The number of internet users globally has grown three times since 2005. This tremendous increment alone is enough to push even the smallest businesses to look for an online presence. However, the days of a vanilla web, a low website design or a simple webpage are far behind.
If you want your business to thrive, or even survive in this competitive market, then you have to make sure that you stand head and shoulders above the rest.
The best way to do this is by developing a website for your business that reflects its core values. It should also help establish direct communication with the end client.
But, how can you ensure this? The most efficient way to do this is by following expert advice.
A professional website design firm can help you increase sales and boost market reach. It can achieve this by creating a truly professional website.
Further, hiring a professional web designer can give expression to your vision in the best possible manner.
You can also have a custom-designed website that highlights your products and services. Additionally, you can stay abreast of digital technologies that are constantly changing.
You can get a website that runs seamlessly on laptops, PCs, mobiles, as well as tablets. This is important for a user-friendly experience.
The Need For Hiring A Website Design Company
Let us discuss the positives of hiring a professional website design service. Some of the important ones are as follows,
Since your core business is not website design it is highly unlikely that you will have the resources to design your website in a more professional manner than a web development company.
A good website design firm will have the best designers and developers on their panel. These resources work tirelessly to make sure that the right design is developed to fit your requirements.
Further, it is a better option than doing it yourself or hiring a standalone professional. Since it is a business like your own, a professional web design firm is more likely to deliver services in a professional and timely manner.
Technologies are constantly evolving in our digitized world. It is nearly impossible to keep up with them on your own or with a couple of freelance designers.
More often than not, the lack of resources proves to be a hindrance. Therefore, it always makes better sense to hire web design agencies that are knowledgeable in the digital space.
This is an ideal way to stay ahead in the digital race and make sure that your business website is up to date.
Additionally, a professional agency is the best medium to offer you services that are in line with your expectations.
While off-the-shelf solutions are always more reasonable, a custom-designed website can provide that extra panache that sets you apart from the competition.
A professional web design achieves this better than anyone else. This is because their experts are tuned in to your requirements.
Additionally, their experience in dealing with similar customers gives them a unique advantage in offering customized services.
Not all customers require their website to deliver the same targets. For instance, you might require your website to push your sales and revenues.
On the other hand, another customer might require his website to provide extensive product information to its clients. A professional website design agency is equipped at handling such custom requirements.
They are able to deliver solutions that are unique to your expectations and requirements. A professional firm is more capable of developing a website that is capable of pulling prospective customers towards your products.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the go-to word today for anyone who is looking at maintaining an effective online presence.
Today, it has become one of the most important factors in a website design and development project. SEO optimization is designed to ensure that your website is visible in online searches.
It helps push your products and offerings by ensuring that you come up in the top few results of an online search. Therefore, such an important component of website design can’t be ignored.
However, a sole web designer may not have the required SEO optimization skills. This means that you will have to increase your expenditure and hire and SEO optimization expert.
This can add to your expenses, especially if you are on a tight budget. Therefore, in today’s SEO driven world, it is advisable to hire the services of a full-blown website design agency.
Such a firm will have experts including web consultants, web designers, web developers, SEO experts, etc.
Further, on a cost front, you may not get billed for each individual as they are shared across clients.
So, in effect, you will end up with a custom-built website that is optimized for SEO and is within your initial budget.
As a business owner, you are not expected to possess web design skills.
Your focus should be on how to increase your revenues, and you should leave the website design and development to the professionals.
While there are multiple DIY websites that allow you to design and create your own internet presence, it is not always the most economical approach.
For starters, your options with these can be very limiting. Also, the end result may not be what you had envisioned.
Therefore, you might end up spending time, money, and effort for zero returns. If you factor in the hours of effort that you are wasting on creating a website that does not eventually meet your requirements, then you are spending a substantial amount.
On the other hand, hiring a professional to do this for you can be more economical.
Further, you have a better idea of your expenditure and there is a low likelihood of going over budget.
These are just the top few reasons to hire a professional and experienced website design services company.
However, it is not an easy decision to make. With the hordes of web design business springing up in every street, deciding on one can be a daunting task.
Therefore, it is important to take this task seriously. This can be achieved by following a logical process for hiring the best website design and development agency.
How To Hire The Most Suitable Website Design Company?
Know What You Want
Several companies advertise different skills and services. Therefore, it is important to select the website design firm that is the closest match against your requirements.
To achieve this, you must be clear about your requirements. Very often it is difficult for a business owner, who is not into the web designing space to articulate his or her requirements.
In such a case, it is recommended that the business owner gives a clear picture of the expectations from the website.
For instance, be clear about your purpose behind commissioning a website. Do you want to have an online presence with a view of providing information to your customers?
Or, are you looking at increasing revenues by selling your products online? A professional web design agency has experts that can help you see what the end results might be.
It can help you assess if you can achieve what you are aiming for or not.
However, if you feel that the web design company that you are working with is not able to understand your requirements then it is probably a good idea to replace them.
Research and Reviews
Once you are clear and you know what you are looking for, you can start your hunt for a website design firm to help you create that vision.
You can do your research and create a shortlist of prospective agencies. At this stage, it is important to find out what the clients are saying about them.
Include reviews in your research. Read both negative and positive requires extensively before deciding on who you want to hire. Design and development are one-time activities.
Keep in mind to read reviews on their on-going support services. Find out their customers’ support policies.
Before signing with the firm, you can also ask them to arrange client references so that you can see for yourself how their existing customers feel about their services.
Reviews can also help you determine the level of professionalism of that agency. You can check their track record and see if they deliver projects on time.
This comprehensive research must be designed to help you reach a decision.
Ultimately, your aim behind creating a web presence is to make sure that your brand is differentiated from the rest of the competition.
While the designers must understand what you want to convey, they must utilize their experience to correct and advise you, if required.
A yes-man web design company can prove to be a complete waste of everybody’s time and effort.
Therefore, look at hiring an agency that takes into consideration your ideas and expectations and presents a design that is unique and appealing.
A portfolio is one way to determine whether the web design agency has unique and original ideas or not.
It also gives you an opportunity to assess their past work and give you an idea of whether it is the right fit for your requirement or not. However, be specific about what you want to see.
For instance, if you are looking at creating or updating an e-commerce site, then ask them to show you similar designs in their portfolio. Size and quality are both equally important here.
A new agency may have only a couple of designs in their portfolio, but if they can exceed your expectations then it is advisable to hire the firm.
On the other hand, you may come across a company that may have an extensive portfolio filled with dated designs that offer nothing unique. Don’t give it a second thought.
Does Size Matter?
Yes, and no. While a larger firm is symbolic of stability and assured service delivery, a smaller firm can add that spark that you might be more appropriate for your website.
Therefore, the size of the firm becomes relevant. Having said that, the size of the firm is no guarantee of the quality of deliverables.
Both big and small firms are essentially run by people. Therefore, a couple of exceptionally skilled web designers at a smaller firm is better than a dozen average website developers at a larger firm.
Ultimately, the end result is what matters in both cases. Therefore, the perception that bigger will be better, is skewed.
You can find numerous small firms that have a better grip on the market situations. In fact, smaller firms are focused on specializing in sector-specific website developments.
For instance, there are firms that specialize in e-commerce web designs that are specific to the retail sector.
They are better at designing the look, feel, and workflow of your e-commerce website than say, a larger firm with more generic services.
Years Of Experience
Even though the world wide web was created in the year 1990, websites still have not gone out of fashion.
In fact, they have become even more relevant today than they were a couple of decades ago. Therefore, it is fairly easy to find firms that have been in this business for long.
Firms with more experience have a stronger knowledge base and they can guide you in a better manner. Further, you know that their likelihood of remaining in business is much higher than a small firm with recent operations.
This can play a pivotal role as the web presence of businesses is here to stay. It is an industry that is growing and will not become irrelevant any time soon.
Therefore, it is highly possible that you will need a periodic upgrade of your website. For this, you must hire a web design agency that has stronger foundations and will not get affected by market fluctuations.
As we have seen that shortlisting and selecting a good web design company can be a time consuming and tedious process. There is no point in getting a website designed and developed from a firm that may not remain in business the next year.
If this happens then you will find yourself back to square one and you will have to begin the entire process of hiring another firm all over again.
A suitable website design firm should understand the marketing strategies that you want to employ in your business.
It is difficult for web designers to incorporate appropriate graphics and content if they fail to understand your marketing strategies. For instance, inbound and outbound marketing websites have completely different designs.
You can’t replace one with another. Therefore, this is a good area to ask questions and quiz your vendor to assess their understanding of your business goals.
It is very important that they understand what you want to achieve from your website. It is only after understanding your strategies can they translate it successfully onto your website.
Our business world has become increasingly global. However, different time zones can cause inconvenience.
Therefore, it is recommended to select a website developer who is based out of a time zone that is similar to yours. This will help avoid unnecessary delays due to different working hours, and possibly reduce the number of iterations to content and design.
The best scenario would be to find a local web design firm. However, this may not always meet your requirements due to budget or time constraints.
In such a case, the second-best option would be to look for someone in the same country. It will be beneficial in the long run, especially if you want modifications to your website.
You can assess and recognize the culture that a firm maintains. While your business and that of the website development firm might be in two different domains, you may still have the same work culture.
On the other hand, it is possible to have contrasting work cultures as well.
Although this may not be a reflection on the quality of work done by the web design firm. Having said that, contrasting work cultures can make it difficult to eye to eye on important issues.
It is very important to have a comfortable working rapport with your consultant and designer.
Since you will be spending time working closely with them, it is important to know if you are compatible or not.
A good working rapport can pave the way for a long-lasting business relationship. You may never have to look for another web design firm, ever.
Websites have become an important revenue generation mechanism in today’s internet economy.
Our busy lifestyles have made us adapt to the concept of online shopping with ease. Even for physical shoppers, the online presence of a business is an assurance factor.
For instance, you may not have a transaction based e-Commerce website. Still, your website is a means to deliver important information to your clients.
For instance, if you run a restaurant, then your patrons can find out where you are located. Your website can also help them see the menu and specials so that they are attracted to it.
Such visible benefits of having a website have made it a necessity today. Therefore, the sooner you can get yours up and running, the better.
To achieve this, it is important to hire a website development firm that can not just commit, but also deliver within the predefined timelines.
Any delay in launching your website is a notional loss of business as well. Additionally, there is always the possibility of competition taking over if you delay.
While you can get your website designed and developed by any company, there is bound to be a difference is the level of quality.
Therefore, while scouting for a website developer, make sure to determine the value for money that they offer.
You can easily do this by asking the designers to list out what is included and what will cost extra. Don’t be a victim of hidden terms and conditions.
Just make sure that all the essentials like e-mail registration, domain name, etc., are taken care of. In short, find out their costs and what is included in the contract before signing it.
SEO and Marketing Capabilities
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, primarily helps your website gain more visitors which can translate into increased business and revenues.
Because SEO has such an impact, it is important to get it right when you are creating your website. It can reduce the amount of effort that you will have to put into it in the future.
The SEO techniques have become necessities for business success. SEO is no longer an option that you can ignore. A website that is SEO optimized is more likely to have a higher ranking on the search engine’s landing page.
SEO ranking factors like keywords, content, usability, etc., are highly relevant.
If you build your website with an SEO bend of mind, then you are already setting up your website with a chance of getting a higher ranking in searches.
Let us explore a little more on the SEO front. Read on to find out how you can build your website for SEO,
1. Formatting and Page Layout
Size of text, pictures, links, etc. all can play a crucial role in optimizing your website for SEO. The font, background, and color scheme all have to work in tandem to make users happy.
Additionally, the background should not overpower the text in front of it. Further, a content placement that improves the usability of the site should not be ignored.
Remember, there are enough and more businesses in the market offering similar services.
Therefore, if your website is taking longer to load or is cumbersome to use, then you may lose customers to the competition.
2. Content Relevance
Relevant content can translate into the type of words or audio clips used on the webpage.
Keep in mind that it is the content that will determine whether the user will continue to stay on your webpage or not. If the content is not interesting or eye-catching, then engaging the users can be difficult.
So, try and convey a unique message in the least possible words. Make sure that any pictures you place on your homepage and other pages are in line with the content surrounding them.
Lastly, remember to use simpler words that echo with the customer base that you are targeting to attract.
Create content using words that an average visitor can understand and relate to.
3. Keywords Research
Simply speaking, keywords are the single most important factor used to determine the SEO ranking for a website.
Therefore, take your time and do extensive research before finalizing the keywords for your content. It will also give your website developer a better direction to work with.
Your website can become more focused and relevant. Additionally, keywords play an important role in establishing a line of communication with the search engine.
In other words, keywords help search engine gauge what your site is about and whether it is relevant to the users.
Therefore, it is important to plan your keywords in such a manner that they are in line with popular searches.
For this purpose, you can research what the competition is like. A professional website development firm utilizes relevant tools to get this part right.
4. Site Structure
The structure and layout of the website are just as important as the title tags or keywords. So, begin with outlining the structure of your website with your site developer.
The structure that your site has will determine the satisfaction level of user experience in the future.
So, take some time and sit with your designer to make sure that the site plan and structure are decided before you move into the building and coding phase.
This planning in the initial phases can help make sure that your website is optimized for SEO from the day it is launched.
Navigation is taking the design and structure a step further. Usability and user experience are of key essence here. For instance, if your website is difficult and complex to navigate then it can create a negative user experience.
On the other hand, a website with buttons and links in the right place can make it a breeze for users to navigate through.
It can also go a long way in converting visitors into customers and improve your SEO rankings.
Any reputed and experience website design firm will employ tools to assess the navigability of your site.
It is always recommended to test a website a few times before it is launched.
6. Analytics Tools
It is recommended to incorporate analytical tools right from the time that your website is launched.
In short, it means that you will have data and insights from the very first day itself.
Tools like Google analytics are developed to provide you with information on how your website’s performance.
Some tools can also provide data on conversion rates. It is important for you to understand who is visiting your site to determine if your content is relevant to the audience you wish to target.
So, both conversion rates and visitor profiles are equally important for running a successful business in the online domain. Additionally, it can help you boost your SEO rankings.
7. Title Tags
Title tags are webpage headings that get displayed in the results of a search engine. A user can click on these title tags and go directly to the page that is of interest to them.
It is, therefore, very important to make sure that you use relevant keywords. This will help with SEO rankings.
A search engine will skip your page if the keywords don’t match the search. Therefore, make sure that your website developers incorporate this feature into your webpages correctly.
8. Conversion Rate
Call out to your visitors. In order to maintain SEO rankings, it is important to keep on converting visitors into customers.
Ensure that your conversion rates are consistently high. Relevant content and user-friendliness go a long way in converting visitors into long-lasting clients.
So, make sure that you try your best to engage the visitor in one way or another.
For example, you can request the visitor to sign up for a newsletter or fill a simple form with their basic information.
Conversion rates can also drop if your cart and checkout processes are not streamlined. Many visitors leave abandoned carts is the checkout process it tedious.
Make sure that you discuss all of the above-mentioned points with your website design firm in detail. The SEO results can take time some time to become visible.
However, incorporating an SEO optimization mindset form the beginning can make sure that you achieve higher rankings faster as well.
SEO optimization and an increase in rankings may not happen overnight. Having said that, optimizing your website for SEO form the beginning can ensure that this process is expedited.
What to Avoid While Selecting A Website Developer
While we have discussed in detail what you should look for in a website development firm, here’s is a list of what you must avoid at all costs when hiring one.
1. Unclear information
Make sure that your website gives accurate and relevant information. Avoid making claims that are untrue.
Treat your website like the first point of contact with your prospects and clients. Therefore, it is important to provide concise information, that is engaging and relevant to your line of business and services.
Very often we come across websites that are dense in content, but it is unclear what they are trying to convey. Remember, visitor opinions take less than a second to form after landing on a page.
Hence, website clarity is very important to ensure an engaging customer experience.
Your online presence is doomed if your website is not compatible with a mobile-friendly version.
Over 50% of users are likely to leave your site if they are not provided with a version that is compatible with mobile. Further, if websites don’t work well on mobile phones it sends a wrong signal to the users.
Users may feel that you are not serious about taking your business online.
Lastly, if your website is not convenient to browse on a mobile phone, then the users are likely to make the switch to another that is mobile-friendly.
3. Page Loading Time
If your webpages take longer than 3 seconds to load, then you may have a serious problem on your hands.
Simply speaking, online users are impatient and are likely to press the back button and go back to search results to look for an alternative if your website is taking longer to load.
This is because the visitors expect your website to load at a much faster speed. Statistically speaking, nearly fifty percent of the users expect the site to load in under 2 seconds.
However, if the user is browsing the internet on a mobile phone then, this percentage is even higher.
In short, page load times are inversely proportional to customer retention – higher load time may result in lesser customers and vice versa.
4. Multiple Browser Windows
If your site is designed in such a manner that it opens up different browser windows, then client retention can become difficult.
For instance, if a user is directed to leave your website then the likelihood of that user returning diminishes considerably. This happens mostly if you have social media links in prominent positions.
Once the visitor clicks on them, he is diverted to another window and then it becomes a never-ending cycle of jumping from one page to another.
Therefore, avoid putting these links at the top of your homepage. The best placement is at the bottom or on the sides.
5. Not Reader-friendly
Very often sites are designed using fonts that are not easy to read. This can be attributed to the size, style or color of the font.
If you are reducing the size of the content to fit the page, it can become difficult to read, especially on mobile devices.
Likewise, a light color text in front of a light background, or text written italics can be difficult to read as well.
Therefore, make sure that you select the right color theme for your page that matches the text size and style.
6. No Contact Information
Users are less likely to trust a website if it does not provide any contact information.
Even if you do provide contact information, it should not be difficult to find.
More than forty percent of users are likely to leave your website if they can’t find any contact information on it.
Remember, your site is designed to create a means of conversing with your clients. You can’t achieve this if you fail to provide any contact information.
7. Unsecure Website
HTTPS has become the norm. more than 80 percent of users are likely to abandon the cart if they can’t find a secure site to make the purchase.
Further, Google’s browser has started highlighting websites with plain HTTP as ‘insecure’. Also, HTTPS sites tend to load faster. Considering all these benefits, avoid having a website that is not HTTPS secure.
The HTTPS factor has been in the top three Google SEO rankings since 2014. Data breached and online hacks are more common now than ever.
This has made the user less trusting of websites that are unsecured. It raises a red flag and cautious visitors are unlikely to become customers.
8. No Sub-Headings
Its common knowledge that our attention is drawn more towards texts that stand out.
This is the purpose of incorporating H1 & H2 sub-headings on your webpage.
Blocks of texts don’t make for an interesting read on their own. Additionally, it is easier for search engines to find you through the subheadings in your texts.
These act as helpful markups for crawlers and helps them figure out what the webpage is about.
9. Useless Buttons & Links
Buttons or links that can’t be clicked on conveniently can lead to user frustration.
Buttons and links were traditionally designed to be compatible with mouse clicks.
However, with the advent of touch screen mobile phones, these are rendered useless.
So, make sure that your tablet and mobile versions of the website have buttons and links that can be easily clicked on using fingers.
There is no set formula for launching a website that will be successful from the word ‘go’.
However, the pointers provided in this article can get you started in the right direction. You can follow them to have a better understanding of your requirements.
Once that is done, you can begin scouting for a web design agency that can translate your vision and expectations into a comprehensive website.
Make sure that it is optimized for SEO. As we have highlighted the multiple ways to achieve this optimization, you can discuss these with your web development partners.
There is no shortage of the amount of advice that is available in the public domain today regarding how to go about finalizing a website design agency.
Therefore, with little guidance, you can simplify this tedious process and end up with a website that is complementary to your business requirements.
However, it is important to spend enough time and effort in getting this right and avoid some common mistakes.
More often than not, your website will act as a sales representative on your behalf. Therefore, make sure that you end up with the right one which is beneficial and economical in the long run.
Do your research and be clear on your expectations and the delivery capabilities of your shortlisted vendors.
Companies of all sizes are dependent on successful websites to increase their business.
So, rest assured that it is no less of a task than building your home. If the foundations are solid, then the structure will last longer.