So you’ve decided you need a new website. Excellent! You’ve taken the first step (of many) towards improving the online presence of your company.
But where do you begin?
With a strategy.
Every phenomenal website begins with a strategy that considers and incorporates:
- Your marketing strategy
- Excellent copywriting
- The flow of information
- Your goal for the website (awareness, conversions, sales)
- Search engine optimization
- And so much more
We know there’s a world of web design options for business owners and professionals to choose from. Unfortunately, these options are not created equally. What may appear as a no-brainer deal for your new website might actually come with some awful repercussions.
Before choosing one over the other, make sure you understand what’s involved with each potential option.
Online Website Builders
Weebly. Wix. Godaddy. Web.com. You’ve heard of these online website builders and you’ve seen their commercials, too. Their goal is to convince you to build a website using their platform because it’s so easy to “get your business online fast”.
Here’s what I’m not a fan of. These companies charge you per month for the entire life of your website, and you have to do all of the work yourself. From writing the content to wrestling with a ‘drag and drop’ design/development system, you are paying someone else and completing the work. A bit backward, don’t you think?
On top of this, a template design won’t take into consideration your individual marketing goals or planned strategy. Why would you purchase a website only to do all of the work and not have it align with your objectives?
Should you decide that an online, drag and drop website builder is the best option for your business, be sure to keep in mind the following points:
- Cost — We’ve seen website builders charge anywhere from $9/month to upwards of $100/month. It all depends on the package you choose. Some of these platforms have free options, with the caveat that the company’s branding is part of your website and URL. For example, our URL would be titanwms.weebly.com instead of our branded, titanwms.com.
- Do You Own Your Website? — Certain drag and drop online website builders have clauses that they own your domain name, content, and more if you use their services. If you decide to cancel, there could be a huge buyout fee or hours spent waiting for customer support. Be on the lookout for these restrictions!
- Design Choices — Online website builders only offer a handful of templates to choose from. This means there is the possibility that your website will look exactly like several other websites on the Internet — potentially your competition! Before signing up, ask yourself if you can easily change the appearance of the website to look original? Is the theme mobile responsive? (It better be!) Your website is the salesperson that never sleeps. Do you really want it looking exactly like someone else’s website?
- Time — Do you have all the time you need to do the work yourself? These websites won’t build your website for you. It’s all up to you. Don’t forget you still have a business to run. Can you handle adding another thing to your already overflowing plate?
Freelance Website Designers
While some website designers freelance as their main job, the majority of freelancers have a full-time job on top of their freelance projects. This means they complete their freelance work during their “off hours”. If your business operates on a 9-5 schedule, you have to communicate and work on your website when the freelancer has availability. This can mean weekends, nights, early mornings, or weird, sporadic bits of time.
With freelancers, you also need to consider their experience. Many freelancers are experts in only one area of the website design process. While they may be phenomenal at website design, you still need to find people to help you write the website content and build the site. That means either two more freelancers under your watch or an entirely different solution.
If a freelancer is your best option, be sure to consider:
- Experience — How long has your intended freelancer been working in the industry? What relevant experience do they have that can positively contribute to the success of your website design? More experienced freelancers will come at a higher cost than those just starting out in the business. If you’ve selected a freelancer with years of experience, are they keeping up with the latest trends and technology changes?
- Communication — Since your freelancer may work hours that don’t fit perfectly into your schedule, how will you communicate? What mediums will you use? Do they have an excellent track record with communication? Will they be available after the project launches for changes or quick fixes in case of an emergency?
- Referrals — How did you find this freelance web designer or developer? Were they referred to you? Did you come across their website? Ask for previous examples of work and referrals from other clients to understand how well this freelancer works and communicates with others.
Agency Website Design
Another option you have is to partner with an agency that specializes in website design. Website design agencies have employees who specialize in one particular area of the process and collaborate with others to create a website that achieves all of your particular goals. Meaning you have multiple highly talented and skilled professionals working on your website with the intent of helping you drive results online.
Of course, this comes with a larger price tag. Depending on the agency you use, you’ll have different prices and packages available to you. For instance, some agencies will have a one-time fee while others have packages with additional fees. You’ll find pricing anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000 depending on your particular web design needs, the pricing plans available from that agency, and where the company is located.
When working with an agency, always be quick to respond and highly specific with your feedback. By doing so, you ensure that you receive your website on time and exactly how you desire.
Always keep in mind the following when dealing with a website design agency:
- Team — Who works for the agency? Are they in one office or scattered about the country working remotely? Do they outsource any part of the web design process to another company, agency, or even country? Outsourcing can lead to outdated development practices, spelling errors, extended timeframes, and more.
- Experience — How long as the agency been in business? Who have they worked for? Are they a legitimate business?
- Craftsmanship — Just like the freelancers, ask for referrals from past clients and view their previous work. Do you like what you see? Are you impressed? Ask about their process. Do they take the time to ensure that every aspect of your website is exactly how you want it?
Obviously, you have a lot to weigh when it comes to your website design options. Our team is here to help you find the website design solution that fits your budget, time constraints, and needs.
Call us at 877.935.3796 to get started.