Open Source vs Proprietary

Open Source vs Proprietary


There are two options when it comes to choosing your website platform – open source or proprietary. They both have their pros and cons, and one may very well be more suited to you or your business. Each business does require the same key element – a web development platform which easily enables impactful design and  user experience.  


There are some questions you will need to ask yourself before making a decision. What is your budget? Do you wish to sell products online or display your services on a brochure site? Are you planning on growing your business? What are the risks of choosing one option over the other?


Here, we’ll dive into exactly what open source and proprietary are and the key differences between the two.  


What is open source?


Open source platforms are essentially software that can easily be accessed and utilised by developers without needing to purchase a license. Open source refers to the open source code availability for multiple people to alter and tweak. The source code is behind the scene coding which determines the front facing design and usability for users. 


Pros of Open Source


Open source is a more budget-friendly option and includes free basic templates. For instance, bloggers starting out and businesses offering services tend to use open source as it acts as an efficient interface for providing information to an audience and it doesn’t require a cost investment. If you have a low budget or are a small business, open source may be the best option.


A key benefit is the flexibility this platform offers, allowing multiple users to access your site and edit when needed. Once set up, web pages can easily be added by those who don’t aren’t experienced in web development. 


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Cons of Open Source


You won’t receive 24/7 support or assistance. When issues arise, your website will display the issue until you can eventually resolve it through troubleshooting. During this time, it’s likely you will lose out on potential customers. Your site only has an average eight seconds to capture users’ attention before they click out.


Arguably the biggest downfall is the fact open source websites are more prone to viruses and security risks due to the source code being easier to access by all, including those with bad intentions. This is something you will need to seriously consider when choosing your platform. 


The owner is responsible for updating the system as required. This means if these updates aren’t undertaken by the owner, your site can become outdated and even become unsupported, like that of Magento 1. In 2020, it was announced Magento 1 would no longer update and instead was being replaced by a faster and more secure version – Magento 2.  This left businesses to either remain on Magento 1 and face imminent security risks, migrate to Magento 2 or build a completely new site elsewhere. 


Open source platforms:

Magento, Joomla, WordPress and Drupal


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What is proprietary? 


Proprietary platforms are also called closed platforms due to the coding being owned by the original author or web developer. Unlike open source, proprietary requires payment through a paid licensing agreement. This payment gives you the ability to create a bespoke, customised website, with more features than that of a closed source platform. 


Pros of proprietary


To put it simply, proprietary software allows you to create a more advanced website with a curated navigation and design to perfectly match your branding. The site can grow as your business grows, with the ability to display as many products as you desire. Utilising proprietary ensures a more secure site as your source code is less accessible. And rest assured, with your payment plan, you will receive 24/7 support to fix bugs immediately. 


Cons of proprietary


The cost. While proprietary will cost you, you get what you pay for. However, your business may not necessarily need this investment if you are a small business or primarily service based. 


In addition, you should be selective on which platform you pick so those who are inexperienced with web development have the ability to make alterations as required. Certain proprietary platforms, such as Squarespace, are user-friendly. 


If you need to discuss the suitable option for you, get in touch with our experts for free advice.


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Proprietary platforms: 

Sitecore, Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Enterprise Content Management


SEO Strategies: Benefits of Alt Text for On Page SEO


Alt Text is a form of on page SEO that allows Google to register what the images within your site actually include, and then index them. When you incorporate keywords within this alt text, it will help place your webpage in front of those who search the keywords. Therefore, utilising highly searched keywords within your alt tags will directly increase how many viewers see your brand.


What is Alt Text?


You may be wondering what alt text actually is. Images have alt text for people who are visually impaired. This is essentially text that describes the image and is sometimes referred to as alt tag and alt description. While acting as a description for the visually impaired is first and foremost alt text’s primary purpose, it has since become an on page SEO strategy. 


The Web Co is a local SEO agency with decades of experience. Talk to us today.


On Page SEO Strategy: Alt Text


There are many opportunities to incorporate on page SEO strategies in order to fully optimise your site to appear in search engines. Adding alt text to your images doesn’t only optimise your site, but without this action, your site can actually be punished, pushing your site even further down search results.


Google relies on the alt text to learn the context of the images when a site fails to render. Not only this. Let’s say users enter your site when it hasn’t been rendered. These users will see descriptions of the would-be images in place of them, avoiding blank spaces from appearing. The blank spaces would have encouraged users to not trust the webpage and click out, increasing the bounce rate.  


It’s clear that implementing alt text is an action that doesn’t take long and pays off with its results. When you get to the stage of building pages, it’s crucial that writing alt tags become second nature in order to truly reap the benefits.


A pro SEO tip for on page SEO optimisation is to enable a protocol whereby tables are placed at the top of each site page in the document your writer is crafting the content on. This table could include the URL, meta title, meta description, alt text and H1 tag. 


Utilising the tables will enable a checklist and avoid those employees who aren’t trained copywriters having to write these elements. It additionally avoids any confusion of the specific page the copywriter is referring to, and where the each page begins and ends. 


Whether you’re after small business SEO or you’re wanting to maintain your current ranking, The Web Co can assist you with your SEO marketing strategy.


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How to Write Alt Texts


The key with writing alt text is not just to keyword stuff the description. Just like sentences in blogs, there needs to be fluidity in the alt description so you can read it like a normal sentence. 


The main purpose of alt text is to speak to those who are visually impaired. Ensure you are describing the image to this audience when you are writing this text. It needs to make sense, not be too complex and likewise, not too simple. 


To create an image alt text, choose one or two relevant, popular keywords that will be associated with your image. The keywords should be related to your business or service, and describe the image itself. For example, if you own a mechanic business and the image is a man opening their car hood, the image alt text could say “A man repairing a car.” Google will crawl this description and use it to judge the relevancy of your image, which will impact your web page ranking and the image ranking too. This will help increase your rank in the web search results as well as the image search results.


Remember, you must spend some time playing around with phrasing to seamlessly incorporate one or a couple keywords. Long-tail keywords will do especially well.


Alt Text Examples


  • Fresh vegetarian ramen ​​noodle soup with tofu, bok choy,  cheese and shiitake mushrooms in a blue bowl
  • Handsome businessman working remotely on laptop during lockdown
  • Family of three eating a picnic at the beach 

Need a hand in optimising your website element with your targeted keywords? Let us help you.


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Did you know your site has only 15 seconds to capture your target audience’s attention? This is the average amount of time a user spends on a website. It’s called the 15-second rule.


In order to decrease your bounce rate and draw in long-standing audiences, you must satisfy consumer expectations. Sounds simple? Well there are never-ending elements that can make the process complex. 


Technology advancements have resulted in a society that relies on instant gratification. Consumers expect more than they first did when the digital era began, at a faster rate. If you don’t provide users with what they are searching for, they can simply click out and find it in the next Google result. 


User experience (UX) and load times, as well as providing the information searchers are looking for,  are main contributing factors to convince users to not only stick around but click your Call-To-Actions (CTA’s). It’s these magical moments that generate leads and the resulting profit.


After responsive website design? We are your local NZ website design and web development company ready to transform your audience’s online experience.


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What is user experience (UX)?


User experience covers the entirety of the customer’s journey on your site. An extensive range of elements cohesively work together to satisfy the consumer’s expectations. 


From the very beginning to the moment they leave the page, the solution to their problem should be clear, in a pathway that is aesthetic and simply makes sense. Here are some areas you can focus on to improve the UX and therefore enable response website design and development. 


1. Incorporate high-quality, relevant imagery


When people arrive on your site, they will have an instant reaction. It is your website design that initiates this reaction. Choosing visuals that are in theme with your brand yet have some level of variation will please the viewer’s eye. 


Don’t be scared to use white space. Your site shouldn’t be too jam packed or it will have the opposite effects. It’s all about balance.


2. Intuitive navigation


Woman happy with responsive website design and development



This part is crucial for the UX. Remember, you are speaking to an audience that is used to instant gratification. If at any point in the customer journey, the customer has to actively search for answers or CTA’s, this will significantly impact your bounce rates.


The navigation should be easy to follow by being intuitive to the user. Just like we read left to right, or expect a CTA following valuable information to easily allow us to get to the next step. The information should be in order.


While it might be tempting to have a website that breaks new ground creatively, most users prefer navigation that is similar to other websites they use. This means keeping logins, search bars, shopping carts, logos, store locators, etc. in the same areas as most other websites.


3. Mobile responsive website


Recently, the number of users accessing information through phones has surpassed the number accessing sites through a laptop. It’s well past the stage where a mobile website design is an addition. It’s part of the package you need to succeed. A necessity, one could say.


If your site isn’t easy to navigate from a mobile device, members will bounce out of your site, increasing your bounce rate. It’s a no brainer, to compete in the current market, you should focus on making your website mobile friendly.


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4. Usability Testing


The best, and often easiest way, to check your websites UX is to ask the users. Usability testing can find out if there are any ‘pain’ points in your website and can be as simple as getting a few friends or family to perform common tasks on your website. If  you can watch them while doing this – even better.


Once the users have explored your site, ask them how easy they found it accomplishing tasks, what they liked and what areas they found could be smoother.


You will be amazed what insights you gain from running a few simple tests.


If you’re not sure your website’s UX is up to scratch, we can perform a UX audit on your site and give feedback on how to improve it.

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5.  Add Call to Actions (CTA’s) effectively


Put it this way, without CTA’s strategically placed on your website, you are only providing information to your target audience. Your aim is to generate valued leads through CTA’s which your target audience can click on, whether that leads them to a contact form, a sign up form or more. 


Some viewers are at the stage where they know they want to click further and are searching for CTA’s.  While other times, your placement can encourage visitors to click further even when they weren’t intending to when they first entered your site. Either way, the strategy you have in place will directly result in leads. 


The key is to ensure the CTA’s stand out visually from the remainder of the content, by inserting them as distinctive buttons in the website design. 


The Web Co’s team of expert web designers have decades of experience learning the tricks of the trade to get your site to stand out from the competition. 


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