There’s a lot to consider when hiring a web designer to develop your professional online marketing presence.
Unless you are already experienced with website design, SEO, HTML, and CSS coding it’s probably an easy decision to just hire a professional web development company to handle the designing and implementation for you. Before you hire someone though, there are a few things you need to consider.
Initial thoughts are usually about price: “How much is going to cost me?” But along with cost you want to interview and assess the skills of the people who will be working on your site. Most successful website development companies work as a team utilizing a combination of specialists:
- PHP and MySQL Programmers
- HTML and CSS Developers
- Web and Graphic Designers
- Copywriters and Content Developers
- Internet Marketers and SEO Experts
Other “companies” may have one person trying to do all of this. It’s important to make sure you interview these individuals and making sure they are competent in each field.
Before searching for a website design company you probably want to give some thought to:
- What do you want your website to look like?
- What meta messages and content do you want on the home page?
- How do you want to convert your visitors: phone number, shopping cart, contact form or subscribe button?
- How many pages will you need?
- What color scheme do you like?
- Do you need a new logo or will you use your existing corporate identity elements?
- Do you have a video or need one produced?
- What kind of images will you need?
- Do you have any client testimonials and how do you want them displayed?
- What social media do you use or want to connect to?
A good website designer or website design agency can help guide you through these decisions. Your online marketing should be customized to what you want and doesn’t leave you stuck in a cookie-cutter template.
What to Look for in a Website Design Firm?
An established website design company will have a portfolio for you to browse. Along with impressive design, you want to look for originality and diversification. You should ask to see some “live” examples of their work online. Excessive flash designs are bad, as search engines have a hard time indexing them and can therefore hinder your search ranking. Look for social media connectivity, sign up forms, contact forms and other marketing features. Remember that a website’s purpose is to effectively market your products and services, not just look pretty.
Look for originality in the layout, design, graphics, videos etc. Anyone can copy photos and videos from the net, but it takes an expert to design quality custom images. You want your site to be as unique as your company.
Although someone new without a large portfolio might save you some money initially, if you are envisioning a large site with interactivity, videos, sales funnels, shopping carts, etc. you’re going to need someone with experience.
An experienced website designer will be able to get the tasks done much faster – saving you time and money in the long run.
Website design pricing can be all over the place. You can find a couple of hundred dollar quotes but these are normally only small-scale static page sites; not professional interactive marketing website with a content management system that you are probably looking for. Never choose the cheapest developer but you probably don’t want to pay the large agencies’ overhead either. If you want rotating presentations, green screen videos, newsletter systems, SEO, online marketing, social media and other features that will grow your business, you can’t afford to skimp! Get it done right the first time!
- Timeline to Complete
You should expect that a good development team take about a week to research your company industry and competitors. Then they will plan your site structure and setup your site map. Based on the approved wireframe it takes about a week to design your home page. After approval, it takes about a month to develop a fully functioning CMS website, adding the content and optimizing it for search engines. If you have a particularly large site with a lot of products, shopping carts, and custom graphics then it may take longer.
- On-Going Support, Marketing and SEO Services
One of the most important (and often overlooked) aspect of a website is SEO. When hiring a web designer you have to make sure they develop clean, search engine friendly codes based on CSS/XHTML templates. Then they need to tweak your text and optimize it for the major search engines. You also want to make sure they will be available when you need assistance or changes that your content management system doesn’t allow you to update.
These were just a few thoughts about choosing your web design partner. Do your own research and decide wisely.