In today's market having a website is the first step to successful business. Website design professionals help you build this essential tool where your customers go and browse your products and services. More than a simple display of your company's brand, this is a cost effective addition to your marketing department that generates revenue and recognition.
There are pitifully few entry barriers these days to the “Website designer” trade. Print designers, graphic artists or anyone with a whiff of creativity and basic coding skills can advertise their services online and with decent SEO skills and a bit of luck, land plenty of Web design work.
But if you need a user-friendly site that accurately reflects your business and converts browsers into buyers, then you need a professional Website designer. Online success requires you to satisfy both human readers and robotic search engines; your site must read well, rank well and convert well. Otherwise it’s just window dressing.
Website design basics: Choosing your CMS
Whatever site you end up with, it will need a Content Management System (CMS), a software program that allows you to create, publish, modify and manage your site’s content. The vast majority of Websites use one of the following open-source CMS programs:
- WordPress: flexible, intuitive and supported by a community of thousands, WordPress requires little or no technical expertise to operate.
- Joomla: more complex than WordPress but still relatively user-friendly, Joomla is designed as a community platform and offers strong social networking features.
- Drupal: for sites requiring a high level of customisation and more complex content organization, Drupal requires a relatively high level of technical expertise.
Template-based or custom design?
Website designers will offer either a template-based or bespoke (custom) design to create your site. Using a template-based design is probably best for companies looking for a site that’s inexpensive and ready in a hurry. You can even find free templates online if you’re really in a rush and have basic design skills.
A custom-designed Website will be more expensive but also more professional and more original. As the term implies, you will have a major influence on your site because the customization will be based on your specifications, which you will work out with your designer at the beginning of the project. You can propose as many customisations as you can think of, and your designer will advise on their feasibility. Or you can propose nothing and a good designer will propose a variety of options.
Tips for comparing offers
As is true with most business services, the best way to evaluate potential Website design suppliers is to compare their offers. You can begin with the form at the top of this page; just tell us what you need and you will receive multiple quotes from qualified suppliers within 48 hours.
When evaluating quotes from professional Website designers, consider the following:
- Do you like the looks and navigation of their own Website? If not, move on. There are plenty of other agencies and designers and if you’re not excited by the work they do for themselves, you will probably not be satisfied with the work they do for you.
- Do they ask you a lot of questions? If they don’t take the time to get to know your business, how can they create a Website that properly reflects it?
- Look at their client references and pay special attention to sites they’ve done for businesses in your industry.
- Try to talk with some of their clients if possible. Are they satisfied with their Website? Did the project go smoothly? Did the designer stay under budget?
- Do they handle all steps in-house (layout, page navigation, graphic design, coding) or do they outsource some of the process?
- Do they have online marketing expertise? Remember, the goal of your site is to generate sales.
- Do they retain ownership of the site’s domain name (which they registered on your behalf)?
- What post-development support is available? At what cost?
Don’t hesitate to ask for a detailed description of the design process, as well as a written cost estimate.Start your request for quotes in Web development