How To Choose The Best Web Design Services For Your Project
What will help you achieve your 2019 business goals? If you’re anything like the general population you already let go of new year’s resolutions. Don’t worry-it happens to the best of us. But will a mid year resolution bring you the success you’re after? There’s no better time than the present to get quality web design services on your side. It could be the key to making your business perform as you want it to this year.
Why are we showering so many compliments on this one niche in the web development industry? Because your business functions in an era where web design determines your brand impact.
Years ago it may have been the good relationships store owners have with the local community. Now, the few pages you present to the world could make or break you.
But as with anything in business, it’s all about who you partner with.
Now, let’s summarize the most important facts about web design that relates to small and medium sized businesses so you can enjoy better results with your current or future vendor.
You may yet see your new year’s wishes come true.
How Can This Article Help You?
Scroll down or jump to the topics you need to learn about:
- What are Web Design Services?
- Vet Like a Pro: Important Terms for All Things Related to Web Design
- Different Web Design Services for Different Niches
- Do You Really Need Web Design Services?
- How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website for a Small Business?
- How to Pick the Best Web Design Services Vendor for YOUR Business
- Web Design Services—Part of a Whole
What are Web Design Services?
Thanks to industry changes and words being used interchangeably, it quickly became difficult to know exactly who you need to get your website going. Consumers and business owners simply can’t keep up.
Here’s the reason: It’s still an evolving industry.
Sit down with a group of software experts and they may all give you unique definitions of what software engineers, developers and designers do. It’s not as chaotic as it sounds. Simply put: as training institutions still streamline their courses there are many overlapping functions.
But if you know the basics you’ll know who your business requires this year.
Is Web Design the Same as Web Development?
The quick answer to this question is no: Design and development do not refer to the same thing.
Web design can be seen as a specific sub section of website development, because the entire process of creating a website is ‘web development’.
Now, don’t get confused. In your web development company you’ll come across designers and developers:
- Web designers: These individuals are all about the aesthetics of your pages. They use design programs such as Illustrator to create images, color schemes and banners to put together your pages. These ideas will be based on your imagination (the ideas you shared with the design team) and the designer’s skills & creativity. In short, this aspect of creating your website relates to the front end.
If you talk to these pros you may find they have a few overlapping responsibilities. Their study backgrounds can include anything from computer science to programming and of course graphic design.
Like we said: This is still an industry that’s evolving daily which gives designers and developers the freedom to try out different courses and work opportunities to discover what they really enjoy doing.
But let’s get back to your website.
A Simple Term—A Wide Scope
You can see, simply because web design is a sub section of web development, you can’t underestimate these experts’ abilities. Also, make sure what a vendor means when using the term ‘web design services’. If the company can give you a 360° service (we’ll discuss some of the options below), that’s who you want on your side.
One of the reasons we advise you to get an individual or a web design services company on your side—instead of doing it by yourself—is because their expertise leads to improving your bottom line.
Yes, it’s daunting to invest a lot of capital when you’re just setting out on your business ventures. But the returns are worth it.
Websites have become essential parts of businesses’ functioning, marketing, customer care and more. To make an impact in all these areas you need insight into the following, which someone offering web design services can do for you.
Because a website plays such an integral role in any company’s marketing, it makes sense that the company responsible for your site also understands branding. If the vendor has a marketing team that will ensure your website showcases dynamic marketing features, you’re on the right track.
Creating Your Content
It’s not only about what your website looks like. Google is also after excellent content. That means:
- Continuously adding more content such as blogs
- Using excellent grammar and punctuation
- Developing content that’s relevant to your niche
A web design company can have copywriters on staff to help with this and will devise a content strategy plan. This can include social media posts to grab people’s attention—we all know that’s where everyone spends their free time, right?
Focus on the Audience
Do you know how to catch your audience’s attention? Perhaps?
Now, do you know how to KEEP their attention?
It takes special skills and an understanding of creating marketing funnels to turn a random visitor into a committed shopper, participant or repeat visitor.
Web design services often include creating these funnels through page layout, content, marketing strategies and more. If you try it alone you won’t connect and engage with as many future customers.
Designing the Look
We’ve mentioned this—your web design vendor will have expert graphic designers on staff to create eye catching images and layouts. This will all form the front end.
Yes, website platforms have practical templates and because it’s such a lucrative market you’ll find new ones are uploaded continuously. But let’s be honest: A custom made outfit simply looks better than a store purchased jacket.
It’s no different online.
A style, color scheme and font designed for YOUR business will add the X-factor your business needs to impress.
Then, knowledge of HTML, CSS and more software languages empower the experts to create more memorable sites. Believe us: It’s worth trusting the pros.
Hosting Your Site
Lastly, where will your site be hosted?
You’re bound to get better rates and options when you organize hosting via your web design company. These experts stay updated about available packages, they obtain good deals for their customers or they may have hosting services themselves.
Saving time—that’s a major benefit of using a web design vendor; Why organize all of this yourself if someone can do it for you?
What’s the use of striking visuals without expert practical application such as fast loading pages? Not all companies will automatically offer all these web design services, so make sure you discuss the scope of their services—but also their expertise—before you sign a contract with anyone.
Vet Like a Pro: Important Terms for All Things Related to Web Design
We hope you feel a little clearer on who you’re actually going to employ. Keep going, because you need a lot of insight to pick the best web design services for your industry.
Be warned: There are many web design service providers that are simply ‘fly by nights’. Because websites became so important to the modern world many unskilled and inexperienced individuals are trying to tap into the millions being spent on it each year.
What you need is to vet the web design services by having discussions regarding these topics. You’ll quickly identify who really knows what they’re talking about.
UI vs UX Design
Don’t let the jargon get you down. Web design terms are easy to understand when you imagine it in your own website. Let’s define:
- UI: The User Interface design. This is closely related to graphic designing and how a website looks, including the buttons, fields they can type in, images and text.
- UX: User Experience design. This approach focuses on ensuring each visitor has a satisfactory visit to your site. One example is ensuring logical, intuitive layouts. This ensures a smooth process towards accomplishing the goal for the visit, whether it’s to buy an item or find information.
Your website doesn’t need one or the other. It’s not UI vs UX design, but ensuring your website company gives BOTH approaches equal attention. You want your visitors to love what they see and enjoy the experience itself.
Important tip: Make sure the individuals in charge of these elements work closely together to optimize the outcome.
Template vs Custom Design
It’s not a contest: In comparing template vs custom design there’s a clear winner. We already mentioned the benefits of having something custom designed for you—the look will suit your business perfectly. Just make sure the vendor understands:
- Your company values
- The audience you’re targeting
- Industry trends
There are also the long term advantages. A template is bound to limit you in options. It may work for you today, but if your small business grows:
- Will your website keep up?
- Can the template support new features your audience may respond to?
- What if you want to change the look?
With a customized design, more is possible.
With sitemap structuring you can impress two very important role players:
- Search engines that use algorithms and crawlers to find the best sites
- Your audience who wants to find information fast
XML & HTML Sitemaps
It’s helpful if web design services include sitemap structuring. You’ll need an XML uploaded to web browsers. This tells their crawlers which pages to prioritize on search lists. Sitemap labels can show which pages are regularly updated so crawlers will revisit the page and rate new content.
For SEO, XML sitemaps are more beneficial than HTML, as you can add more tags to the former. Tags will help Google understand the purpose of each page. However, you’ll use both types because a simple sitemap helps your visitors discern which pages to visit to find the information they need.
Want to make it easy on yourself? Then use sitemap structuring even before you start designing your website. This can also help you visualize your website. A visual sitemap will represent all your different pages and how they link.
Conversion Rate Optimization
What is the use of thousands of people navigating to your home page or a services page, only to bounce (yes, that’s what’s it’s called) back to a search list or seek out one of your competitors?
Of course you don’t want a high bounce rate. You want conversions.
Conversions can be:
- People browsing your blog list
- Customers purchasing one of your items
- Consumers joining your mailing list
- Your blog getting more followers
- The adds on your pages getting clicked so you’re paid based on a PPC (pay per click) basis
- A visitor who becomes a potential customer by filling in your contact fields
You want your visitors to take action—the RIGHT action: Not looking for another vendor but committing to you.
Professional web design plays a vital role in turning an ordinary website into one where conversion rate optimization starts boosting your revenue, followers and engagement. How?
- A logical layout makes it effortless to navigate to a next relevant page
- When it’s easy to find products they’re looking for, consumers buy more
- Visual design elements affect sales
Let’s be honest: You don’t necessarily have the know how to get it right. But pro companies do.
Different Web Design Services for Different Niches
Here’s the important question: Does the web design services company understand your niche? Websites have different purposes and your service provider must know to design with the correct goal in mind.
Let’s list a few.
If your small business’ success relies on an online store’s conversions, eCommerce development must be part of your vendor’s area of expertise.
Unique features include:
- Multiple payment options
- A search function to find products
- Easy backend to upload new products even without the web design company’s assistance
- Mobile responsiveness since more and more people shop via their phones
Web Design Services for Small Business
Or perhaps you need web design services for small business simply to showcase your company?
Here’s the main focus: Branding.
Your web design services must focus on sharing your values, your own profile and improving the business’ reputation online.
Web Design for Your Blog
Blogging has been the buzz word for quite a while and for good reason—some people make millions thanks to their successful personal websites.
Yes, creating a blog on a popular platform such as WordPress can work. But how many people do you want to read your blog?
If you’re seen as an expert in a certain field it can help you gain respect too.
Do You Really Need Web Design Services
Here’s the picture we’ve been painting: With professional web design services you get benefits you simply can’t guarantee when you do this on your own. That makes this an important investment even at the start of your business, not only when it makes financial sense.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website for a Small Business?
So, you’re ready to make the commitment. What will it cost you?
Consider ALL the Costs
Have an in depth discussion with possible vendors so you understand how all these factors determine once off and monthly costs:
- Hosting of the site by the web design company if applicable
- Design of the original site and what fees apply if you request changes
- Monthly payments or maintenance fees for support services
- Servers if the web design company’s servers host your data and website
- What they charge to store data you collect
How Much Does it Cost to Hire Someone to Make a Website?
Get ready for some spending…but also high ROI.
You’ll find service providers quoting anything from a few hundred dollars to $10 000 or even higher. It depends on what you need, whether it’s an upgrade or a new design and size matters too. Here are a few examples:
- +/- 20 pages: This is what most small businesses need. You can budget between $2 000 and 8 000. The design will have some basic images and features, but nothing fancy.
- +/- 75 pages: For up to $25 000 you’ll get customized layouts, features and graphic designing. Many commercial companies need this. If you need a few hundred pages when your business has grown it can cost up to $40 000.
- eCommerce: With many products to sell on an eCommerce site you may need many pages and special features such as payment gateways. Depending on your scope you’ll pay between $5 000 and $40 000.
Remember: As mentioned above the ideal is to have your very own customized pages for your small business. You can try using online templates and doing it yourself, but getting it right the first time is worth the expense.
What do Web Designers Charge per Hour?
Perhaps you only need assistance with certain aspects of your website? You can obtain quotes for hourly design work. Get ready to spend anything between $40 and $100 an hour.
How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a Website Monthly?
Be clear about what exactly you want to know. Maintenance can include hosting services, so make sure what your vendor means by maintenance.
If your website is very complicated and requires high security features it will have higher maintenance costs. The high price tag relates to more pages, more security and ensuring high (fast) performance.
Depending on your priorities maintenance costs can range from $5/month to $2000/month.
Don’t Forget Custom Logo Design
This is something you need to consider before all else: Do you have a practical logo?
If your current logo doesn’t have most of the following characteristics you may have to change:
- It sends a clear message
- It’s easily recognizable and doesn’t look like your competitors’
- If used in print marketing it will reproduce clearly, without edges blurring and looking messy
- The colors send the right message
If you have a brand new company, paying for a well designed logo is money well spent
How to Pick the Best Web Design Services Vendor for Your Business
Now: How do you pick the best from everyone who will be willing to quote to get the job?
Above we mentioned the importance of offering an all round service, but the technical aspect is not enough. Ask these questions and you’ll quickly identify who will give you the best product with the least amount of effort on your part.
Do They Communicate?
This you’ll pick up within the first few initial communications. Whether you call them or send emails, it doesn’t take you long to gauge whether they prioritize fast, quality communication.
Do They Work for the Opposition?
Knowing your niche is helpful but if they work for your competition you’ll always wonder who they make the most effort for.
A/B Testing—Will They Walk the Extra Mile?
You’re investing a lot of money in your website so it’s only valid to expect some guarantees. A simple A/B testing phase can get you just that:
- Create multiple versions of a page
- Show it to individuals in your target audience at random
- Analyze the pages’ value based on which one leads to the most conversions
Putting effort into this step will act as conversion rate optimization mentioned above so make sure your vendor will go to this effort for you.
Should I Pick Website Design Services Near Me?
Because you live in the digital age, even discussing your website with your designer can happen online.
Of course, face to face interaction is a bonus, especially if you enjoy sharing your thoughts in person. It’s handy if you can visit your service provider whenever you want to discuss something. Then again, Skype may serve equally well.
Don’t let geographical location keep you from employing the best team that will put you on the map.
Who Owns Your Website?
It’s last on our list but a priority from the start: Discuss who will own the website and the data you collect. If you need to change service providers in future you need to know what you’re legally entitled to.
Website Design Services—Part of a Whole
You’re embarking on a whole new chapter: Picking the correct web design services so you can get ahead in your industry.
Just don’t lose sight of all the other aspects you need to focus on. Your website alone will never bring you success. It’s one role player in branding and business, along with social media, marketing campaigns and more.
With how many of those factors can your web design company assist?
We would like to talk to you about your goals. We know we can help.