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Hiring a Website Designer: What You Need to Know

Hiring a Website Designer: What You Need to Know

Web designers are in high demand with the continued growth of online commerce. Businesses are quickly catching on to the idea that in order to compete, they need to have a solid online presence along with their company name and brand. Web designers are professionals that deliver a job in twofold.

What all website designers should be offering you
Website designers must balance the creative with the practical and weed out what is and isn’t necessary to make a website stand out. Sometimes they have to wade through the clutter to deliver a comprehensive design that will boost revenue and readership. Here are 9 things that a web designer should offer you as you create your website:

  1. Execution of functional design
    A functional design is one of the most important aspects of a successful website. If you have little to no idea what you want to see in a final product for your website, don’t worry. A web designer or web-design company can take your ideas, objectives, and input and provide the best options to reach your intended outcome. What they present might be different from what you originally envisioned, but as a professional, they know what works and will do everything to ensure you’re satisfied.Often, DIY web design showcases an overcrowded main page with information and graphics, which is a grave mistake of amateur designers. If you do that, a customer won’t know where to go first, and it might be difficult for them to easily navigate their way around the website to find the products they want or the information they seek.
  2. Creation of original website design
    Unique and original web design is hard to come by with so many already in existence. There are a lot of ways to garner attention when it comes to web design. Colors, visual images, and even videos provide visitors with a sense of what your brand is and what you hope to achieve. A professional web developer or web development company will be able to provide you with multiple options to choose from so that you can find a web design that fits your specific needs and overall aesthetic. If they have one in mind that they really think will work for you, they will probably make it known which option they prefer, but ultimately that decision lies with you.Creativity is an added bonus when it comes to web design. A good designer will be able to handle the technical side of web development as well as the creative and visionary side. Both components are key to a successful website.
  3. Consistent communication
    When you work with an experienced website designer, there will be a certain level of communication that volleys back and forth. This doesn’t mean you’ll get hourly updates, but a few emails or phone conversations a week is important to ensure that your project is moving forward. Communication is also key for one reason: questions. A responsive web designer will have questions regarding what your vision of the website is, what kind of content you want, specific images or videos you plan to use, and ultimately what you’re trying to accomplish with the website. If a web designer doesn’t ask you any questions, it’s a sure sign they may not understand your goals or be that focused on your project.
  4. Knowledge of trends
    Trends come and go, but when they’re hot, it’s best to know them. Trends in web design usually refer to visual techniques that emerge over time. However, just because the trend exists doesn’t mean a designer should use them in every project. A trend needs to fit the project, and a good web designer will be able to tell when to use the trend and when to leave it for a different project.
  5. SEO
    Search-engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of any successful website, and a successful web designer will know its importance. If you want your company page to be heads-above your competition, having a web designer that knows SEO well, is imperative. If you hire a web-design company, they should have an associate that can walk you through the use of SEO and why it’s so important. Additionally, they can use their knowledge of your brand/products to create content that allows for ideal SEO utilization. Basically, you want to sprinkle your content with keywords that make your website accessible to all kinds of readers. And it’s not just referring to the first page of your website. Your entire site should contain little Easter eggs of SEO content that will bring you higher on the search engine’s list.
  6. Analytics interpretation and reporting
    Analytics is a great way to gauge foot traffic on your website. They will show you which posts or content are popular and what isn’t so that you can focus more on a certain topic or style going forward. A web designer will be able to go over the analytics of your website over time and show you potential areas for improvement or areas where visitors really aren’t going. If you have sections of the website that get no visitors, you may want to revamp the content or get rid of it altogether and add something else in its place. Analytics is very important to your success. You want to know where your visitors are going and how long they stay on specific material.
  7. CMS Incorporation
    Once your website is ready to go with all the final touches from your web designer/design company, you’ll need a way to consistently manage it yourself unless you plan to hire a full-time web designer to work on your page on a regular basis. A professional web designer should be able to create a user-friendly content management system (CMS) that will allow you to update your website without having to get your hands too dirty. Plus, you don’t want to accidentally mess up any of the work the designer just completed for you.
  8. Platform division
    One of the worst things you can do as a business is to make your website unavailable on multiple platforms. What looks well-organized and smart on a big screen, may come out looking jumbled and a mess on a tablet or smartphone. No matter which device someone is using, they should be able to navigate your website and view all of the content on both small and large scales. Your website must adjust automatically to ensure optimum viewing and continued use, otherwise, you aren’t reaching as many visitors as you could on multiple platforms.
  9. Ongoing support
    If you aren’t well-versed in web design, since most business owners are not, then you will most likely need continued support even after the website launches. This doesn’t mean you have to be attached to the specific designer or design company forever, but they should offer ongoing support and assist you in the near future as you learn the ins and outs of your own website. A good design company will follow up with you about how the website is working, and if any changes need to be made, such as links or tabs that aren’t functioning properly, they’ll be happy to fix. Small tweaks will be made until your website is running like a well-oiled machine.

Web design will continue to evolve as technology advances, and experienced web developers are always learning new tricks of the trade to keep up with the trends and innovative design. The last thing you want is a website stuck in a previous decade. Collaborate with a web designer or web-design company that is always looking toward the future of web design so that can set yourself up for the greatest chance of success.

Now that you understand some of the top services that all website designers should be offering you, it’s possible you’re wondering how these services can really help you be successful at the end of the day. Sometimes, we place too much emphasis on website glamour. Website designers who get lost in the latest and greatest bells and whistles can easily forget the most critical website function: to make you money. The best web design companies know how to combine design elements and practical strategies in order to make your website professional, personable, and profitable. They use a step-by-step process that ensures results. Here are three ways that a web designer can make your website more profitable:

  1. Design a marketing funnel
    First and foremost, a marketing funnel needs to be created. Good website designers know that the way users interact with a website is predictable. They design a marketing funnel that grabs attention, engages interest, and enables action. Customized elements that make your business unique are added to the funnel. Here’s how the funnel works:
    • Landing page. A user lands on your site and makes a stay-or-leave decision within a few seconds. It’s imperative that your landing page has built-in elements that tell the user to stay. At first glance, your site has to be professional, organized, and visually appealing. The best web design companies know that visually appealing means much more than fancy pictures. They make sure your site is full-width, your pictures and text complement one another, and your branding stands out. The overwhelming majority of users stay and are guided further into the funnel.
    • Content and imagery. Content is the text on your site. Imagery is the graphics. Good website designers know that imagery always complements the content and not the other way around. Content is strategically written to guide your user into the funnel. It gives them the information they want and what they need to know about your services/products. Good web design companies work with excellent content writers and copywriters to ensure content is persuasive but never too sales-y. Imagery is embedded into the content to make it more appealing and break it up into easy-to-read sections. A powerful call-to-action (CTA) is placed at the end of the content in the closing sentences.
    • Contact form. The contact form is located after the CTA at the end of your funnel. It’s obvious that the majority of web designers put contact forms in this position; however, only an experienced web designer knows exactly how to include the contact form. They take size, color, and text into account and make a perfect contact form that reinforces everything the user learned in the sales funnel: Your business is professional and has something useful to offer. You can include your telephone number, email, and office location. If you’d like, you can also include a “contact us” form.
  1. Target your audience
    A web design company should listen to everything you have to say because no one knows your target audience better than you. After a thorough information-gathering session in which specific audience-related questions are asked and answered, a web-design company should have all the information they need. Web designers take this information and incorporate it into your site to target your online audience, using the following:
    • Web-design elements. Web design is like painting a masterpiece. One bad stroke or one wrong color can throw everything off. Good web designers take everything into account and relate everything to your audience. They make every web-design element count. These elements include:
      • Colors. It’s important to carefully select colors that evoke your audience’s mood, thoughts, and emotions. Colors should match your branding to make your site look professional. Perfect visually appealing color shades should be created if you already have colors that you’d like to use.
      • Layout. Your website layout targets your audience. Click menus are ideal for some users, while drop-down ones are ideal for others. Younger and older audiences prefer easy-to-understand layouts with lots of white space. Young professionals and tech-savvy audiences prefer more detailed layouts.
      • Font size. Font size and type are also important. A font that’s too small is hard to read. A font that’s too large makes you look unprofessional. The ideal size and type make your font stand out and easy-to-read.

Experienced web designers are always best because they work with you to ensure your site is exactly what you want. They listen to your input and make decisions accordingly.

    • Responsive web design. The days of users only viewing websites on desktops are long gone. Good web designers know that websites have to be compatible with phones and tablet devices. They are responsive web-design experts that can make every web-design element completely compatible. The website looks exactly the same across all platforms so users can access the website anytime and anywhere.
    • Creative ways to portray ads. Good web designers think of creative ways to place target-audience ads on your website. They make ads that complement your site and promote your business. Ads should always be easy for your target audience to find and use. With a simple click, a sale is made or contact is initiated.
  1. Make audience behavior-related changes
    Good web designers know that web-design services encompass much more than just getting your site up and running. They offer comprehensive web-design services that ensure your site makes you money. Your targeted audience’s behavior is closely monitored to make sure your website is giving them what they want. The designer looks at the pages visited and changes the navigation and other sections of the site to suit the most popular pages or, conversely, to bring people to the less visited pages.

A good web-design company will work to optimize the site for search engines. The site’s goal should be to make it to the first page of search results. If it’s not there or not trending in that direction, changes should be made. The site can be easily updated or sections can be changed if necessary. Good web designers are experts at knowing what changes will and will not work. They strategically, rather than randomly, make changes.

Changes are always made with the ultimate goal of increasing your profit. If your site already makes a profit, more can always be made. If your site doesn’t make a profit, an experienced website designer can tell you exactly why and offer specific changes to help you. Your site can and will make you money when you find the right web designer.

An effective marketing funnel gives your audience all of the information they need to make a purchase or contact decision. Targeting your audience uses web-design elements to complement one another and reach out to your customers. Audience behavior-related changes make your website the best it can be. When you work with an experienced web designer, the money you put into your website will be small in comparison to the money you can make.

 

Speaking of money…
It’s important to understand what web design services will cost and to make sure that you’re spending your hard earned money on the right things that will give you a good return on your investment.

Pricing can vary depending on the experience and quality of the web-development firm along with the intricacies of the web design project. It’s important to understand what factors go into budgeting for a custom website design beforehand. There can be many costs associated with custom website design. Consider these details to have a realistic outlook for your budget:

    1. Domain name registration
      One of the first things you need to do is register a domain name, or web address, online so users can visit you. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Limited availability of memorable domain names forces businesses to be more creative. Don’t be afraid to use a tagline or catchphrase instead of your business’s name if your desired domain is taken. If you’re lucky, perhaps you can try buying that domain name from an individual if it’s not in use. Purchasing a domain name costs anywhere from $10 to $100 per year, so it’s best to buy several years at a time and use “auto-renew” to make it even easier.
    2. Website hosting
      After you register a domain name, you have to find a place for your website to live. Hosting provides a space for web files and where visitors can come and enjoy your site. Choosing the right host will give you faster page loads, better search-engine capabilities, and security. Hosting prices can be $15 to $500 a month, depending on what features you need. These features include service availability, file managers, storage space, databases, technical support, backup and restoration, and security certificates.
    3. Website development
      The actual cost of building a website varies from business to business. It all depends on features, functions, size, and design. For example, e-commerce websites will cost more than informational websites because they need more functions. Presenting a list of your desired website functions to your developer right in the beginning will help determine an estimate. These functions could include self-editing, email forms, product selling, news sharing, and inventory systems. Custom-designed and responsive websites can cost more than $10,000, while custom-designed e-commerce websites can cost upwards of $20,000.
    4. Maintenance
      It’s easy to think the work is done after launching a website. Unfortunately, the work continues long after going live. A lot of business owners let their websites fall out of date, which can lead to search-engine slips, broken links, less traffic, and fewer conversions. In other words, all that hard work of creating a fantastic website means nothing without proper upkeep. During the web-development process, talk with your web design team about a maintenance plan. Action points like software or plugin updates, uptime monitoring, content updates, and traffic reporting are essential when it comes to website maintenance. These deliverables can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000 a month, depending on the size and scope of your website. Maintenance ensures customer satisfaction, conversions, and overall growth, and is a necessary cost for success.

Custom website design provides your business with unique functions and qualities not found anywhere else. It creates a memorable experience that can delight your customers from the beginning. While the exact costs associated with website design might be varied, it’s important to be aware of these costs ahead of time so that you know what to expect in your design package estimate.

Hiring a website designer can become an overwhelming task. Knowing what you should expect in regards to services and the return on your investment are important factors when choosing the right web-design company for your needs. Our team, of web-development specialists and website designers, has the experience and expertise needed to create profit-generating websites. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your web design needs, please contact us today.

 

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