Every small business needs a website.
Whether you're a newly minted firm or a longstanding brick-and-mortar store, your company's web design speaks volumes about your business and your brand. A professionally designed website makes you look more credible and gives buyers a way to learn about you before getting in touch.
In fact, eight out of ten people trust businesses with websites more than those without them, recent studies suggest. So, if you want to beat the competition than you need a professional website that advertises your business!
Luckily, if you’re shopping for small business web design you don't need to settle for cheap-looking templates. You don't have to build one yourself either. Many design companies, such as Hibu and Volusion, cater specifically to small businesses and invest the same amount of resource into small projects as they do big ticket items.
Ready to get started? Read on and we'll tell you everything you need to know.
Decide What You Need Your Website To Do
For most businesses, a website is a key part of generating leads and closing sales, whether or not your site has a shopping cart. Work out what you want your website to do for you.
If you want to simply advertise your business, you may want to keep your website small and include things such as your contact information, customer testimonials, photos of completed work, as well as links to your social media profiles.
Know What’s Out There
There are many off-the-shelf solutions designed to help small businesses create a stunning website fast.
WordPress is one of the best-known, and makes up nearly a quarter of the web. Other solutions include BigCommerce, Magento, Volusion, and Shopify. These companies will walk you through the design process step-by-step and work with you until you’re happy with the end result. Some of them will even complete the project over the phone - a stellar option if you’re stuck for time!
Write a Content Plan
Communicating what you want over the phone or online can be tricky. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to make the process flow smoothly.
- Understand your needs. E.g. Do you want to advertise your business or sell your products online?
- Understand your objectives. E.g. Do you want prospects to contact you, buy your products, or do you want site visits to make money through advertising?
- Understand your audience. E.g. How old are the people you want to visit your site? Will they visit by desktop or smartphone?
- Analyze your competition.
- Make sure your branding is consistent, both in terms of visuals and voice
- Get a handle on the kind and amount of content you’ll feature
- Keep your design attractive but simple
- Know your budget
- Understand your recurring costs (if you’re not sure, ask your designer)
- Have a plan to keep content fresh and relevant
Okay, I’ve Done My Homework. Now What?
Once you what you need, who your target audience is, the scale of your project, and how you want your brand represented, it’s time to find someone to help you pull everything together. Luckily, there are a number of web design companies specializing in small businesses that will help you do just that. These are a few of our favorites, but there are dozens more companies you may find helpful.
Based in New Jersey, Hudson Integrated specializes in small business websites for businesses in the tri-state area. The company’s web design offerings range from basic sites to ecommerce sites based on open-source architecture, and their clients include both web-only and brick-and-mortar concerns.
Controlled by private investors, Ruckus Marketing brings big-business tools and expertise within reach of small businesses nationwide. While they’re based in New York City, their approach is tailored to each client’s needs and local conditions.
Based in Louisiana, Skuba Design works with clients in the United States and Canada. They control costs by relying on open-source solutions, and specialize in sites that conform to the most recent web standards, including CSS3 and HTML5.
Socialfix is an excellent one-stop shop, since their services include not only web design, but also social media, app development, and content development, as well as strategy and planning to pull it all together. If your business doesn’t already have a strong grounding in marketing, having so many services under a single umbrella may be helpful.
Southern Web Group
If your business is located in the Southeast, Southern Web Group deserves a closer look. While they have their share of enterprise-level clients, their solutions can just as easily be scaled to SMBs.
Should I Use a Local Web Design Agency?
In a word or two, it depends. The appeal is understandable — you’re supporting a local business, after all, and who better to understand the travails of small business than another small business?
Keep in mind that some local web design businesses are just a solo freelancer with design experience, while others bring to bear all the strengths, and the same kind of diverse, highly-qualified staff as their larger regional or national competitors. The scale of your project will play a part here; customizing a WordPress theme to your business is a much different beast than a full-fledged ecommerce site.
At the other end of the scale, your business and its marketing may be intensely locally-focused, and having someone in your corner who brings an insider’s understanding to your project. One way to split the difference is to hire someone local for copy and SEO, while sourcing the design and programming elsewhere.
In either case, just because the web designer you’ve chosen for your small business website is local doesn’t mean they’ll be affordable. Quality work comes at a price, after all, and if the quote you’re given seems too good to be true, proceed with caution.
What Will This Cost?
Costs are determined by too many factors to give a single answer that can cover all the variables. The number of pages, complexity of your design, plugins (and their attendant one-time and ongoing licensing costs), hosting, and more all play their part. You can find out more by reading our article How Much Does a Website Cost in 2018, or get a customized quote by filling out the form at the top of this page.
A Thought In Closing
Affordable web design need not mean getting a site that’s amateurish or light on functionality. It takes time, patience, and research, but finding the right web designer doesn’t have to be difficult. Understanding your business’s needs and objectives is a vital first step. Getting a range of quotes by filling out the form above can be another. Contact us today!