For a majority of your customers, your website is typically the first place they come in contact with your brand. Learning how to find a web designer and having a strong online presence is essential for all businesses today. In a study done by MineWhat.com, they found that:
Today's shoppers are looking for more than just the best price, they also want a great user experience. If your website doesn't engage your users or it's hard to navigate, they are going somewhere else and quickly. Below are a few website user statistics that were compiled by the team over at Impact Brand:
So as you can see, giving your users and potential customers a great web experience is key. But how should you go about finding a web design company that can create the experience your business is looking to deliver? For many small businesses, they either build it themselves or have a friend's son who took a class in high school do it. This is a risky move, considering the impact your website can have on your business.
While your website may not be where the transactions of your business take place, it is where your potential customers decide whether or not to do business with you. Taking the time to get it right and invest in your website will pay off big in the long run.
Below are 10 things to keep in mind when looking for a freelance web designer or web design agency to help you build your new site.
Just like any other industry, having a good reputation speaks volumes. Ask designers for references from companies they've worked with. Check out their Google, Facebook, and other review sites to see what people have said about them and their work.
You know your business better than anyone else. Sharing your insight is extremely valuable. When interviewing designers, make sure they actually listen to your ideas. Sure, they are the "creatives" but your voice needs to be heard.
On the flip side, web designers should be able and willing to share their ideas. You are hiring them to design, so that is what they need to do. You don't want a "yes man", you want a creative partner to bring your company's online presence alive.
Since having a website won't give you more visibility on its own, Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is vital to a thriving website. In order for your site to show up in search, it needs to be optimized. Your web designer should have a basic, if not in-depth understanding of how to build and structure a website. This will ensure that your site will not only look great but also get crawled by the search engines and have a better chance of ranking.
For more on this topic check out: 10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid During Your Next Resign
More than half of all searches are done on a mobile device. For most people, their phones are the typical way they interact online. This means your site must look and function great on mobile. Responsive design enables your website to adapt or respond to the size of a screen without losing its look and feel. Make sure any designer you connect with knows and uses responsive design.
Knowing up front what the design process will look like will save you a ton of stress. Agency and freelance designers must have good project management skills. Ask prospective designers what the timeline and expectations for your project are. If they have none, I can assure you the process will be painful.
Having a "pretty" website is pointless unless it actually works. Conversions are actions you want your visitors to take such as filling out a form, clicking a link or calling your business. Conversion elements are an essential part of web design because they help your visitor engage with the site. Make sure you hire a designer or agency that knows how to optimize your conversion rate.
You want your site to be relevant. This is where you need a web designer that keeps up with trends. Professional web designers have portfolios that you can review to get a sense of their work. Compare their portfolio to what you like and see going on in your industry today. If they haven't kept up with the trends, they're probably a bad choice.
We all want a deal, but when it comes to web design services, the old "you get what you pay for" saying is true. There are a number of great low-cost options, but for a customized site expect to pay anywhere around $6000 and up. When investing this type of money into a site, you will typically have better function and a more secure site than if you use a free platform.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated with fresh content.
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