As a business owner, have you ever felt that something was missing with the way you’re doing business now? Have you ever felt that despite everything that you’ve done for your business, from the recent expansions to the addition of more people, there’s still a few things missing from your arsenal of making more sales or dominating your competitors? Perhaps that missing thing is a website.
Maybe you already have a website, complete with a domain name. you probably got a good web design quote from the top web design companies, and worked on by professional web designers. But all of these were done no more than 10 years ago, so a lot of things have changed. In fact, the modern website designs would probably make your website look and feel so old that it’s like looking a prehistoric fossil unearthed.
Considering how important websites are nowadays, business owners like you should know just valuable having a presence on the web can be for your business. this is due to the fact that almost 5 million people from all over the world are logged on to Google every 5 minutes looking for something. From kitchen recipes to a private home contractor to a law firm, there will always be someone looking for you. But without a web site, there will be no way for your customers to find you on the web.
Function and form – a good web design philosophy
But supposing that you chose to give your website an upgrade or to revamp it, from renewing the hosting plan to getting a new domain name to hiring new and stylish web designers, how is it possible for you as a business owner to know if you will be successful with a new website? The answer can be given in two words: FORM and FUNCTION. A website that looks good on paper but doesn’t even work is like having a nice Ferrari but with the engine of a sedan. If one exists without the other, it’s crippled. There’s no way for your website to be appealing or attractive to your customers on the web.
As a business owner, you should sit down with your chosen web designer or web designing firm to discuss how you want your website to look and work. It’s also important to identify how much money will be spent on web design, development, and launching, but we’ll get to that later on.
Choosing the web design companies or professionals
Like most services, web design should be nothing short of excellent quality. Web design services are quite pricey, and these services can go as high as $50,000 for a complete website design package. This is not even an exaggeration. If you’re able to get quotes for a customized web design, complete with e-commerce, SEO, and other web-related features, you’d probably get a price range that starts off at $10,000 and increases from there. It just boils down on how much you’re willing to spend for your website.
Let’s make a more concrete scenario. Supposing I am a business owner and I own a small construction company, what do I need to do to get more clients? I have a website that was built in the 1990s and pretty much every design philosophy used by web designers was non-existent. I have a terrible domain name that’s in no way related to my business’ name, as was the trend of most businesses in the 90s back then. What do I need to do to get a new website? Do I need to start from scratch or can I work on my existing website and just upgrade its looks and features?
The first thing that you need to do is to look for suitable web design companies, firms, or professionals. Don’t pick out one yet. Just gather what you can and from there, you can start narrowing down your options by following these steps:
- First list down everything you need for your new website. For this example, let’s say you want a new hosting, new domain name, new website look, and you want to make use of CMS or Content Management System so you can post content on it easily. You are also thinking about adding a shopping cart or ecommerce feature as well, so you list it down on the things you may need.
- Once you have everything listed down, talk to these companies to see how much they will charge you for the project and how long it will take them to complete it. List down the prices and time it takes for them to complete the project as they are part of the next step, which is comparison of web design quotes.
- The data that you gathered, like prices and completion date, are summarized into what we call a quote or estimate. This may not be final, but this is more of an idea of how much you will be spending. The final price could be higher or lower, but don’t assume anything just yet. Think of the quote as the final pricing so it won’t be difficult for you to make a budget for your web design project. The quotes you gathered will also serve as a benchmark for the price of your project. It will help you eliminate the option that’s overpriced. If web designers A B and C have the same price and web designer D is overpriced by a thousand dollars, you already know what to drop. But don’t let price dictate the decision just yet.
- The time it takes for you to complete the project can affect the price. Projects that are a bit pricey but are completed in a short period of time are normal, even for web designers. But SPEED is not equal to QUALITY. What if the web designers just wanted to give you a half-baked website in 3 weeks for an expensive price tag? I would say that the money spent on your website is not worth it.
It really boils down on how much you’re willing to spend on your website design project and how long you’re willing to wait. Remember that professional web design firms are loaded with other projects too, so there’s going to be some queue time with their designers. If they are going to charge you thousands of dollars for a completion time of a month, that’s a reasonable bargain. If not, you’re going to have to either look for someone else or learn to wait it out.
Going For Freelance
But there’s an alternative to hiring professional web designer firms and companies: freelancers. Freelance web designers are your possible alternative, but let’s discuss more of them before you make a decision. Freelancers are overlooked, be they web designers, software developers, or even graphic artists. The vast majority of professional web designers in the UK and in some countries are working as freelancers, meaning they are not affiliated with any web design company or firm, but their services are good enough to compete with them.
Freelancers are known to provide lower prices for their services because they are not affiliated with companies and that most of their income goes straight into their pockets. If you spend $10,000 on a web design project for a company, that will be accumulated by the company and divided into contributions for salaries. For freelancers, paying them $10,000 means that they won’t have anybody to share it with, unless they worked together with someone.
Most of the freelancers would tell you to avoid hiring professional web design firms because they tend to overcharge, to which there’s a certain hint of truth in this accusation. Apart from the price that you pay these freelance web designers, the time it takes for them to complete the project will vary. Some will take quite longer because they’re working on the project individually, so the design, coding, developing, and launching are done by one person.
How to look for the perfect freelance web designer
But how does one pick out the perfect freelance website designer or web site designers for the job? It’s practically like looking for a needle in a haystack. There’s a slight difference between finding a company and finding an individual website designer.
- First step is to ask around. Personal reference will always be the best way to gauge the service of a freelance web designer. If a freelance web designer is nothing but praises from a client, surely he or she must’ve done something right to have the client say good things about him. You also need to take note of the bad reviews too, like how freelance web design Joe is not so good at answering his phone calls or he delivers his reports late.
- The portfolio is your last resort if personal reference is not available. sometimes a web designer who does freelance work will post his or her works in a social media site intended for professionals like LinkedIn. This will give you an idea of how good they are and what they can do for your business.
- Get a free quote. Just like hiring companies, you need to compare quotes when it comes to hiring freelance web design services. Comparing the cost can be done over the phone or online, depending on how you got in contact with said freelance website design services provider.
- Ask for a completion date. take note that the time it takes may be longer compared to having it done by a professional web design company, so this may or may not be a total deal breaker. You should keep in mind the price that’s supposed to be indirectly relational to the completion time: ideally, more time spent should mean less money or more money spent means less time to complete.
Avoiding bad website designs – a checklist
But whether you got your website services from a professional web designer or a freelance website designer, how will you know that you got what you paid for? How do you know you are a victim of bad website design? Rather, how does any business owner know that he or she has been victimized by bad website design practices? For regular Internet users or tech-savvy individuals, it’s easy to pinpoint the qualities of a poorly designed website. How do we define a bad website design? And why are there a lot of bad we design techniques being used today?
- Broken buttons and bad links are immediate signs of bad practices. Why? Your website design companies or individuals did not bother doing any QA on your project. Even if they did, it wasn’t that thorough. A bad link or broken button is the equivalent of closing off one department in your business. heck, even college students will know just how frustrating it is to click on a broken link, so how do you think your customers will feel online if they click on a broken link? That’s going to be some bad rep on your business online.
- Slow loading times are the worst, and even with today’s Internet speed, a slow-loading website can be the death of your business online. There can be several factors as to why a website may load slower than usual. It can be attributed to hosting problems, to which you have no full control over, or it can be attributed by the fact that your business’ website is made up of huge JPEG files.
- Long scrolling will test your customers’ patience and this is considered as bad web design practice by professional web designers. Web designers should try to minimize scrolling down of a website, as this is a sign of a design flaw. There could be a problem with the font or content formatting, or the layout itself.
- Improper placement of images and ads are troublesome because they distort the overall design of your website. that and the fact that browsers will have trouble loading the layout, so what may look good on Chrome may not look as good in Firefox or Opera. Again, this is an example of bad web design practice.
These bad website design practices can set the entire project back for a long time because web site design is no joke. It’s no easy feat to backtrack to the codes and to fix everything, so you need to hire the right web designer who works with the best web design practices.
Benefits of Working with Experienced Web Designers
Would you settle for a novice plumber to take care of your plumbing problems? With all our good intentions, it’s honourable to help out the new businesses but let’s face it, we wouldn’t want to trust them with our problems just yet. The same thing can be applied to working with professional web designers. Is it cheaper to work with novice web designers as opposed to the more established ones? Normally, yes, but there’re a few reasons why professional and experienced web designers have a higher price tag when it comes to getting a website made.
One benefit of getting your website done by experienced designers is they already know what you want and what you need from them. Getting web site design quotes from them is as easy as talking to a pizza delivery guy. They will be able to recommend the features that you need without having to take a second look at your business. For example, they can recommend an ecommerce platform for businesses that plan to sell products online or they can recommend a simple landing page for those who’re only interested in getting their website known to people. They will also be able to help you pinpoint your other needs. In this case, a business owner who opted for a landing page can get a blog-type website instead so they can produce content on a daily basis.
Another benefit is that they will already have a system of sorts in developing your website, no matter how complicated it is. They will be able to deliver the project or projects in a timely manner without having to forego quality for quantity.
Of course, the drawback to getting work done by experienced web designers is the price. Their prices are relatively higher because you’re paying for their service and not the product itself. Some experienced web designers are certified or padded by a thick portfolio, so these factors can add to the value of their service. But don’t let price become a hindrance to get work done from experienced web designers. Remember, they can still guarantee quality and if you really want quality work, you need to shell out some money.
My website was first created in 1995, and I never had the chance to make it look good again. I got in touch with these guys, sat me down, and talked to me about what I needed to do. They were thorough and after pinpointing what needed to be done, they called up a few designers and the rest was history. I got a new website for a price that I couldn’t say no to, and the website was up and running in a month.