Once you’ve decided that it’s time to redesign your website, then you will need to find a web designer.
I know that many of you are thinking, “I don’t need a web designer. I can just have my cousin do it.”
Let’s take a quick walk down memory lane and revisit the years when Mom used to cut your hair on the back porch. Then consider the difference between amateur work and professional services. (If you are still not sure, go dig out the old school pictures.)
54% of businesses outsource website design.
(source: WASP Barcode 2016 State of Small Business Report)
Why? Because your website is one of the most important marketing tools that you own. It needs to look professional, and it needs to operate well on the backend.
If you don’t fully understand the importance of your website, read this article: How Does Your Website Fit Within Your Business Model?
Questions to Ask
Before you find a web designer (a good one, that is) you need the answers to a few important questions.
- What is your budget?
- Do you need special pages or functionality?
- How extensive is your redesign?
These types of questions will help you define the scope of your project. Then, after you have an idea of both yours and your client’s needs, you can find a web designer that specializes in that type of website build.
Here is another good article: How to Prepare for a Website Design Consultation.
Building a Microsite
Many small local businesses now build microsites. A microsite is a 5-6 page website optimized for location and is typically for service-based industries. There are no fancy bells or whistles and the budget for these smaller sites is often more palatable to start-ups and very small companies.
Small does NOT mean simple! Many microsites are very sophisticated. They are just not big. A lot of thought and planning goes into customer funnels and conversion.
It’s HARDER than you think and Cousin Fred may not fully understand how to put schema markup on your location pages or integrate your lead magnets with your auto-responders.
Read: How to Redesign Your Service Business Website
Work You CAN Do!
There are things you can do yourself to make it easier on your web designer and also to help mitigate costs.
Make a list of must-haves for your new website. Browse the internet and “steal” elements from other websites. In other words, find examples of banners, footers, sliders, contact forms, etc. that you like the looks of. You can even identify phrasing or funnels that would work well with your own clients.
No, you cannot clone someone else’s website, but you can gather ideas and then rework them to fit your specific products.
If you provide design ideas, it will cut down on the time it takes a web designer to create your site, and your timeline and costs will decrease.
How much will it cost?
That depends on the size of your project.
Find a web designer like Thomas Digital that provides a Free Mockup at no cost. That way you can “try before you buy.”
Don’t Succumb to Temptation
There are DIY websites and website templates whose biggest appeal is that they are cheap. It’s true that you can put together a website pretty fast, but the site itself is usually not optimized for SEO. Customer service is negligible, and in the end, you will have a site that looks like that rattle can paint job you gave your first car after you shoved Bondo into the rusted out quarter panel.
Here is very good advice on cheap websites: Why Cheap Websites Are a Waste of Money
How to find a web designer…
- Google “web designer.”
- Look at the top results (if they don’t rank, then they don’t know how to build a website that ranks).
Note: Thomas Digital ranks in the Top 3 for San Francisco Web Design.
- Evaluate the look of their website. Is it visually pleasing? Can you navigate it easily?
- Look at their Portfolio… Make sure they HAVE a Portfolio.
- See if they offer a free consultation (or a Free Mockup).
- Contact them and tell them what you need. Ask for input and ideas.
Here is our final piece of advice. Find a web designer that is more than just a layout or coding guy. They also need a background in digital marketing. After all, most SEO success and user experience are set during the layout phase of the web design process.