Local Business Profile: Lucid Web Design
Derek Bell of Lucid Web Design has lived in Melton South for 10 years and moved his business into Western BACE at Atherstone about 18 months ago. He tells us why having a website is so essential for any business, how he can help and a few of his favourite projects so far.
Why did you decide to move Lucid Web Design to Western BACE in the Atherstone community?
I used to work from home; sometimes that feels like being on an island. I was looking for a nearby co working space that felt right and was part of a local community. This is the perfect space as it allows the ability to move out of a home business to an office space with limited risk involved while ease in scaling up my requirements.
Western BACE itself has a great community and is a fantastic place for sharing ideas; every business has their own story. I love the culture of the place. It has a family feel about it because we will often help each other out.
Another reason I moved was technology related; fast, reliable internet connection is integral for my business. Many applications I use are connected to the cloud. When I’m at Western BACE I can use Creative Cloud and Git all at the same time.
How has Western BACE at Atherstone changed since it first started?
Western BACE has grown in the time I’ve been here, with new faces and businesses coming. It is also interesting to watch the surrounding area grow; in the beginning the building looked lonely against vacant land however this won’t be the case for much longer. New houses are popping up and getting closer; you can see the potential as the city of Melton grows. There are lots of fantastic facilities nearby including the play area for kids on Bridge Road.
Why should small businesses set up their own website even if they have a brick and mortar store? Why are websites important?
Websites are an integral aspect as they are often the first (if not only) point of contact between a business and their customers/clients. More and more stores are going online where it’s expected a business have their own website, otherwise they are at risk of being left behind.
Do you create personal websites for individuals?
Yes – my services include setting up sites for individuals, community groups and businesses. It’s the small projects that can turn out the most interesting and with new project, I’m constantly am challenged to learn and expand my skillset.
There are quite a few budget template website companies out there such as Square Space. Why should people come to Lucid Web Design instead of using one of those?Web design is an extremely competitive industry. Companies such as Square Space and Wix market heavily and offer the ability to create nice looking sites with relative ease. These types of sites can suit businesses starting out.
As a business expands, its needs change. Often these sites can’t provide the flexibility to adapt to the new needs. The business is then faced with a choice: keep wearing the old shoes that no longer fit or buy a new pair. Lucid Web Design can help provide advice on what options and technologies are available. It’s vital a website is not only part of the plan, it’s also given room to grow.
The rise of artificial intelligence is starting to impact the industry as well. AI is being used by some startups to design websites, so it’s forecast to become a major disruptor. At the moment, AI designed sites produce bloated code which is slow and impacts SEO (search engine optimisation). This will no doubt improve as the technology advances. As these technologies become mainstream, the web design industry will adapt accordingly as an exciting new tool.
Who are some of the local businesses you have set up websites for and how have those websites changed those businesses?
I have worked on a number of projects for businesses and communities so it’s challenging to pick some favourites! There are two I’d like to mention.
The first was for the Melton Family History Group called “Another Pair of Socks”. The name comes from the gratitude the soldiers who fought so the Western Front felt when they received donated socks. Despite socks being a small luxury now, it made made a world of difference in the wet trenches during bitterly cold European winters during World War One. The website (meltondistricanzacs.org.au) was a result of many months of hard work by the Melton Family History Group researching the names on the Melton war memorial. Many of the family names are also reflected in our street and road names. The site received a heritage award last year after being nominated by the Vietnam Veterans.
The second site is Compare Education Costs (www.compareeducationcosts.com.au). This is a hand coded site that indexes and searches almost 100,000 courses for local and international students. The site has taken many hours of work writing database and web code. The site itself consists of approximately 250,000 lines of code. Much of that is existing open source code with approximately 100,000 lines written by myself. The site has very individual needs and is under constant development as improvements are made and new features are added.