This article may make some website designers feel uncomfortable. The reason for this is that this article will provide information regarding the pitfalls when selecting a web designer. This article will also cover some of the secrets behind the marketing strategies used by web designers to sign you up.
Paying Too Little
In an ideal world, we all want something for nothing or as close to nothing as possible and website design is no different. Generally speaking, most people seem to think that $1000 or more for a website is a “rip off” and one for a few hundred dollars is a good deal. You can’t approach website design with a “One Size (Price) Fits All” mindset.
The main purpose of a website should be to MAKE money, not cost money. People usually create a website to promote their services or sell a product. Either way, the aim is to make money from it. By cutting costs on your website you run the risk of having a mediocre, unprofessional website that might not generate as much business.
Here are some common ways people try to save money when designing their website:
Building a site on your computer using an application that came with your Operating System
These applications tend to be very basic and lack the functionality of a professional, purpose built solution. The behind the scenes code is not always the most efficient, which could cause performance issues and make future enhancements more difficult.
Using a DIY hosted website builder
The issue with some of the hosted solutions, especially the cheaper ones, is the lack of variety with the templates. You do not want a website created using the “cookie cutter” method. In addition to this, the support can be virtually non-existent too.
Hiring a giant website design firm that advertises websites for a few hundred dollars
These companies are really selling you a template, which they might just change the colours on. The site itself will look generic and not stand out amongst the crowd. How these firms make their money is by upselling extras like additional pages, email accounts, contact forms and all the other stuff. By the end you’ll probably be paying well over $1,000.
Don’t just think of saving money on the immediate up front cost. Think of the long-term impact to your business by having an unprofessional website.
Paying Too Much
Here is a little insight into website design. There are no secrets or advanced programming for the “design” of a website. Whether you pay $500 or $500,000 for a site, as far as the design or look is concerned, CSS and HTML covers it. Paying an extra $10,000 for your website will not change the fact that you will still be getting a page marked up with HTML and styled using CSS. Do not be fooled by a fancy high-end design firm on this point.
Twitter.com is an example that further illustrates this point. This site looks the way it does because of HTML & CSS. Functionality, is a whole different topic not covered in this article. However, it needs to be clear that the more functional your website is, the more it may cost to create. That said, do not make the mistake of paying too much for your website and do not let website jargon intimidate you into thinking the designer is a God!
Hiring a Designer
Website designers or graphic designers, are essentially artists by nature. This means that their main focus with how things look and whether something is “beautiful”. This is OK, but most designers do not really understand the purpose of a website. HINT: It’s not just to be pretty. The purpose of a website is to promote or sell a service or product. A visitor should be provoked to contact you then or shortly after, give you money. The issue with working with someone who concentrates too much on design is that they lose sight of this.
I am not suggesting that you use an ugly website. Having a beautiful, elegant looking site is important. However, it is also important to remember that you can’t deposit beauty into a bank account at the end of the month. You know that you have visited a great website when you think to yourself, Wow! I need to get that product or service.
Not Using a CMS
A Content Management System (CMS) is a product that allows you to manage and update your website easily. Historically, the only way to update a website was by manually editing the code for each page. A CMS gives you the power to change the content of your site, add images, or even add pages, without needing a website developer. Without a CMS you are reliant on a website developer whenever you need to update or change your site. This can be expensive as well as inconvenient, especially if you need to make a small change quickly. Make sure your designer uses a common CMS like, WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.
Getting Caught by Hidden Fees
Several website designers will suck you in with a reasonable rate, only to shock you with a plethora of add-ons and fees. Being clear about what your needs are will help avoid this issue when hiring a website designer. I strongly suggest you have a written contract drawn up that includes the scope of work and a final price.
A couple of things to look out for are website designers who do not offer a money-back guarantee or do not have many reviews. A written money back guarantee indicates that the designer is serious and is not in the business of ripping people off. Having many quality reviews that include links to the reviewer’s website is evidence that the designer is genuinely doing good work. Do not be scared to contact some of the website designer’s past clients to confirm how they really felt about their experience.
Lack of Experience with SEO and Social Media
What is the point of having a great website if nobody goes to it? The best two sources of visitors to your site are through people you know (Social Media) and via high search results (SEO). It is paramount to work with a website designer who has a deep understanding of SEO and Social Media concepts and includes both strategies into your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be quite complex to implement and maintain. SEO can be the difference between high web traffic or no visitors, given that it directly impacts how high your website appears in search results. All search engines have their own SEO rules which constantly change, hence the need to find a website designer who is well versed in the topic.
It is imperative that your website includes links to Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The most effective use of these sites is as a method to communicate with your target audience. An example of effective use of Social Media would involve posts to all three services when a change is made to your website, especially if a new product or service is being launched. It is also important to respond to any feedback generated from these Social Media related posts.
Your website is more than just an advert on the internet. You should consider it as an extension or another instance of you or your company. A poorly designed website will reflect poorly across the board. Remember, more people hear about bad experiences than good experiences.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]