There are lots of people out there who call themselves web designers. But if you want a quality website that delivers real wins for your business, there's a huge difference between a professional web design company and an amateur working out of their bedroom.
Thanks to free tools like Wordpress and Wix, just about anyone can put together a basic website using a pre-existing template, and regrettably, there are plenty of so-called 'developers' who will charge you an exorbitant amount of money for something that you could easily have done yourself.
Before you pay someone to create a website for you, ask them the following questions and make sure you're going to get your money's worth!
1. Can I see some examples of your work?
Never agree to hire someone before you've seen what they're capable of. Any experienced web designer will be able to show you a portfolio of their previous work or send you some links to websites they've created in the past. If your prospective developer hesitates to offer you any examples of what they can do, that's a huge red flag and you should probably look elsewhere.
(By the way, if you want to see some of the websites we've created, check out our Web Design Portfolio.)
2. Do you build every website from scratch?
In our blog post about the advantages of bespoke web design, we explained why a bespoke website - built from scratch, specifically for you - is generally a far better investment than a template-type site that's based on a pre-built system.
Of course, a bespoke website will cost you more, but that extra cost will net you the following benefits:
- A unique design that's tailored to the needs of your audience
- Ongoing support from professional developers who can create just about anything you want
- Improved security, making it harder for hackers to target your site
- Far more flexibility and scalability - crucial for a growing business
Most modern businesses can't get by with just some text on a static web page. Whether you need a booking system, a secure online checkout, or just the ability to add and edit content at the drop of a hat, you're far better off with a bespoke website from a team of developers who can translate your big ideas into user-friendly online solutions.
3. How long will it take to get my new website live?
You obviously don't want to hire a web designer who's going to take the best part of a year to deliver what you need, but you should also watch out for developers who tell you that your new site will be live within a week. If they're able to turn a whole website around that quickly, they're probably not doing a very good job of it.
A well-constructed website takes time to create. When we take on a new project, we spend a fair bit of time...
- Getting to know the client's market and their target audience
- Checking out the competition to see what we're up against
- Performing keyword research to find out what people search for
- Working with the client to settle on a design they love
- Mapping out what pages the website will include
- Optimising the website and its content for search engines
- Testing the site to prevent errors and eliminate bugs
You wouldn't eat a pork joint that's only spent a few minutes in the oven, and you shouldn't be satisfied with a website that was slapped together with no research or planning.
4. Will my website be mobile friendly?
As of November 2016, more people are browsing the Internet on mobile devices than on desktop computers. When your new website goes live, many of your users - perhaps even the majority - will view it on their smartphones. So you'd better make sure that your site looks just as good on a small screen as it does on your PC.
We've worked with a wide range of different companies over the years. Some of the websites we create get as much as 75% of their traffic from tablets and mobile phones, and even our B2B clients, whose average customer is someone working at a desk in an office, tend to rely on mobile and tablet users for about a quarter of their website visits these days. There's no way around it: if your web developer can't deliver a responsive website that's easy to navigate on all devices, you're going to alienate a sizeable chunk of your potential audience.
5. Will I be able to make changes in the future?
The world is always changing, and while you might be 100% happy with your website when it launches, it probably won't be too long before you want to make some tweaks. Perhaps you'll expand your business and start promoting a new set of services. Perhaps you'll hire an extra pair of hands, in which case your 'Meet the Team' page will need updating. Perhaps there'll be a global pandemic and you'll want to reassure your customers that you're still open for business. Who knows what additions and changes you might require in a few months' time?
Before you settle on a web developer, you should make sure that you'll always have the option to edit and improve your website when necessary. If there's something you'll need to update regularly (e.g. special offers, promotional banners, customer testimonials), you should mention this up front - your web design agency may suggest setting up a content management system (CMS) that allows you to make those changes yourself instead of having to go through them every time an update is needed. Of course, there will always be changes that you can't foresee, so you should also ask your web designer how much they'll charge you for future developments.
If your business needs a new website, Designer Websites can help! Here are some of the things our clients have said about us...
"Working with Designer Websites was so easy - they knew exactly what I wanted and executed it to perfection!" - Alana Spencer, Ridiculously Rich by Alana
"The websites that we have created in partnership with Designer Websites are just incredible. Thank you for your hard work and continued support." - John Sheppard, eTrader
"We are so pleased we chose Designer Websites to overhaul our site. They did an amazing job and were a pleasure to work with." - Andrew Buckingham, Slide Candy
Give us a call on 01446 339050 to discuss your requirements with one of our expert web designers!
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