Today, the chances are high that your website will provide most people with their first impression of your business. Most shoppers check online before buying a product or service, and if your website is underwhelming it will reflect poorly on the rest of your business. Your website is a representation of your brand, and its presentation and functionality will prove crucial during a critical stage of a customer’s purchase journey. So, if your sales figures aren’t where you hoped (especially if your goods carry a high price point) it could be time to redesign your website. A company’s website is a platform for telling its story to potential and existing customers. It is an extension of your brand that can be viewed by users from around the world. A professional web design company that offers website design services creates a website that will make your brand more accessible on the internet.
Why is Web Design Important?
If your digital marketing strategy was an Oscar-winning movie, your website would be the leading actor. And, unlike social media, it’s the one piece of the internet that you have complete control over. If someone’s followed a link to your website from a post on social or through affiliate marketing, the ball is now firmly in your court over how you respond to this attention. The fact is that once someone’s on your site, the chances of them making a sale have already increased.
Websites aren’t just marketing platforms, however. They also have to meet the needs of the visiting user, such as offering them contact information and letting them fluidly navigate your inventory. A website that’s both attractive and intuitive to use helps put prospective customers at ease and will passively generate confidence in your brand. To make all this happen, though, you need a web designer.
Understanding Your Design Needs
Before you begin looking for web designers, you need to consider the specifics of the work you’ll need them to perform and decide on an overall vision for your site. Chief amongst these concerns will be:
- What purpose do you want your site to serve? What will be the focus of your website, and how will that be affected by the nature of your business? Are you selling products, services, or subscriptions? Focusing on the purpose of your website will help make it more impactful to visitors.
- How do you want visitors to behave? You may want your site to function mainly as a point of sale, but perhaps you also want to encourage visitors to sign up to mailing lists or answer surveys for marketing purposes.
- Who will be visiting your site? Are you selling luxury goods to individual consumers, or bulk orders to other companies? Thinking about the products you’re selling within your niche should inform the look and feel of your website.
- What elements will you want on the page? Consider the different types of media and functionality you want on your site. This could include payment systems, interactive infographics, videos, booking systems, and chatbots.
- How large do you want the site to be? You should have a rough idea of how many pages you want your site to contain, and how the site should be structured. You also need to come up with a budget for the web design work and decide on how flexible this amount will be.
- Are you inspired by other websites? Obviously, neither you nor a designer will be interested in completely copying another site, but having a variety of other sites you like for whatever reason could provide prospective designers with useful points of reference.
When you’ve come up with answers that you feel satisfy these questions, you can now begin looking for web designers.
Finding a Web Designer
Once you’ve put together the brief for the website you desire, it’s time to look for an Orange County web designer. A simple internet search should reveal web design agencies that you can commission for your redesign. Or, if you want to hire a freelancer or recruit an in-house designer, a useful online tool like SignalHire.com will let you search for local designers by skills and experience. Such a tool, along with many other email finders, will also provide you with the contact details to engage their services directly. Whether choosing an agency, freelancer or hiring in-house, the same broad considerations will come into play. Some things to weigh up when considering a potential candidate might include:
The Designer’s Website
We’re more likely to eat at a restaurant if there are delicious smells wafting out of the door. Similarly, a good place to start when considering a web designer or design agency is how their own site looks. Any good web designer will have put the utmost care into their website, and it should show off the best of their capabilities. The look and feel of their site will also give you some idea of their design strengths and preferences, and whether they align with your vision for your own website. Obviously, if a designer’s website is slow, ugly or confusing, look elsewhere immediately.
The Designer’s Portfolio
An established web designer should have a portfolio ready and waiting to show the work they’ve done on other commissions in the past. Click on the links and take some time to explore the other sites they’ve worked on:
- Do they communicate the value of the business?
- Are they easy to navigate?
- What features have they included?
- Are the sites optimized for mobile?
If a designer’s work ticks these boxes, then they should be going on your shortlist.
So, you’ve got a shortlist of web design candidates. They have proven experience producing work that you feel is of a style and standard you would like to see on your own site. Now it’s time to appraise more technical considerations, such as whether they have the technical skill to program user-friendly and responsive sites. Consider whether they’re confident in meeting these challenges:
- Speed: In an age of superfast broadband and 5G, there are no more excuses for slow websites. Sometimes a slowly loading website is enough to make customers look elsewhere straightaway. Loading speeds also influence how Google will rank your site in search results, and badly programmed websites with excessive on-page elements that load slowly will be punished accordingly.
- Responsive website design: The majority of internet browsing is now conducted through phones, tablets, and other smart devices, rather than desktop computers. Your web designer needs to be able to properly optimize your site so that it navigates fluidly no matter what a person’s browsing from (also known as responsive web design). You can check if pages are properly designed by clicking on a corner of the browser window and dragging it back and forth to change the dimensions. If the page elements are still clear and well-formatted at different sizes, the site is actually responsive.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO still remains your best chance of developing audiences online. A web design agency should be offering SEO service in addition to programming your site’s architecture. If you’re hiring a freelance web designer, then they may not have professional expertise with SEO, in which case you need to contract an additional SEO professional. Good SEO will allow people to find you on Google by matching your site with their specific needs, while still making for a readable copy that’s not crammed with keywords.
The Bottom Line
Redesigning a website is a sustained process that requires time, money, and expertise. But it’s also one of the most significant marketing investments you can make for your brand. Don’t rush the process, and be clear with your candidates about realizing your vision and the standard of work you expect. While the process may seem costly, a great website will passively generate income through improved marketing for your company, and, ultimately, could make or break your company’s success.