Creating a website has never been easier. Creating an outstanding website, on the other hand, poses some unique challenges.
Fortunately, professional web design services don’t have to break the bank – if you know what to look for.
Here’s everything you need to know about hiring a web design company to build or redesign your website.
A website designed professionally is one designed properly
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Benefits of Professional Website Design
Building a website has never been easier, thanks to a proliferation of DIY design tools. If you can make a serviceable website on your own, why use a professional?
We’re glad you asked. Here are nine reasons why web design companies are worth paying more for.
First Impressions are Important
It only takes a second to make a poor first impression. In the time it takes your website to load, potential customers can close the window and take their business elsewhere. You definitely can’t afford to take their patience for granted when your competitors are just a click away.
Web design involves tricky tradeoffs between the aesthetics and speed of your website. Web design companies are skilled at balancing these considerations. You’re guaranteed a website that looks the part and loads quickly.
Credibility Counts For a Lot
Do links and buttons look safe to click on? Do customers feel secure sharing their credit card information or contact details through your webforms? Does your website convey trust?
All of these things can affect how your customers use your website. Trust is closely linked to the way your website looks, so having a well-designed website automatically lends your brand a sense of credibility that your competitors may lack.
Great web design companies, like GoDaddy, will build trust signals into websites, encouraging users to convert.
Some DIY tools let you build working websites from templates in as little as an hour. The downside? Templates limit your ability to customize the look and feel of your website. It’s hard to make your website memorable when users have seen similar designs elsewhere.
When you use a professional, you actually have more control over the end result. Once you've set out your requirements in a project brief, you'll be assigned an account manager whose job is to make sure your vision is executed. They’ll relay your feedback to the designers, and the result will be a stunning website that looks even better than you’d imagined.
Implement the Right Features
Whether you offer a product, a service, or just information, your website should address your users’ needs. That means focusing on features that help them achieve their goals.
DIY website builders are limited in this regard because they bundle together features you do need with ones you don’t. On the other hand, using a pro lets you focus resources on the really essential features, whether that’s implementing online contact forms or integrating with third-party apps. You’ll get a website that keeps your customers coming back.
Be Search Engine-Friendly
A Google search for your industry probably returns hundreds of thousands of hits. Making your website stand out can be challenging whether you're established or just starting up.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) professionals stay on top of best practices to make sure great websites get the attention they deserve. Their role in web design is to make sure your website outranks competitors in search engines.
When you consider that 91% of users don’t go past the first page of Google results, SEO-focused web design is essential. Fortunately, web design pros are on hand to help.
Laptops, smartphones, tablets, ‘phablets’…web users are using more devices than ever. More than half of all web traffic is projected to come from mobiles in 2020. With that trend in mind, your website needs to work well on different screen sizes.
Web design companies are adept at optimizing websites for different displays. Every webpage will receive the same level of attention to make sure your site looks amazing, whatever devices visitors are viewing it on.
Integrate Web Analytics
No doubt you have key performance indicators (KPIs) you need to measure in relation to your website. Web developers can implement tracking tools that allow you to do this. Quite granular data is available, which gives you valuable insights into the ways that customers are interacting with your website.
Many web design companies provide web analytics support as an add-on service.
At first blush, this is counter-intuitive. A beautifully-designed website doesn’t come for free, after all. But, as the old expression goes, if you think a pro is expensive, try an amateur. The time and money you’d spend debugging, redesigning, and generally cleaning up after a free or cheap job would end up costing more than you’d pay a professional. Speaking of which…
Your Time is Valuable
As a small business owner, you’re used to juggling multiple responsibilities. So, let's say you do have a thorough grounding in SEO, graphic design, coding, copywriting, marketing, and all the other essential web design skills.
This doesn’t change the fact that your time is precious and finite. Every minute you spend building and maintaining a website is time that you could have spent developing the parts of your business that nobody else can. Hiring a professional lets you concentrate on profits.
Choosing the Best Web Design Company
Let's say you've decided to hire a professional. We can predict the next question on your lips:
Start by giving serious thought to your site's function. Looks aren't enough; what do you need your website to do? Asked differently, what can your site do – or entice your customers to do – that would make your job easier and your business more efficient? Write down your wish list, alongside any questions or concerns you may have. You may also find it helpful to prioritize certain features, since greater functionality often equates to higher costs.
Once you’ve got an idea of your needs, you’ll want to find out which web design companies can cater to them.
Finding a web designer that offers the right price can be a time consuming process, but our comparison service does all the hard work for you. Click here to tell us a bit about your business, then the web design companies that match your requirements will be in touch in a matter of minutes. It's as easy as that!
Once in touch, ask them the following questions:
Who are your past clients?
Some companies will design for practically any SMB. Others have taken the time to understand a niche more carefully. Those niche companies specialize in industries as diverse as contracting, facilities management, real estate, photography, healthcare and more. Finding a specialist often means a smoother process; they know your industry and can advise you as to what works best.
What is your process?
It’s important to understand what information web designers need to get the job done. For example, most web design companies ask you to share any photos, copy (the text that populates your web pages) and other assets that you would like included in the final designs.
Identifying these things early on will lead to less headaches for everyone involved. So, make sure you’re clear about what's expected from you and what you, in turn, expect from your designer.
What happens once you're done?
Some businesses have an in-house marketer or marketing team for blogging, social media, and web work. If that's your business, you may just need something that's easy to maintain once the designers have finished their bit. If you're technophobic and would rather someone else handled updates, find out if that's included.
What else is included in my plan?
Your site must be mobile friendly, so make sure that responsive web design (RWD) is part of the plan. On-page and off-page SEO is also essential, so it’s worth asking how they plan to work with this in mind. Their designs should also be optimized for the different web browsers and devices that your customers will be working with.
Who is my point of contact?
Some web design companies may allocate a team of people to work on your website, including account executives, project managers, designers, programmers, copywriters and SEO professionals. Find out who your point of contact is, and how they interface with the rest of the team.
May I see your references?
Think about it. You're proud of your work and you're probably happy to have your clients sing your praises. If a designer hesitates to put you in touch with a few clients, that should be a warning sign.
How Much Do Web Design Companies Charge?
Web design companies work on a quote-by-quote basis, so the best way to get a concrete answer to this question is to contact a few directly. Handily, our quotes-comparison tool does half the work for you by finding and putting you in touch with top web design companies that serve your area. We’ve also put together this free guide to web design costs that should help you get a handle on what exactly you’re paying for.
Generally speaking, however, web design fees are either project-based or hourly. If a company charges by the hour, don’t be afraid to ask how hours are tracked and itemized, and make sure you’re kept in the loop. You’d be surprised at how quickly great web design companies can turn around even complex projects.
You should also find out if there will be any recurring costs for services like SEO auditing, domain name registration, web hosting and periodic content updates.
It’s a very good idea to get all of the above in writing. Everything – timetables, deliverables, down payments, refunds – should be agreed ahead of time. Operating on a handshake or the equivalent exposes your business to unnecessary risk.
Most importantly, shop around to maximise your chances of finding the best web design company for your needs and budget.
Web design can seem unintelligible to the average person. But a bit of research and careful consultation can demystify the process for even the most technophobic people. The results – and rewards – for your business can make your new website or redesign pay for itself many times over.