Your website is like your digital storefront. Ideally, your website should convey professionalism while also supplying customers with the information they need.
The majority of small business owners don't have the skills to build an impressive website. And they don't have the time to learn these skills either.
That's where web design services come in. You can outsource this responsibility to an agency, so skilled professionals work on your site for you.
But where to start?
If you don't know how to build a website, you might not know how to hire web design services either. It can be confusing to understand how much to pay, how to hire a reputable company, and how to tell if they can support you.
This buyer's guide looks to answer all these questions for you. We cover all the critical factors you should consider before purchasing small business web design packages.
Deliverables: What Your Web Design Service Should Provide For You
When hiring web design services for small businesses, the company should provide you with a clear plan of how the project will ensue. The plan typically looks like:
1. Review of Current Website and Discussion of Outcomes
If you currently have a website, the company should review it and offer some on-the-spot notes or areas for improvement. Additionally, a significant amount of time should be spent discussing your ultimate expectations for the website.
Do you already have an idea in mind for what you want it to look like? The web design company should take the time to understand your brand, company, current challenges, and industry. All of this information will allow the company to build out the best possible website.
Next, the company should propose a plan for you for the project. The plan should have a timeline on how long each project step will take. You should work together with the company to determine project milestones that dictate appropriate times to check in on progress.
Additionally, a comprehensive pricing quote should be provided. If there are expectations for the price to go above the original quote, the company should always discuss new pricing expectations with you before the work continues.
After the contract is signed, work can begin. The company will need to collect any relevant assets, such as logos and brand guidelines, that you may have. If you don't have these items, you may want to step back and develop these first.
If you're working with a full-scale digital marketing agency, they may be able to provide you with copywriting and graphic design work.
As the company meets every project milestone, it should be their initiative to check in with you. During these check-ins, you can see if you're happy with the quality and speed of the work being done. If you're unhappy, you'll have a chance to voice your opinion, and the agency can address your concerns.
A standard project milestone is a website mockup. You will be presented with a barebones mockup plan for the website before any work begins on website development.
4. Quality Assurance and Testing
After the website is built, it's time to test it out. A website design company should make sure everything works correctly before passing the final product to you.
5. Website launch
Now that you're happy with the website, it's ready to launch!
6. Additional Services Discussed
You may choose to contract additional services with your web design company. This can be discussed before or after the website project is completed.
This plan serves many purposes. It gives you a schedule, a budget, and a sense of understanding of what will happen.
Hiring web design services for small business can feel overwhelming for owners. A fantastic web design company won't make you feel that way. They will act as a partner along the way.
Above all else, this plan should be personalized. Whether you need to add to the plan to give yourself peace of mind or skip steps to relinquish control, the agency should be willing to accommodate your needs.
Many small business owners are surprised to find out that web design is a lot more than just building a website.
Sure, you can create a beautiful, custom website that is easy to navigate and has clear CTAs. But what next? What content goes on the site? How do you get the website to rank higher? And what do you do if the website crashes or has problems?
If you can't answer the above questions, you're looking for a lot more than just a web design service.
Luckily, most web design service companies recognized this need a long time ago. In order to give their clients a complete package, many agencies provide a wide range of services. You may want to consider adding some to your contract:
Let's say you run a promotion, too much traffic hits your website, and it suddenly shuts down. If you don't have the technical skills to fix the problem, it's a sign you need to outsource website management services. These services will help you when there are technical glitches and run will run constant testing and optimization to reduce the risk of future mishaps.
Once your website is live, you may want to launch a blog to drive website traffic and leads. Blogs are only effective if you update them frequently with new, exciting, and relevant content. If writing and uploading content weekly isn't something you have time for, consider hiring content marketing services instead.
Search engine optimization (SEO) services will use a variety of digital marketing tactics to optimize your site so it ranks higher on search engines. This will ultimately increase website traffic and the quality of leads coming to your website. When it comes to SEO, a set-it-and-forget-it approach doesn't work. SEO is continuously evolving and therefore needs continuous optimization and work.
PPC, Social Media, and More
Once you see the results from your new website, you'll understand the power of digital marketing. If done correctly, digital marketing can help your business multiply. Most small business owners don't have the skills or time to perform marketing tasks, such as Pay-Per-Click and social media. An agency can often offer web design services and other marketing activities such as PPC, social media, and more.
Now that you understand the full scope of your website design project, you might have a clearer picture of what type of agency you need to hire. More likely than not, you need a lot more than just web design services. You need a full package that gives you support past the website design and launch. If that's the case, create a list of criteria of what you need and find an agency that can offer it all.
There are lots of web design companies out there, and you need to ensure you're staying away from the ones that overcharge or provide shoddy work. Watch out for some of these red flags:
Lack of a Plan
One of the first things a prospective web design company should do is walk you through their project plan. They should ask you questions and establish a clearly defined strategy.
A company that doesn't provide you with a clear plan in the initial meeting of how they typically approach web design projects is a concern. It could mean one of two things: either they don't work on web design projects enough to have a process in place or they're bad at communicating. Both are issues you want to avoid.
When it comes to website building, mobile optimization is probably one of your site's most important considerations. More than 50% of searches on Google come from mobile.
If your website isn't optimized for mobile, it can cost you traffic and leads. In your initial consultation, if the web design agency doesn't mention mobile, it's a cause for concern.
Lead Generation, User Experience, and SEO
It's one thing to design a pretty website for a client. But, it's an entirely different thing to design a beautiful website that is functional and will drive success for a business.
An experienced web design agency will create sites with lead generation, user experience, and SEO in mind. All of these factors are critical to driving website traffic and leads to the business. If the web design company doesn't bring up these factors in the initial meeting, it's a red flag that they're not pushing for what's best for your business.
Questions to Ask
- How much will this cost? When hiring small business web design packages, you should be provided with an upfront quote and a promise that the price won't increase without consultation.
- Can you offer additional supportive marketing services such as copywriting, graphic design, and more?
- How long will my project take?
- Can I speak to a previous customer about their experience with you?
- Do you offer any guarantees?
Asking these questions will give you a clear picture of whether the agency is the right fit.
Agency Jet is a digital marketing agency offering small business web design packages. We do a lot more than just make websites that look great; we create websites that perform. And, we received the 2020 Enterprise award for Best Web Designers in Minneapolis.
Our process is simple: we assess your website, establish a budget and timeframe for the project, gather your branding specifics, create a fast, user-focused website, and test it before launch.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you create the website of your dreams.
|READ: 3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Web Design Agency||VIEW: Business Actions in Times of Crisis|
|GET: A free website audit from Agency Jet||READ: Using a WordPress Website Design Company to Boost Your SEO|