In today’s society, a buyer’s journey, in most cases, will be largely online. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, looks dated, or just doesn’t work, consumers won’t spend another second on your site. Therefore it’s important to have a website that does what is required of it and works hard for your brand. Here we share what you need to take into consideration when figuring out how to choose a web design company.
What characteristics define a reliable web design company?
When considering designing your new website, you will obviously be on the hunt for one of the best website design companies in the industry to gain some assurance that the website itself will be good. So what characteristics should you look for when deciding on a reliable web design company?
Take a look at the company’s past work examples. You’ll be able to gauge the quality of the work they’ll produce for you by the work already done for other clients. Check for any glitches, make sure it’s mobile compatible, how fast the pages load, how easy it is to navigate etc. If you’re unable to find the portfolio or past examples through the website or a Google search, just ask! If they have a good portfolio they’ll be proud to share it with you to tempt you into becoming a customer with them.
Awards and reviews
Whilst it’s by no means essential for a web design company to have won an award, we’d be lying if we said it didn’t help. It’s impressive! Awards are given to companies who’ve demonstrated both creativity and innovation as well as successes. Keep an eye out for any awards the web design company you’re considering has won and how recently they won as this can be a fantastic indicator of the quality of work they produce. The same goes for reviews. A company with amazing reviews will be the company you want to go for, as you only want the best for your business.
Unfortunately, you can’t just build your website and leave it at that. A website requires regular maintenance work and optimisation services to keep it running in peak condition. This is why it’s important to pick a reliable web design company that offers after-care services. If they don’t, it’ll usually mean that once your website has been built and gone live, you’re on your own. When you’re a busy business owner, this is less than ideal.
5 Elements of effective web design
Once you know what makes an effective website, life gets a bit easier. If your website is lacking in any of the following areas, it may be time for a redesign or totally new website. So, what makes a company a top website design company?
Looks matter. A visually appealing website is more likely to attract people and keep them there. So an attractive colour scheme and layout should be key to your web design plan. Your colour scheme needs to reflect your brand. What colours do you use in your logo? Start there. Your layout shouldn’t be over complicated, as you don’t want to overwhelm or confuse a visitor to your website. Finally, the overall aesthetic should show your customers your brand’s identity and come across as a professional and credible company. You want to come across as fresh and up to date with trends, not dated and out of the loop.
Your website’s content must, first and foremost, be relevant to your business. If you are a cleaning business but have a landing page dedicated to high street fashion, even if your high street fashion content is well written, it won’t assist your website in terms of organic SEO! So ensure every piece of content on your website is relevant to the service or product you offer in order to get the most out of your website. When the content is written, ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors as this comes off as unprofessional. Also write in a consistent tone of voice. What style you decide on is up to you. Whether you choose casual or authoritative, it needs to be consistent and the right choice to reflect your brand identity.
You want to encourage people to buy from you. If they’ve had zero interaction with you or your website before, why would they? Your website must be engaging and keep people interested so grab people’s attention with calls to action and interesting content.
When your website is working well, usability tends to be an element that goes unnoticed. However, if it doesn’t work well, you need to know about it. Usability is the bare minimum to expect out of a website. The user must be able to access any page listed on the website, have the pages load quickly, and know where they are at all times. The website itself should be intuitive, user friendly, mobile compatible, and easy to access and navigate. If it isn’t, users will leave your website and go to a competitor’s one instead.
You could have the most gorgeous, easy-to-use website, but if no one can find it, there’s no point having it! This is where SEO, amongst other elements such as social media, comes into play and is pretty much essential to ecommerce businesses. By understanding your target audience, buyer personas, platforms to target and, most importantly, how to be found, you can understand how to be visible on search engines. Decide on relevant keywords, topics to cover in your content and who you will want to target, before getting started on building your website. Click here for more visibility tips.
15 things to think about before hiring a web design company
- Expertise: The ideal is to deal with people who are experts in their area. This gives you total confidence that you will hand them the work and it’ll be done to a high quality. Even better if they have a diversified profile demonstrating expertise in multiple areas.
- Open to ideas: The last thing you want when working with an external company is for them to not listen to your ideas. It’s your business so who knows it better? Even if the web design company has some great ideas, yours may be better for your specific requirements. So a web design company that listens to your needs and can incorporate them will be a great company to work with.
- Not a ‘yes man’: Although you want a company to be open to applying your ideas, it doesn’t mean they must say yes to all of them. Sometimes, they will know what will work and what will not because they’ve seen it before. Having a company that says yes to everything just to keep you happy is not an effective way of growing and developing your website – sometimes you need some push back from specialists with experience.
- Layout/colour scheme: How do you want your website to look? Do you have a specific colour scheme you want them to work with?
- User experience: Providing too much content for a website may cause the overall site to slow down. You will also want to consider how someone will browse through your site, does it flow well?
- Regular maintenance: Will you be happy to do this yourself or will you need this taken care of? If so, does the company building your website offer this service?
- The process: Is it clear and easy for you to understand? How involved will you be required to be?
- Price/budget: How much will you be willing to spend on a new website? Does the price fit with the budget?
- Time span: How long will it take to build the website? How long before it’s published?
- Mobile compatibility: Will the site be mobile compatible? You ideally will need it to be.
- CMS (content management system): How much does the company know about your CMS? What system do they use?
- Meet the team: Having a good rapport with the person or team who are building your website will put both your and their mind at ease by establishing a connection and trust.
- Look at examples you like: By doing this you can pick out specific elements that you would like to include in your own site. You don’t have to completely copy the example but it’s good to have some specific ideas you like.
- Look at examples you don’t like: It’s also important to work out which characteristics you’d like to avoid being used on your website. By having a set ‘don’t do’ list you can avoid disappointment down the line and the web designer won’t feel they’ve wasted time or money.
- Professional imagery: Google much prefers unique, professional imagery to stock images, so consider taking some of your own images or hire a professional to do a shoot.
If you’re looking for an award-winning web design agency in Hertfordshire, get in touch with Cariad Marketing today!