Your business is ready to take off, but first you need your website to take off — you think about hiring a web design company. The right design company can work wonders for your web presence but finding that diamond in the rough is the real challenge. Here’s a list of things to consider during your search for a top-notch web design company.
There’s More Than One Way to Find A Web Design Company
When it comes to searching for any service, we tend to reach for our go-to tool — the internet. This can be a great tool as long as you use it correctly. We tend to turn to Google when researching just about anything. It’s great when you’re in need of auto service or home repairs, but your business isn’t a broken garbage disposal. It’s your pride and joy. It’s your life’s work, and the internet has a plethora of options to help you find the best fit for the job.
A great place to start is your various social networks, such as LinkedIn. Members of your professional network may have the scoop on a great web design companies.
Don’t limit yourself to the internet either. Something can still be said for a good ol’ fashion phone call. If you know any business owners outside of your social networks, use some real-world applications. Reach out to them whether by phone or the proverbial tap on the shoulder, and see if they have any leads.
Know Your Goals
Before asking a website design company anything, there are a few questions you should ask yourself — what do you want your website to accomplish? Will it be a virtual storefront to sell products and/or services, or will its primary goal be to provide information?
Sure, these are questions a website design company could help you with, but it will likely be by way of a costly consultation. Developing a plan yourself is an excellent way to save yourself time, which often equates to money.
Create a Vision Board
By now, you probably have an idea of what you’d like your website to look like. At the very least, you have a few random ideas. All those thoughts you have for your website will serve you a lot better in a tangible format.
What is a vision board? It’s basically a referral sheet for all of your design ideas. Start with a board (this can be virtual or it can be an actual board placed on an easel in your office). Next, start throwing ideas at it. Everything you plan to use to market your business — color schemes, graphics, slogans, mission statements. Get it all on there. Now, your vision board is ready, and you can begin piecing it all together.
Make a Wish List
Along with a vision board, it’s helpful to create a wish list. Include things like how many pages you’d like on your website as well as what kind of buttons and menus options you’d prefer. It’s also important to include any branding or social media icons you intent to use to promote your business.
A resource like this is crucial when communicating your goals. Providing a clear vision for your website designer is the best way to ensure you receive exactly what you want.
Budget and Cost Research
No matter what the going rate is, building a website often costs more than you anticipate. This is why your budget and research is so important.
Remember when we told you to ask around when researching website design companies? The same should be done here. Ask people in your professional network. They may be able to give you great insight on cost, and in the process, you might just find a great website design company at a great price.
The next step, of course, is to formulate your budget. Once you know the common cost for building a website, it’s time to decide what you’re willing to spend on yours. Go over what you want in your website, incorporate your new-found knowledge of website design prices and begin preparing your budget.
Think About Each Page
Websites a generally a series of pages, each serving a certain purpose. It’s up to you to decide which pages to incorporate into your website.
Many businesses begin with these five pages:
- Product or Service Details
Each are important and fairly self-explanatory. Of course, you’ll want to create pages for any additional information you’d like to present. Will you be advertising monthly specials? Are you hoping to share photos of your business?
It’s good practice to have your copy ready for each page as well. Once your site is built, adding to it can be quite a headache. A costly headache. Chances are you’ll have to make a few tweaks along the way, but having your content ready to go can minimize this greatly. So, we recommend preparing as much as possible and going in with a solid plan for content.
Establish a Creative Process
This is another instance where the internet is your friend. There are a ton of options that make collaboration a breeze, including online folders such as Google Drive or DropBox. These handy tools will allow you to share creative content with your designer, so you can begin facilitating the building of your website.
You should include any copy and images you’d like your website designer to use. You should also consider including a site map complete with the name of each page you intend to create and a sense of the layout of your website. This will help ensure your website is built how you envision it.
Develop an Agreement and/or Contract
Despite what you think you may know about website designing, there are likely to be a few surprises. You might find out the project will take longer than you thought. Or, like we mentioned earlier, it could turn out to be more costly. It’s good to get these surprises out of the way early by sitting down with your website design company and creating an agreement.
Here, you can establish a timeline and budget to ensure everybody’s on the same page. You can also establish communication expectations. Discuss how you will communicate throughout the project, how often these communications will take place, how often progress reports will be shared, etc. Including all of this in your contract or agreement will help provide structure throughout the building process.
Collecting images for your website requires more than a Google search and the copy/paste function on your keyboard. In other words, you can’t just use any picture. You have to own them. This includes photos, logos, graphics and more.
There are a few ways to collect images and claim ownership. One is to hire a photographer or simply take the photos yourself. You can also have a professional create any logos or graphics you’d like to use on your website. Finally, you can purchase photos. Websites such as Shutterstock, iStock and Adobe Stock allow you to search a huge collection of stock images and purchase them for commercial use.
Images are an integral component of your website. They add aesthetic value for a more eye-pleasing experience. Make sure to use photos and graphics that match your website’s overall theme and capture the personality of your business.
Review & Create a Launch Plan
Finally, your website is taking shape and you’re nearly ready to go live. There are just a few more boxes to check.
- Review your entire website. Read all written content for grammar mistakes, misspelled words and typos. These kinds of errors can make your website feel unprofessional, which could be viewed as a reflection of your business.
- View your site on your desktop as well as your mobile phone. Nowadays, consumers look to their smartphone as their go-to device. It’s important that your website is every bit as functional via mobile as it is on a desktop.
- Speaking of functionality — makes sure to check all your links and buttons. Few things are more frustrating for a visitor than a broken button.
Now you’re ready to hit the ground running, and a great way to gain traction is to create a little buzz. Some folks create an event or a launch party. Another idea is to collect testimonials. Have some of your best customers tout your new website then share their review through social media. Ask your website designer if they have any suggestions for your grand launch.
In this digital age, websites are a huge part of nearly every business. For this reason, it’s important to put the same care and planning into your site as you do your actual business. You only hire the best candidates for your business, so you should look for the best candidates to assist with your website as well. These 10 steps will help you during your pursuit for the perfect website design company.