As a business owner, you understand that your business’s website is more than just a pretty sight to be admired by your customers. Your web presence is the face of your company. It communicates everything from your company culture to your product or service offerings and benefits. A website helps convert visitors into leads, which might lead to sales down the road. And because it’s digital, improving and adding to it is much easier than, say, repainting the exterior of your office building or adopting a new logo design.
Web design for small businesses Still, even with all those advantages in mind—and perhaps because there are so many options when it comes to choosing a web designer—business owners often put off commission that site or sometimes never take that step at all.
If you’re in the latter category, consider this your wake-up call to take action on hiring a web designer before it’s too late. Here are 10 things you should do before hiring—or working with—a web designer for your business:
1. Define what success will look like
“There is no point having a website if nobody knows about it.” It almost goes without saying that you need to start by determining why you’re investing in a website redesign or build right now, and what your expectations are for your site’s performance. If you haven’t done that already (we know many of our clients haven’t), now is the time. “The worst thing people can do is open up shop and start telling everyone what they’re doing, and then never measure how it’s going,” says Julie Spira, a marketing and technology expert and the founder of CyberPR.
2. Determine your budget
What is your goal for this website? Are you selling products or services? How many visitors do you need to see each month to make your business profitable? What is the average order size that those visitors generate? Do you plan on hiring an outside firm or freelancer, or will internal personnel complete the project? Knowing these key details about what drives ROI from your site helps you pinpoint the price range for building out its design and features. “Most businesses don’t know their website value until they’ve done some analysis,” says Tina Stewart, CEO of Be Found Online, a digital marketing agency in Vancouver, Wash.
3. Lay the groundwork for any changes
If you’re planning on making major changes to your website—or if it’s simply outdated—you want to make sure you do plenty of prep work before bringing in a designer or developer. “You need to have all content created or edited,” says Spira. You might consider recruiting an internal employee who has good writing skills to handle this task, she adds. If newsletter signups are important for driving traffic and sales from your site, you’ll also need to create that list ahead of time. And don’t forget about the photos! This is where stock-image sites come into play.
4. Do your research
Not all web designers are created equal. The best ones are those who take the time to learn about your business, your customers, and your competition. They should also be up-to-date on current design trends and be able to offer suggestions for how you can improve your website. “A good web designer will also have a solid understanding of user experience (UX) and how to make a website easy to use,” says Spira.
5. Create a wish list
Once you know what you want, it’s important to communicate that information clearly to your designer—or any development team you might be working with. This helps avoid any misunderstandings further down the line. “Come armed with as much information as you can,” advises Spira. “Have a vision for what it is that you want.”
A talented web designer will be able to offer suggestions and ideas based on their expertise, so don’t be afraid to have an open dialogue about what’s possible with your budget and timeline. Don’t forget to also ask your candidate about previous projects they’ve completed that are similar in scope or design. You can learn a lot just by seeing examples of their work.
6. Get expert feedback
Whether you’re working with an external developer or have your own internal team, this person should provide regular updates before moving ahead with the project—and once again after building out any wireframes or prototypes. “Ideally, show these updates to other stakeholders in your company, such as people in sales or customer service,” suggests Stewart. “They may have some great ideas that you didn’t think of.”
7. Create a style guide
Once the design is finalized, it’s important to have a document in place that outlines all the specific fonts, colors, and other design elements used on the website. This helps ensure a consistent look and feel across all pages—and makes it easier for new team members to jump in and help with updates down the line. “A style guide can also be helpful for designers who might want to create additional marketing materials for you down the road,” adds Stewart.
8. Set up tracking
Even if you’re not selling anything directly from your website, it’s still important to track website visits and other key metrics. This data can help you determine whether your redesign efforts are paying off—or if you need to make some adjustments. “You should set up tracking for goals such as ‘contact us’ forms, newsletter signups, or product purchases,” suggests Stewart. “This way you can see how effective your website is at achieving these goals.”
9. Create a content plan
One of the biggest challenges with any website redesign is ensuring that all the new pages are properly populated with valuable content. This can take time and effort, but it’s well worth it in the end. “Your site won’t be successful if it’s not regularly updated with fresh, relevant content,” says Spira.
10. Don’t forget the launch!
Once the website is completed, it’s important to do a proper launch—complete with a press release, email marketing campaign, and social media outreach. This helps ensure that your new site gets off to a strong start and attracts as many visitors as possible. “A good launch will result in more traffic, leads, and sales,” concludes Spira.
Hiring a web designer can be a daunting task. But by following these 10 tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect person for the job. If you are looking to hire web development companies California, then you must visit Companies List, its is a listing platform, that helps you find companies based upon real clients ratings and reviews, according to your service requirements.