Most businesses, small or large, do not have in-house expertise to custom design websites themselves and will need to contract the work out to an external web design company.
The importance of a professionally designed website is essential. First impressions count. Research shows that potential customers decide within the first 3-5 seconds whether or not to leave a website. Therefore, a poorly designed or outdated website can have a negative impact on your company’s brand and cause your potential customers to hit the back button and take a look at your competitors.
Your company’s website is the window to your products and services and more often than not, the first point of contact with customers, therefore it is important for your business website design to convey the right message. With only 3-5 seconds, it is vital for your website to present the right image and brand for your business.
Step 1:Know the Purpose of Your Website
Knowing what you want your website to do for your business now – and 5-10 years from now – will help you determine what type of website your business needs, along with what features and functions will be necessary. This is what determines the investment level for your site.
The difference in creating an elegant brochure site or a simple lead generation site verses creating a fully loaded e-commerce website will be substantial. Often, however, web design companies offer one-size-fits-all solutions and command high prices because they have high overhead.
Do some research to understand what types of websites there are, what the ultimate goal for your business you desire to be accmplished and what features will be necessary to reach that goal.
Step 2: Shop Different Website Design Companies!
Take some time to go through their portfolio page and visit the actual websites themselves.
Take a look at the quality of the design – the graphics, image quality and the overall feel of the site. Does it look professional?
Then, compare the quality of design with the prices. Make sure to compare apples to apples when you’re comparing prices! What’s included in your website quote? How many pages (Home, Services, About Us etc) are included in that price? What features are included?
Will they supply a contact form on your site or is that an extra cost? Does their price include website optimization or is that an extra fee? What will future changes or additions cost? Is there any enhancements included in that price?
Does the design company offer hosting services? What’s included in their hosting prices? What’s included in their hosting packages i.e. do they offer website statistic tracking, company email account programs etc. Hosting plans vary in price because of hosting services they provide vary.
Don’t be intimidated by the website designer’s lingo. If a website company is speaking in terms you do not understand, do not be afraid to ask them break it down to you in laymen’s terms. You should understand everything that they’re quoting you in a design price and why.
Step 3: Get References
Contact the web designer’s existing clients before going with any web company. Again, you can find their references by going through their portfolio. Most websites have an email, phone number, and/or a contact form. Don’t be afraid to ask them for clients you are able to contact.
Ask not only about the design, but also about the follow up customer service after the site is live. Do they feel their designer went above and beyond? And most importantly, is their website generating new business calls and leads?
Step 4: Don’t Settle
You don’t have to compromise to get an affordable website.
I am certain you will get both very high quotes and extremely low quotes. Keep in mind most often you will get you pay for – and this is your business website for the world to see. What do you want them to see?
However, also keep in mind, a simple 5 page informational website design should NOT cost you several thousands of dollars. The price will usually go up with the enhancements you choose for your website such as Flash, Music, Video, Blog, image viewers and so on.
When you have 2 companies you are deciding between, ask if you can sit down with them to compare apples to apples with website design prices. Compare the number of pages on each quote, the overall design, the number of pictures within the website and so on. Then revisit the quality of work each company before making your final decision. A reputable company will not mind this at all!
Doing a little homework in the beginning will save you time and money in the end!
Website Tip #2: Make it Easy to Do Business With You
Don’t make your potential client or customer hunt through the website to find your location or contact information. They WON’T do it unless you really are the only one they want – or the only option.
The number one thing people are looking for when they do a local search (that is for a business in their local area) is the contact information – name, address, phone number and a map. Make this absolutely apparent and then make it easy to use. ]
Then, create clickable links to your email, your phone and then put a map on their so they can use it to drive straight to you.
Website Tip #3: Give Them A Reason to Do Business With You
You are not the only game in town and if everyone offers “free estimates” then why should they choose you over the other guy who comes up before you in the alphabet?
Your customers are looking for differentiation – they WANT to know WHY they should choose you. And if you don’t give them a good reason to do so, then they will either find another company who does or toss a coin, because it really doesn’t matter to them.
And, NO, – good customer service, affordable prices (or even lowest prices), friendly service people, locally owned – ARE NOT reasons they will choose you. These are either expected (in the case of good and friendly service) or bonuses to them, but these are just filler words for most business websites.
So, ask yourself, what do you do that your competitor does NOT do? What do you do differently? How can you solve a problem that your competitors are not willing to address? (For example: If you are a roofer and the number one complaint that women have about roofers is that they leave their trash every day, can you address that before they even ask? See, not a huge thing, but can be very important TO YOUR CUSTOMER – and addresses an unspoken trigger point)
Give the people who visit your site a reason to contact you and they will – it can be as simple as that!
Now, hurry, go put these into action right now while you are thinking about them and excited about them. And if you need help getting these onto your website or developing your website – please don’t hesitate to contact me for Marketing Consulting!
When Creating Your Business Website