The ‘as a service’ movement has only recently caught up with websites. It all started with software and thanks to the cloud, the last five years have seen the ‘Software as a service’ (SAAS) movement rapidly picking up momentum. The core principals of 'as a service' are:
Because users are accessing software stored on someone else’s server via the Internet, developers can update the software on the fly. Users receive constant updates as they’re built. Subsequently, unlike traditional software products, software as a service never goes out of date.
A lot of effort is usually spent on making sure that users get the best experience possible – usually including a support team, help documentation and training. It’s a service after all.
The problem with buying software as a product is that it tends to be more expensive and has a finite lifetime. It’ll be retired soon enough, and users will have to pay for the next version. The new version will also become obsolete in time, and so on. Alternatively, by paying a subscription fee (which can be cancelled at given intervals) and receiving the updates for no extra cost, the total cost of ownership (TCO) can be substantially reduced if buying as a service .
In many ways websites are similar to software – which is why we have chosen to offer them as a service. The traditional method of application development was to design and build a website for a client, deploy it and allow the client themselves to manage it going forward . Websites, traditionally, have been a product.
Websites don’t last forever and like software, they’re at the mercy of design trends, disruptive innovations, new technology and browser standards for their survival. When they do become obsolete, they tend to attract high costs just for moderate upgrades – let alone a whole new site altogether making the 'product' version of a website less attractive.
So let’s have a look at what it means to buy your website as a service instead…
Like many things – websites have an expiry date. As we get more involved with our technology, and 'digital-by-default' becomes an everyday part of our lives, that expiry date is growing increasingly brief. We host all our clients websites ourselves, so we’re able to continuously update and add new features to their sites to keep them fresh.
Whenever a new device comes out, such as the latest phone or tablet, websites need to be redesigned to fit the new screen size. We’ve fixed this by designing all our sites to be completely responsive – meaning they fluidly adjust themselves to fit all devices. We build them like this for a variety of reasons but one of these reasons is that responsive design ‘future-proofs’ your website to work on all devices – meaning when the next generation device comes out, regardless of screen size or dimensions, your website will work on it. But it’s not just new devices that can derail your site's effectiveness. Changes to browsers are equally dangerous. Like all software, browsers are constantly being tweaked to suit the changing needs of consumers. In the past, this has had some dire consequences for websites that didn’t change with them. In some cases, websites become buggy and slow, and in other’s they simply ceased to work at all. When our clients take up our service, rather than a once off product purchase, they get a team of developers keeping their website as up-to-the-minute as possible meaning they no longer have to worry about all the sinister browser and device stuff. We worry about that for them.
It’s not just about the logic behind the application, websites might work well but they have to look good too and design trends are equally important to keep up-to-date with. End users can be surprisingly fickle and will soon ignore a site that doesn't adopt new looks and features regularly. Because we’re constantly looking at design trends, we can keep our client’s websites in step with the latest design trends and features. We release new features often and update our client’s websites accordingly.
We make sure our clients’ websites are up to date, but at the end of the day, our clients themselves need to be kept up to date too.
If you have worked with web developers before – you are probably well aware of the time it can take to get changes made to areas of your site. We're also aware of the angst this can cause so we've given you control of all your content, menus, branding, and other customisations with Umbraco. Like any software, Umbraco needs to be learned – so we have a team of in-house support staff to help you out with any issues you might face along the way. They man the help-desk ready to help you as fast as humanely possible.
We host our websites with Amazon and they operate some of the most secure servers available and in the (unlikely) event of a hardware failure, our downtime (if we ever experience any) will be minutes, not hours.
Buying your own custom website can, and usually does, cost you upwards of £10,000. Our start-up fee is a fraction of this, and the recurring payment pays for your hosting, full access to support, and funds our development team to consistently update your site. Rather than paying for a website that’s going out of date, our clients pay for one that’s getting better and better with every passing day.
All in all, we believe this is a far better way to provide websites. Here’s the breakdown;