For a majority of your customers, your website is typically the first place they come in contact with your brand. Having a great online experience 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 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 users statics 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 web designer to help you build your new site.
1. A Good Reputation
Just like any other industry, having a good reputation speaks volumes. Ask designers for references of 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.
2. Respect Your Ideas
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.
3. Willing to Give Suggestions
On the flip side, the web designer 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.
4. Have an Understanding of SEO
Having a website won't give you more visibility on its own. 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 on 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
5. Have a CMS they Work With
Having a Content Management System (or CMS) that allows you, the owner, to easily update your site will make your life much better. This is why we build our sites on HubSpot or WordPress. It allows the owner to make changes if needed. While static HTML works, unless you have a knowledge of it, you'll have to go back to the designer over and over again for updates.
6. Know & Use Responsive Design
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.
7. Have Clear Timelines & Expectations
Knowing up front what the process will look like will save you a ton of stress. 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.
8. Understand Conversion
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.
9. Keep Up With Trends
You want your site to be relevant. This is where you need a web designer that keeps up with trends. Ask them for examples of their work and then compare that 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.
10. Aren't Super Cheap
We all want a deal, but when it comes to web design, 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 $4000 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.
When it comes to building your brand online, your website is your digital front door. Make sure you take time and do your research before hiring a web designer. Investing in your company's digital presence is money and time well spent. If you have questions, comment below or if you need a new site, contact us. We'd be more than happy to help you through the process.
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