When choosing a web design company to design and build your website, there are numerous factors to consider. First and foremost, you have to define what the objective of your website is, who your target audience is, and map out the content that will live on your website. Once you have a solid understanding of what the needs for your website are, you can better evaluate if a website design company is a good fit.
What to Consider When Choosing a Web Design Company
Each web design company is different and has their own area of expertise. Some specialize just is the visual design, some only in the coding and development, while others do both and other types of Internet marketing such as SEO and/or email marketing to help you attract and retain customers. Make sure you have them explain their approach and areas of expertise, and balance them against your needs.
Content Management & Support
Your website is a living and breathing organism and it should continue to evolve and grow. To continue growing your content you’ll need the ability to make frequent content updates. There are two general options here: 1. You make the updates, or 2. You pay your design company to make the updates.
If you prefer to make the updates yourself, which gives you the most control over your site and will reduce long term cost, you’ll need to have a Content Management System (CMS) for your website. A CMS allows you to make surface level changes to your website, such as adding or removing pages, editing content, adding documents and photos, etc.
If you plan to be hands on, make sure your website has a content management system. Otherwise, make sure your web design partner can provide maintenance and that you’ve budgeted both time and money to do so.
Search Engine Friendly
Consumers are using search engines, such as Google, more and more to find services, solutions or products they need. Enabling your website to be found on the search engines (by potential customers) is called search engine optimization, or SEO for short. While there are numerous factors and complexities that go into effectively optimizing your website, we can generally brake it down to your website’s architecture (coding and presentation of content), quality content on your website and links coming to your site from other relevant and authoritative websites.
To compete at the top of the search engines, your SEO campaign needs ongoing consulting and continued production of high quality content and relevant back-links to your website. While SEO does provide the highest return on investment (ROI) over any other marketing tactic – this level of expertise and the continue production can cost between $2,000 – $5,000 per month.
If your business model is not able to support the investment required for a 6-12 month SEO campaign, at a minimum you should make sure your website is search engine friendly. Making your website search engine friendly, or in other words using the proper html coding structures and organizing your content so the most important content is easily accessible, will prevent you from not being found on the search engines at all.
The cost of creating a website can vary dramatically – for micro to small business websites, the cost can range from $4,000 – $25,000. There are generally two types of websites: brochure websites that are more informational and ecommerce websites that sell products. Both brochure websites and ecommerce websites require planning, design, content creation, and coding or development.
However, ecommerce websites require more development and functionality to allow for the products to be managed, organized and the product options to be displayed. Ecommerce websites also require payment processing, a secure certificate and greater hosting services to accommodate the product and customer data. Ecommerce websites are typically more expensive than brochure websites, with an initial development cost starting at $7,000 and ongoing hosting and payment processing fees starting at $75 / month.