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01/09/17

Website of the Year – Essex Business Awards

Mercury Theatre frontpage

We’re no strangers to our websites winning awards. Back in 2014, we scooped the Gold Award for best responsive website at the Essex Digital Awards for Colchester Zoo. We’re pleased to announce that, as well as Colchester Zoo being up for yet another award, The Mercury Theatre is also up for its first gong!

“I am delighted to hear our website has been nominated! It’s been a pleasure to work alongside your team – you have been so quick to respond to any issues or queries, and were particularly supportive of our aim of making the website as accessible as possible.”

Amy Carbonero
Marketing Manager, Mercury Theatre Colchester

The Essex Business Awards have shortlisted six businesses for Website Of The Year and we’re chuffed to have been involved in two of the six. In light of this, allow us to toot our own horn a bit and tell you a bit more about our website builds…

There’s so much more to building websites than downloading a theme. Building a site from the ground up means you can set the foundations and dictate the appropriate materials to suit your needs. There are numerous issues that come with using an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution and they can be divided into 3 key elements;

 

Security.  Usability.  Identity.

 


Security

The main problem with pre-made themes is that many are made for multi-use across a range of business models. As such, they can be pre-packed with unnecessary functionality that just isn’t needed for your business. This can slow down sites, leading to slower page load speeds and thus, hurting your SEO. This ‘Jack of all trades’ approach may seem like a good idea for the relatively small price tag, but it comes at a cost in the end. The potential bloating your site’s content will inevitably lead to bloating and risks opening up some big security holes.

Another issue is that working with an existing site structure can be harder to customise in order to make it fit your business. And as tempting as it is to start playing around and hacking files, something may eventually break. It’s at this point you realise the importance of having an understanding of how it’s foundations were built in order to effectively solve potential problems.

Using out of date technology can also expose gaping holes in your site’s security. And that brings us to the unfortunate subject of Flash. Many site-builders use flash elements and we’re still seeing sites using flash plugins, despite over half of all browsing being mobile and thus, inaccessible. With Adobe announcing a phasing out for Flash by 2020, all sites using these platforms will become obsolete.


Usability

The majority of our clients express the need to be able to update the site as and when, with ease. This is why many businesses end up going down the site-builder route, but as we saw above, this doesn’t solve the security problem.

This is mainly down to lazy practices by those who build unpolished sites with messy admin areas that are decidedly unfriendly to clients. This can lead them to believe all websites look like this under the bonnet, but it’s simply not the case. When built correctly, using established content management systems, updating your blog or editing page information should be as simple as updating a status on Facebook.

At Fever, building from the ground-up, means we can create a custom experience for the client and put them in the driving seat without the worry of compromising the integrity of the site build. We also provide helpful training and guides to aid the user to be self-sufficient. Of course, we’re always on hand if thing’s get a little confusing!

Another aspect of usability is integration. The Mercury Theatre website is integrated with Spektrix, an incredibly powerful ticketing system which required bespoke integration with the site’s framework. This kind of thing just isn’t possible with site-builders and out-of-date technology.

 

Identity

Probably the most obvious point is that your website has the potential look 80-90% identical to anyone else that also had the same idea to download your theme or use the same site-builder. You may swap out a few photos here and there, and input your own copy, but your site will still follow the same basic structure, have the same basic elements and functionality as potentially 1,000’s of other customers. It’s the equivalent of buying a sign for your shop that looks like the shop next door and can show you don’t really value your own identity.

 


All Fever’s sites are wireframed, designed and built from top to bottom using up to date technology and practices, and it’s something we’re pretty proud of! We look forward to seeing the results on the 6th October at the Essex Business Awards in Southend-On-Sea!

By Rowena Bartlett