Shopping around for website design services is a commonplace activity for many small business owners and employees these days, and the available options have never been more expansive, and more confusing. There are dozens of low-cost or free website builders, there are push-button solutions that offer pre-built templates, not to mention solutions such as static site generators, WordPress, WebFlow, Drupal, and many other competing platforms. Wading through these options can be daunting and time-consuming, which drives many folks to seek out professional website design services to get the job done. Unless you have some technical expertise and loads of time on your hands, this is hands-down the best option for you and your business, so let’s take a look at some important things to consider when looking for website design services.
Lead by listening, follow with ideas
A website design services company should listen to you. They should take the time to get to know your business, what your business needs are, and the goals you want to achieve after you have a new website up and running. A good website design team, or freelancer, will then take all of that “discovery” information and use it to create a holistic solution for your business which addresses any specific needs you communicated to them during your initial meetings. They should then take it a step further by enhancing your initial ideas and filling in the gaps to create a comprehensive solution that places the website at the core of other business-critical marketing activities. Need a website, but already have a robust audience on social media? Your chosen website design team should present creative ways to integrate your favorite social media channels on your website, and align the website’s user experience with those channels so your customers feel at home on whatever platform they engage your business on. Have company-specific data you’d like to present on your website but not sure how to do it? Your chosen website design team should have the chops to design and implement a solution that makes your business shine. In a nutshell, the individual or team you choose to build your website should be prepared to meet your needs whatever they may be, and use their expertise to create a polished solution that delivers.
Marketing and SEO
It’s a given that whatever website design services company you go with should provide you with a beautiful, user-friendly website. But there’s little point in dishing out the cash to make that happen if no one can find the website to begin with. That’s why any design and development plan you get from your web designer should also cover all aspects of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and offer a complete content marketing strategy including blog content generation, social media management, and email campaign authoring tailored specifically for your business. These are all aspects of a robust website-based marketing strategy that require a lot of knowledge, planning, and continuous time and effort — unfortunately, they’re also often overlooked, or treated as separate entities and not included in the initial plan. While a website design services company isn’t going to tack on a detailed SEO and marketing strategy for free, an outline of what those efforts would entail, as well as how they would integrate with the new website, should be included and discussed during the website planning phase. Ultimately, a website isn’t just something that sits around and looks pretty. It’s the foundation that all digital marketing efforts rest on. Finding a website design company that has experience integrating today’s most popular marketing tools with your website is critical.
Giving you the keys to your website
Implementing a custom-built website for your business can be a long, somewhat expensive process. When the project is complete, and your website is live, you should be fully able to edit that website to your heart’s content. Here at Huckleberry Branding, we believe that a client who has little to no experience with the technical side of building websites should still be able to swap out images or video, change text content, publish their own blog posts, and even make changes to forms and other more complex things on their website without having to know how to code. Gone are the days when you had to call an expensive developer just to make simple changes. A good website design services company will build your website and make the process of editing easy for a non-technical person. At Huckleberry Branding, we even take it a step further — we offer guided instruction on how to design and add additional pages to your website, not just how to make small changes, which can add up to huge time and cost savings for your business. We believe that, since you paid for it, the website is yours, and you should be fully empowered to control it to the extent you desire. Of course, many of our clients don’t want to deal with editing their website and are happy to kick those requests over to us!
Maintaining a relationship with your website design services provider
Finally, we’ll wrap up with a recommendation to look for a service provider that you want to build a long-term relationship with; a freelancer or a team of people who can give you the ongoing support you’ll need to keep your website running smoothly over the long term, and who can help guide your digital marketing efforts. Building and maintaining an audience on social media, an email list, or a blog, and making sure your website ranks well in search, doesn’t happen overnight. Even once you’re at the top of the mountain as far as those things go, you need to keep up those efforts so your business doesn’t drop off your customers’ radar, and isn’t ignored by search engines. It’s a marathon that has no end – so find some people who have a proven track record, and who you think you’ll enjoy working with, and get started.
Hopefully, the suggestions we provide here will help guide you in your search for website design services. The goal is to give you some things to look out for, and give you some areas of website design and marketing that you can use to create a list of questions to ask prospective service providers. If you’re looking for a new website for your business, are interested in learning more about SEO, or want to explore the world of digital marketing services, check out what we bring to the table. If you like what you see, drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you!