Website Design

Why is Bendigo a Web Design Backwater?

September 2017
Che Stevenson

You know what, I’m just going to come right out and say it: Bendigo is a website design backwater! There, I said it!

My colleagues in the industry are probably going to rip my head off! But it had to be said: you can only truly address a problem if you first call it out and see it for what it really is.

But it’s not enough to just highlight the problem, you can only move forward by offering a solution. So I ask: what are we doing wrong, and how can we fix it?

Does low competition breed complacency?

Bendigo has had web developers since the 1990’s, and has offered website design as a service to local businesses for many years.

As a regional community, Bendigo has a lower demand for web design and a less urgent sense of competition between service providers. Web design in Bendigo hasn’t been forced to grow and adapt to the same extent as those in a more competitive market.

The result? Established web agencies in Bendigo remained successful despite employing out of date techniques and technology, where their capital city counterparts would have gone out of business a long time ago.

By not keeping step with broader trends, our local industry has failed the customer, forcing them to attempt DIY web design or to look further afield for web developers who are up to speed with industry changes.

Where are we struggling to keep up?

By using out of date coding techniques and failing to leverage the power of modern content management systems like Wordpress and Drupal, our clients are often left with a lower quality of website in the end.

Fully bespoke web development requires a significant investment of time and effort to ensure that all the basic requirements are in place, it’s simply becoming an increasingly impractical approach to web development.

The requirements for even a basic website are huge. Clients want:

  • Modern design
  • Mobile device responsiveness
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Content creation
  • Lead generation
  • Fast load speeds
  • The list goes on…

If you aren’t building your website from a good content management system framework you are reinventing the wheel every time, and you can expect this to take a very, very long time. Either that or the website developer cuts corners…

And they get away with it too! At least in the short term – most clients wouldn’t know whether their website is fast, or well search engine optimised. They just have to trust their developer that they’ve done a good job.

It’s a big problem but all is not lost.

The sudden collapse last year of a prominent Bendigo website developer (I don’t think I need to name names!) is symptomatic of the problems in the local industry.

They promised a better, more modern, approach to website design, and the customers came in droves. But in the end they failed to deliver a satisfactory product – customers started getting that “my website isn’t very good, it just isn’t working” feeling … and the outcome is history now.

Selling web design isn’t hard; doing it is!

This is what really irks me: Bendigo doesn’t need to be a backwater, it shouldn’t be, it can’t afford to be. If we all open our eyes to the fact that there are no ‘small regional markets’ any more – it’s all one global marketplace – and we hold ourselves to a world-class standard, then we can turn this thing around!

Here’s my rallying call to Bendigo’s web designers…

Things are beginning to change, and so they should. Creative Revolution is not the only local web developer that takes a modern approach to website design and produces a great product. You guys know who you are; I’m not looking at you.

But for those of you who are clinging to the old ways: those of you who are hardcoding your sites, managing all updates on behalf of your clients, producing desktop-only sites… This is for you:

  • Use a content management system – your clients shouldn’t have to wait for you every time they want to make a change to the text on their site
  • Make damn sure every single site you build is fully and beautifully mobile device responsive – 30-50% of your client’s website traffic is mobile and every user should have a great experience on the site
  • Build from a content framework – some people think templates are a dirty word, but when used as a springboard they can do a lot of the heavy lifting on the site and allow you to focus on the things that make your client’s site special
  • Focus on your client’s goals – every website is a tool, and it needs to be the right tool for the job, whether that job is eCommerce, information, lead generation, or campaign messaging

That’s it. Get with the program, or your customers will find someone who will.

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