If you want to attract visitors and convert them into customers, you need a website that will draw them in and encourage them to continue interacting with your site until they’re ready to make a conversion.
Having no website at all is a surefire way to lose the business of people who use the web to research companies and products before making a purchasing decision. Having a poorly designed or dated site can just as easily cause tech-savvy users to distrust a company, making a poor first impression and causing them to question the quality of the business they’re looking at.
Building a website that attracts new visitors and encourages them to pursue a relationship with you is absolutely critical to the success of modern businesses. Consumers expect to be able to find information about almost anything online, and they expect to see that information presented in a sensible, modern package. To give your potential clients what they want, you’ll need an effective, thoughtfully designed website, and to get a website like that you’ll need a web designer and developer who can deliver.
But how do you determine who to hire when you’re looking to build your new site? There are plenty of designers and developers to choose from, so to find the one that’s right for you you’ll want to ask these key questions:
1) What Are Your Services?
This one’s a simple question, but the answer isn’t necessarily simple. Can the company you’re considering handle creating a web design for you and then follow through with the web development services you’ll need to see it come to life? What about marketing–do they offer PPC management, SEO services, or social media solutions? Can they produce content for the site? Many fields intersect with web design specifically, and your online presence more broadly. Perhaps you truly only need a web designer, but there’s a good chance you’re going to need other web services, so find out just how much each candidate can do for you.
2) Do You Have a Portfolio?
The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Anyone can talk a big game, but before paying a company to design your new site you should make sure they can back up their promises. Take a look at their past work and see for yourself whether their design team is capable of providing the quality you’re looking for.
3) Can You Provide References or Credentials?
This may be a short list if you’re working with a startup, but just as they should be able to show you a portfolio of past work, an established company ought to be able to provide you a list of qualifications or even industry awards that demonstrate their proficiency in the fields of design and development.
4) How Will You Design a Site That’s Right for Me?
There are plenty of website templates out there, but if you’re going through the trouble of employing a custom web designer you’ll want one who can produce results. Will they analyze your industry and competitors? Will they consider your core demographic? Can they perform a keyword analysis and build a strategy around it? There are a lot of factors that go into designing an effective website, and what makes sense for one industry may be an awful design for another. Find a designer who will treat your site as the unique project it really is.
5) Will You Make My Site Responsive?
If the answer is no, walk away. Mobile traffic is on the rise, and it already makes up a huge chunk of all web traffic. If your site doesn’t work across platforms, devices, and browsers, it’s not going to work for all your visitors.
6) What Do I Need to Do to Help?
Nobody knows your business better than you do. At minimum, your designer is going to need some basic facts about you and your company, and if you have a specific vision they’re probably going to need content and other important pieces of information as well. This answer is partially dependent on how hands-on you want to be, but it needs to be addressed.
7) What CMS Will We Have?
Chances are you’ll want to make tweaks and adjustments to your site down the road, even if you’re not updating it on a daily basis. You may want to stick with a content management system you already use, or have one custom built, but you should be aware of what you’re getting before you sign on.
8) Do You Do Any Testing or Quality Control?
A broken website is a useless website. If your developer isn’t testing for bugs before delivering you the finished product then you may end up with a website that you can barely use.
9) How Long Will It Take?
Expect to get a general window as opposed to a specific date, but you should have an idea of how long your project will take from start to finish so you can plan and make important preparations for the launch of your new site.
10) How Much Will It Cost?
Again, this answer may be more of an estimate than an exact answer, but after discussing your project in detail with your designer, they should be able to give you a rough idea of what your new site will cost. That number may go up or down if you decided to add or remove features beyond what you originally discuss, but you need to make sure you can afford the site before you ask anyone to build it.
A quality website can be a large financial investment, and it is most certainly a significant part in building the future of your brand or business. Before you decide who your web developer should be, you should make sure the company you’re hiring can handle your project and deliver a design that’s functional, effective, and in line with your vision.