Once you have determined if this is a company you would consider hiring, you now need to find out if you can afford them. Depending on the size and complexity of the website you want, the price can range dramatically. A well built, mobile friendly website can cost anywhere from a couple thousand dollars, to tens of thousands. Again, all depending on required functionality and size. It is always wise to get a few estimates. Most website companies will usually offer you a free quote to complete the work.
The Deal Breaker!
Here is one final, valuable tool I would use in determining who your going to hire. Validate the code on your prospects own website and see if you get any markup errors. I use W3C as they seem to be the industry standard for valid markup. If you are unfamiliar with them, W3C stands for The World Wide Web Consortium and is the main international standard organization for the World Wide Web (www). You can read more about them on Wikipedia. A professional web company offering website design or development services should pass this with zero errors and minimal warnings. If they can't even pass this most basic test, they are either lazy, or stupid and you probably don't want them working on your site. While I will admit that in some RARE cases there are reasons that certain elements will fail the test, but there is generally no excuse for markup errors. We will get to why this is important later, but i highly doubt you will build a website yourself without markup errors, no matter what platform or service you use. Just one more reason to hire a professional.
Now that you have an idea of who you can use for your web project and a rough idea of how much it will cost you. Now you need to determine who has the best cost-to-value proposition.
What do I get for my money?
You hire a web designer because they are going to create you something beautiful and unique. They are going to determine your target audience and incorporate ways to attract and entice them into a positive reaction on your site. This encompasses everything from button placement, to proper Calls-to-Action, to imagery, to ease of navigation, to incorporating your branding into the sites theme. All giving the viewer the resources and assurance that they should take action with confidence. The other huge benefit to hiring a good web designer is that you get something unique. Your branding and overall image is now something that can stand out to new visitors and isn't like 1000 other sites out there that use the same template.
You hire a web developer because they are going to make sure that the site functions the way the designer intended. They build the framework for the website using code that is clean and serves up content as quickly and efficiently as possible for better user experience. They make sure that links, animations, images, forms, and plugins all work properly without error. A professional web developer should always double check their work, ensuring very few or no markup errors exist. This minimizes the chances that the website will render unintended results across different browsers. It also tells you something about the developers work ethic and attention to detail.
What you should also get by hiring a professional to build your website, is a working knowledge on how to leverage SEO properly and effectively. SEO requires a lot of research surrounding your target audience and your competitors. Since most businesses usually have competition, its important that your website takes advantage of every opportunity to capture that markets interest. While SEO is really a separate job by itself and requires ongoing attention to be competitive, it is also extremely important that your website is built to optimize as many SEO benefits as possible. This includes everything from proper page titles, meta descriptions, headings, image alt tags, schema markup, proper redirection of broken or missing links, and the biggest factor CONTENT. Completing these properly at site launch esures that your site is built for success right out of the gate.
If your prospected web company can cover these 3 things well, your site is going to have a good chance of being a success. You can feel confident that your new site has been built to optimize most of the chances it will need to:
- Be Found Easily By Your Audience
- Appeal to and Capture Visitors When They Do Visit Your Site
- Function Properly Across Desktop, Laptop, and Mobile Devices
How Do I Justify The Cost?
Since we have covered some of the high level things that a professional web designer or developer bring to the table, now you need to know if the benefits outweigh the costs. For many small businesses, even the cost of a simple website can be a huge financial hurdle. So how do you determine if you're getting a positive return on your investment?
When a potential client comes to me and says, "I want a new website", my first question to them is "Why?". Most people assume that just by having a website they are going to get more business, but in most cases this isn't true. Sure you should probably have a website if you operate any type of business, but it's important to keep in mind that your website is an extension of you business. Think of it as your digital storefront. Whether you're actually selling anything directly on your website is irrelevant, but what is relevant is the impression your visitor gets from their visit. What kind of impression do you want to leave on a customer that enters your physical store? That impression is even more important for your website, as this will most likely be where they go first, before ever physically setting foot in your business. Your website needs to not only portray your service offerings effectively, but your professionalism as well. If your website is outdated, has broken links, and doesn't let the user know clearly and easily what it is that you offer, how likely do you think it is that they will want to do business with you? My guess is they are going to continue to look elsewhere.
Understanding why you think you need a new website can help open a lot of doors for new opportunity. It could also help save you money! Maybe the reasons you thought you needed a new site were irrelevant, and your money could be better spent focusing on improving your existing site and still be effective. New websites are nice, but they aren't always the answer.
So how does the cost of having a website built by a professional give me a positive ROI? Simply put, its going to generate you more business than you would get from building one on your own, and here's why.
A professionally built website will:
- Properly represent what you want the world to see
- Be unique from any pre-made template
- Save you time to focus on running your business
- Keep you ahead of the competition
- Greatly increase your chances of ranking higher in search engines
- Gain more of your targeted audience and lead to more positive website interaction
Get a free consultation today, and start maximizing your websites potential!