When deciding to set-up a website for your business one of the first steps you’ll need to take is find a web design company who can help with your project. With so many web design firms available the biggest problem will not be finding one but making sure that you find the right one for you.
The right web designer will not only make a website that looks good but will understand your site is a business tool that needs to perform for you. In order to find the best web designer for your project you’ll need to spend some time researching the market, looking for potential design firms and talking with them to make sure you are a good they understand your needs and can deliver a successful solution.
As well as reviewing portfolios and testimonials making sure the web design companies you talk to have knowledge in the following areas will help you make sure you make the right choice.
To the uninitiated internet lingo can sound like a foreign language. A good web designer will talk to you in a language you understand. So you should hear less of the acronyms and more of the details.
When talking to potential web designers be prepared to stop them when you don’t understand what they are saying and ask them to explain, in a manner that you do. This is nothing to feel bad about. Everyone is knowledgeable in their industry – I have no idea how to fix a broken toilet and I wouldn’t expect a plumber to know what CSS is.
You’re hiring a professional web designer to help you navigate the online world so use their expertise to help you understand.
Designing With Web Standards
Many industries have a set of standards that people should comply with, and the internet is no different. Designing with web standards ensures that a website is accessible to more people and more types of internet devices, such as a web browser (think Internet Explorer or Firefox), a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or a mobile phone. Designing a website to meet web standards also ensures that your website continues to function correctly as technology evolves saving costly re-designs.
When talking to potential web designers ask them their feelings on web standards and whether they work to them.
An often overlooked part of building a website is usability. Put plainly, usability is the ease of which a website can be used. You want the visitors to your website to be able to quickly and easily move around your website and complete the tasks they are there for, eg buy your products online or make an enquiry. If a visitor is not able to find what they are looking for they will most likely leave and go elsewhere, causing you to loose a sale. In the offline world you’d make sure your shop door is open and your phone on the hook, online you need to make sure you do the same.
As well as talking to web designers about usability take a moment to go through their site and sites they’ve done for other businesses. Are they easy to use? Can you find what you are looking for? Is it usable?
Knowledge of Search Engines
I’ve talked about search engines and search friendly websites in previous articles and I can’t emphasise enough, again, how important they are to your online presence. With search engines accounting for up to 70% of the visitors to your website it’s vital that you make sure your website is built in a search engine friendly manner from the ground up.
Your web designer needs to understand how search engines, crawl, index and rank pages and take that into account when building your website.
Focuses on Conversions
A pretty website is just that. Pretty. Sure you want your website to look good but more importantly you want it to achieve your online goals. The right developer will understand this and will work with you to develop and execute a strategy that will meet these goals and convert visitors into customers.
Converting a visitor into a customer involves creating a clear, professional easy to use website that talks to your visitors. These days you’ve got about 3 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention. That’s it. In that time they have to work out what your site is about and what’s in it for them. The more complicated your message the more difficult it is for them to work it out – and the easier it is for them to hit the back button.
Make sure your web designer understands the importance of building a website that focuses on conversions. Talk to them about creating Call to Actions (eg a Buy Now button), how they will approach the online ordering process, help you collect leads or achieve any other online goals you have.
Deciding to take the plunge and create an online presence is a big step. In order to do it right and come away with a successful website you need to make sure you choose the right web design business to be a part of your team. The more information you arm yourself with, and the more time you spend talking to potential designers, the better chance you will have of making the right choice for your business. Good luck!