The Evolution of Web Design
Let's take a journey thruogh the history of web design companies over the years.
First Generation - The "Friend" Who Knew Computers
In the 1990’s, Netscape and the Internet seemed to leap into our lives overnight. This was the start of the Internet age. Innkeepers went looking for anyone with computer experience because if you could get a website up you might dominate the other bed and breakfasts around you. Guests wanted to see room pictures and learn more about accommodations, not just look in the phone book at the list of possibilities. Search engines, like Lycos and AltaVista, were the buzz and had just come out. Often the search results from these companies were unpredictable but the bed and breakfast industry was on the World Wide Web, something new and exciting.
Whether it was a friend or a friend knew someone who worked with computers, all that mattered was that they could figure out how to create a website, even if it was their first attempt. The Internet was so new and foreign that most computer experts had no previous design experience. This meant that the websites that they created were unattractive and unintuitive. Pricing was either really low or really expensive. Being computer experts, not customer service experts, customer service was difficult to come by.
Second Generation – Print Graphic Designer Turned Web Designer
The second generation of web design literally exploded onto the bed and breakfast industry when print graphic designers started to dabble into web design. While their designs were much improved over those of the computer experts, some print design principles didn't transfer over well to the web. Much like the first generation, some of the downsides from lack of experience continued to plague innkeepers.
Third Generation - Web Design and Hosting Business
Around the start of the twenty first century graphic designers and computer experts combined together to establish legitimate web businesses. They hired both web designers and computer experts to form a stable and competitive web design company. This was a huge improvement over the first two generations of web design. Quality, usability, reliability, and customer service greatly improved with these newly established web design companies. During this time Google came onto the scene and wiped the floor with the competition, finally making searching the Internet predictable and accurate.
One of the major downsides to these new high quality businesses was that the pricing was astronomically high. Large businesses would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for their designs. It took time but some of these web design companies eventually entered the bed and breakfast market. Yet their pricing remained high. By this time digital cameras had come on the scene and innkeepers could easily take pictures and instantly see how they would turn out. Web design companies from the third generation are still going strong today.
Fourth Generation - Enter the Web Builder Site
As web design companies continued to pump out a unique design for each business wanting a website, the cost and time involved kept the price and turnaround times high. The computer experts started to rethink the whole one design per company model and started to create web builder tools. These tools enabled innkeepers to select a template and then build their own website. With software doing all the work and no designer involved, a website could be created for dirt cheap. However, much like during the first generation of web design, innkeepers have no formal web design or search engine training so websites returned to being unattractive and unintuitive. For those with no experience and little free time, do-it-yourself really backfires most of the time.
Fifth Generation - Choose A Design, Enjoy Full Service
Much like the third generation where web designers and computer experts joined together, the fifth generation combines a solid web design company with the power of a next generation website builder. The key is that the web design company pre creates and designs the websites. These companies then use a more advanced web builders to deliver amazing looking websites for a fraction of the cost and time. Instead of being do-it-yourself, these web design companies provide full services. These services range from polishing and moving over text and pictures from existing websites, to interviewing innkeepers and creating new content.
Website visitors rarely notice and don't really care if someone in a different part of the country has a similar website to another website they've come across. Instead of going back and forth in frustration with a graphic designer, you select the design you love and what you see is what you get. As long as the design is attractive and intuitive, guests will visit for the content. This latest generation of web design has all the benefits of previous generations with none of the drawbacks. Bed and breakfasts can enjoy an attractive yet affordable website as well as e-mail with excellent customer service and proper search engine optimization.