Many computer programs come with the ability to create a web site – and there are many free and low cost web site building tools available.
It is sometimes difficult to think why you need to spend money on a web designer.
Add in the many pricing levels (and skill levels) of the current crop of people offering web design services and I really do feel your pain.
This applies if you already have a web site and looking to change – or if you are just starting out with a new business that hasn’t had a web site before.
Getting a bad web site that doesn’t work for you is a waste of your hard earned money.
Some web projects that I know of – have been created with the best intentions but looking at them it is obvious that they just will not “work” for the web site owner.
Having a web site that works for you is like having a 24 hour sales representative helping your potential and existing customers to interact with you – when they want to – and in a style that they prefer.
If your customers preferred style is using a mobile device such as an iPad in the middle of night and they want to find out your contact details to communicate a question – then don’t build the web site in the Flash programming language – and make sure that you have a clearly marked “FAQ” section on your web site.
In this example – Flash doesn’t work on iPads and a good FAQ can help your web site visitors find the information they seek without having to call you.
Sometimes it seems that the grass looks greener next door – and in this uncertain market we’ve seen clients move to a new web designer who was offering a “free web creation service” – but also then locked them into a long hosting arrangement.
You do get what you pay for and it always pays to see “the total cost of ownership” of having a web site.
The first step if you are considering a new web site or a new designer is to work out what you want from the project.
That is the “real” outcomes – the reason that you are spending any time or money doing this – how will you measure the success of the project…?
A good web designer can help you formulate this – a not so good web designer will let you drive this – or will let you be blissfully unaware about the potential outcomes for having a web site.
If you don’t have a target in mind – how will you know when you get there…?
Owning a web site is a journey – make sure that you understand this – and that your web designer also understands this.
Your business probably isn’t the same as it was 18 months ago (the economy certainly isn’t the same – so I hope you have changed to best take advantage of the global issues) – is your web site up to date to reflect this…?
Your visitors to your web site will want fresh new information – does the web designer allow you to do this with a content management system that you can learn and grow your web site over time…?
Or are they a “gate keeper” with you locked into using them for updates…?
Does the web designer work in your preferred project style…?
If you like a casual laid back approach then don’t engage a large corporate style web designer – and if you want a large corporate style project plan for your project then don’t expect a one man band just starting out in the industry to know about (and follow) all of the many project steps in a great web design project.
Make sure your budget is realistic – search engines change how web sites are ranked, updates are issued to browsers and servers, peoples expectations change over time about what they expect from a web site – don’t think a big spend now totally future-proofs your web site without more spending at some time in the intermediate future.
You’ll find that nearly every web designer has a different format for their quotes just as their skill sets and experience can vary a lot.
So that’s a lot covered already – but as we’ve seen all web designers are not created equal before you make a decision you need to make a list of what is important to you to score or rank the potential web designers that you are talking with (or thinking of moving on from ;-)
Here’s a list of important elements to a web project: -
• Back-end automation / databases
• Ongoing Web Strategy
• Help and support
• Planning from Growth
• Instant response from designer
• Search Engine Optimisation
• Social-media knowledge
• Real measurable returns
• Partnership / share revenue options
• Knows about different web income models
• Real time booking online
• Credit card payment gateways
• Member systems
• Members self edit
• Personable and approachable
• Large / small team
• Value add by the designer
• Site visits to your business
• Regular new content ideas
• Guarantees on their work
• Ownership of any creative work
• Ongoing total cost of ownership / value received
The next step is to choose from the list above what is important to you and gives that element a “weighting factor.
If there’s anything on that list that you don’t understand – please ask us – you should know all those elements to make great use of your web site online…
As an example: -
Graphics could be important to you – so score that out of 10
Responsiveness is very important (because that may be what you are missing now) – score out of 30
Search Engine Optimisation – score out of 50
Etc - for other elements on the list...
It doesn’t matter what the weighting adds up to as this should just get you think about what is important to you.
Score each web designer to your new weighted list of what is important and you should start to see how they rank against each other – remember saving costs is an easy justification for change – as long as the outcomes remain the same – or get better.
Changing a well search engine ranked web site can destroy its place in search engines results.
By adding all your scores together you should get a clear idea about the ideal web designer.
And I hope you’re not wanting to move on from us – but if you are let us know and we can chat about some of the new things we have planned for the EC Toolset and some new hosting options that we now have available.
Posted: Thursday 2 January 2020