Your website is the key to growing your profits online – and a good one is worth its virtual weight in gold. Key to your site’s success is its ability to accurately represent your brand online, while using technology your consumers recognise to deliver secure ecommerce or engage cleverly with social media.
Finding a good web designer can feel like throwing a coin into a wishing well and hoping to hit a jackpot. Follow these simple tips, though, and you’re more likely to get what you want.
Your web designer should be results driven.
There are plenty of web designers out there promising to give you a website that makes you more money, gets you more traffic and grows your business. Before you hand over money for a design, ask yourself (and your web designer) these questions. How is your website going to get results, and what kind of result sis it going to get? Are your web designers aiming for a higher level of traffic, or a higher level of profit? The second doesn’t always follow from the first, because your designer has to target the site at a specific audience to translate visits into money.
Your website design should be modern.
Have a look at the biggest sites on the web right now. They follow one or two basic design patterns, which are copied by nearly everyone else. The upshot of this is that web users don’t tend to buy into sites that look, or work, significantly differently from the norm. Your website designer should build you a site that follows design trends, both functionally and aesthetically.
Your website should be future ready.
A lot of web designers use the phrase “future proof” when they’re trying to convince new customers to part with their money. Don’t be fooled. Nothing’s future proof, because no-one knows exactly what the future is gong to bring. What a good web designer can do, however, is take a good guess at the kind of thing that’s on the horizon – what kind of data requirements the mobile version of your site should have, how multi-platform sites will begin to look as designers create responsive designs to work on dozens of different screen sizes – and build you a site that’s able to account for these new trends.
Does your designer understand your competitor’s websites?
Your closest competitors are likely to have websites that closely mirror what you want your own to do. In fact, both the look and functionality of competitor websites are liable to account for the basic look and feel of your own design. Be wary of website designers who don’t ask you to show them examples of competitor’s sites, and of sites you like, before they build you something.
Understand the difference between off the shelf and off the drawing board.
An off the shelf website is one that has been pre-designed to answer a general online purpose: often, it’s what’s called a “brochure” website, which contains five basic pages, or it’s a standardised ecommerce site. A fully designed website is built specifically for your purposes, and is more expensive. A good designer may offer you both: the trick is working out when an off the shelf site is better value for money, and when a fully designed site can save you on redesigns in future.
Every business needs a web presence. The question is, what do you really need yours to do? It pays to take some time to draft the results you’re looking for, so you understand which website designers are closest to your requirements in terms of build quality and value.
This article introduces small business owners and sole traders to the basic elements of web design, in the hope that they will be able to use the information to help choose between website designers. Find out how your prospective web designer could be working, how to spot the difference between a measurable result and advertising speak, and what you can do to make sure your site is fit for purpose.
You’ll learn why most successful websites look the same; how future proofing isn’t possible; and why you need to have a clear idea of the results you want from your site before you hand money over to a designer. You’ll also start to understand how websites are built – either from pre-designed template sites, or from the ground up to individual client specifications. Find out when an off the shelf site is good value for money, and when it can actually make better financial sense to pay more for a bespoke web design.
Your online presence is hard to define, which is why it’s easy for a web designer to build something that doesn’t work and justify their charges. Use this article to avoid some of the more common pitfalls and problems.