A website is much more than just a place to visit online. A company website is a marketing tool, a location to advertise, a powerful way to persuade visitors interested in your products or services to make contact and ultimately choose your company among the thousands of competitors vying for their business. And, it should serve as such in the most effective way possible. When you choose a company to develop your site, the following important factors should be considered and possibly weigh heavily on your decision-making process. If you follow these important guidelines you will have a powerful online presence that not only is attractive, unique and appealing but will have the effectiveness to grow your company and make you money.
Design capability: The first factor to consider is web design the creative ability and talent of the designer. Cookie cutter templates are easy to acquire and most average “designers” use them as a foundation for a company’s web page design. This is because they are usually technical people with no design talent or they are using the most basic and inexpensive web applications to build your site. In this scenario you will end up with web pages that look unimaginative and dull. You’ve seen them! They are everywhere! Lots of simple text, simple format, square pictures dropped into the page without proper design or creativity. Smart companies hire an experienced designer with unique creative talent that will “custom design” your web page from scratch using high-end design applications before they are coded or scripted. This allows you, the client, virtually unlimited freedom to express your ideas, themes, and branding in your site. It also sets your pages apart from anything else your visitors will see in your competitor’s web pages. The result is – a) a unique looking website that potential customers will remember b) Unlimited visual and technical capabilities throughout the website c) More effective branding, advertising and marketing throughout the web pages.
Marketing and advertising Experience: The development of a website should take into consideration the market demographic your company is speaking to. The personal, political and cultural profile, age group, and environmental considerations among others will be a determining factor on how a knowledgeable web developer will design and write the content of your website. The psychological implications intertwined within a website can produce a subliminal or conscious thought process that coerce decision-making. A call to action, quick information, and gathering of information must take place on the home page. If you do not relate to the person you are trying to influence, it can be an uphill battle from the minute they arrive at your home page. many website owners wonder why they get many hits but few page views and even less action on their contact forms. A good website design company will have the ability not only to market and advertise your website but to incorporate effective marketing and advertising techniques within your website.
Experience and Longevity: How long has your web design firm been in business? A week? A few months? A couple years? I can tell you that the number one conversation I have each and every day with prospective clients is this – caller: ” I hired a web design company a many months ago. They haven’t finished my website, they are many problems with it and now I can’t get in touch with them. They took a deposit and now I have no website and I am out thousands of dollars. ” Well, I feel for these business owners. This is a major problem in the web design industry. It is too easy for one to go purchase an inexpensive web application like “Microsoft Front Page”, spend a couple months learning the software and turn around and hold themselves out as a web designer. This represents a majority of the web designers out there. There are many experienced firms out there, but many more who fit the previous description.
One question needs to be asked up front – “How long have you been in business? ” Five years should be the minimum requirement. The next question – “Can I have references of those you have done business with longer than 3 years, and can I contact them? ” That will give you a good determination of the company’s reliability.
Check the company’s prior work online and look for the inbound link on the customer’s website to the designer’s website. Another easy test is – when you call the web design company do you get a knowledgeable person right away? Will they give you good advice? Will they answer all your questions in a friendly and patient manner? If you answer is no to any of these questions it may be time to move on to a company you are more comfortable with. Like any thriving industry with a high demand, the website design and development industry has inexperienced individuals jumping onto the bandwagon left and right and it’s up to you to be cautious when selecting one to which you are about to lay down thousands of dollars to. The cost of designing a website can vary from company to company. The last red flag to watch out for is the offer to design a website for a few hundred dollars, or $75 or less a page. You will not get a properly developed commercial website for less than $200 per page. Bargain hunters often end up like the caller I described above. In the end, they pay twice – they pay for the low-cost website, and then they pay for the properly designed website and the total amount is about 130% more than what it would have cost if they had hired a competent company in the beginning.