Are you the owner of a small or medium-size business that has a website – but it’s not working effectively – and you are now looking for a website designer to give it a facelift. If this describes you, keep reading!
The reality is, choosing a web designer is a minefield. It’s very easy to waste money on a site that doesn’t work to grow your business. On one hand, you have several big web companies with well-known brands, who do a lot of advertising.
Even Yellow Pages are now offering web design for very low prices, and there are several other agencies offering websites, with prices starting under $1000. It’s highly tempting if you’re on a tight budget – or even you are not – because no one wants to spend more than they have to on a website.
On the other hand, there are many freelance website designers all competing for work in their local markets. It means that increasingly, web design is becoming a commodity. If you search on Google for a website designer, there are several pages of results, even if you narrow it down to a local market such as Christchurch.
So, how do you find the right one?
Here are 3 practical tips that I believe can help you to find the right website designer.
1. Be very clear about what you want your website to achieve.
I want to stress this at the outset because many businesses still think they need to have a “web presence” – but beyond that they haven’t really given much thought to the reason WHY.
The result is, you end up with a website that looks OK and functions technically well, but is pretty much useless in terms of selling your products or services.
Virtually every day as I work in the web industry, I see websites like this, which are dismal failures. What I mean is, they are failing to generate new enquiries, leads and sales – and in most cases, the business owners really don’t know where to turn to find a solution.
It’s demoralising when you spend thousands of dollars on a website and then see it sitting in cyberspace with hardly anybody visiting. And even if people do visit, they’re not turning into customers.
2. Look for a website designer (or web company) who appears to have a marketing brain.
The easiest way is to look at the web company’s own website. Look particularly at the WORDS on the site. How well is it written? Is there anything that stands out and immediately positions that web designer as different from all the others? Look for signs of personality, rather than “me too” sameness, which is typical of small business websites.
Also, be wary if the web designer’s own site has too many cool effects, moving parts etc. These might look impressive but can actually become rather annoying and are not effective when it comes to selling.
A web designer with a marketing brain is actually quite rare. Most are talented at design, or coding HTML/CSS, and other techie stuff – but they don’t know how to write compelling sales copy, or lay out the elements on a web page so they work effectively to convert visitors into customers.
3. Can the website designer communicate clearly in plain, simple language?
This is important for you, as an ordinary business owner, because a lot people in the web industry like to talk in jargon and “geek speak”. Based on feedback I’ve had from my clients, this is one of the difficulties they face most often when working with web design companies. They talk over the head of the ordinary person.
For example, recently I was in the office of a small business and noticed a proposal on the owner’s desk from another web agency. I commented on it. The business owner told me the reason they had not accepted that proposal was simply that they couldn’t understand it! Too much jargon and terminology.
If you can find a web designer who communicates in plain language, which you can easily understand, that’s a rare thing and a big plus.
And a bonus tip
If at all possible, you should try to grasp some of the fundamental principles of web marketing yourself. This is becoming essential – so you don’t get the wool pulled over your eyes by web companies eager to sell you their services – whether you really need them or not.
That’s why I am now offering a free copy of my handbook “How to Get More Customers From Your Website” (for a limited time).
This ebook contains the essential information you need to know, to ensure you make the best possible decisions when engaging a website designer and/or a web company to help market your business online.
You’ll see at the end of the handbook there is also an offer of a free one-hour consultation. Actually, that was part of the package when I was selling the handbook in printed form. I’m no longer able to give a full hour’s consultation for free. But I am offering you a 20-minute consultation by phone, free of charge, as a bonus for downloading the handbook.
If you would like to take up this offer, just CLICK HERE to get the handbook.