in different class and society.
Gone are the days, when designing a website was thought to be a complex process. Modern technologies eliminate entire complexities of web developing and allows people even from rural areas to understand different nuances of developing a website. The new ‘Website Culture’ has completely encompassed people, businesses and economies. And, there is much more that lies ahead.