“You’re not a real business unless you have a website.”
Every business owner has heard this statement a hundred times. And for the most part, it’s true. In today’s world, an online presence is something to be expected with any well respected business. Customers want to research to companies they give their money to both in terms of quality of service or product and social approval. There’s no easier to way to research a company then by googling the company’s name and clicking through to their website, yelp, social media pages, etc.
Weighing Your Options
While many business owners understand the need for a website, they don’t quite know where to turn to build one. 10 years ago, you opened the yellow pages and called the local web designer. Being one of a few designers in town, he or she had probably already designed a local business’s site you were already familiar with which immediately established trust and you were on your way. For local web design services in Springfield, IL we suggest Unola Web Design. Today, with all the widely available and easy to use web development software, everyone and their dog is a web designer. Business’s are constantly receiving cold calls from design agencies outsourcing their work to 3rd world countries while charging 1st world prices. Business owners are also subject to the pervasive advertising of DIY web site services like WIX and Square Space. Where $5 a month, gets you a drag and drop site built from a template that 1,000’s of other businesses are using.
With so many options, business’s have to make a decision on why they need a website. Will the site serve as a only an online business card? A freelancer ($200-1500) or a DIY service ($5 -25 / month) would work in this instance. If you’d like a custom design that a DIY service can’t offer, then go with a freelancer. Or if you business is fairly blue collar and aesthetics largely aren’t going to make a difference in your conversion rate, then go with the DIY service. If you don’t find the DIY service to be as easy as advertised or not doesn’t offer the functionality you need, you haven’t wasted much money.
Making a Final Decision
The key is being honest with yourself as a business owner about what level of functionality and design skill your site will require. Something like a high end architecture studio would do well to pay a web designer that aligns with their company’s culture. The same could be said for a jewelry store who makes custom jewelry. Again, you should be asking yourself, will my website serve more or less as clout and contact information or will it be an integral part of my business. Depending on your industry, a well designed and optimized website can save a company thousands of dollars while helping convert leads into sales. If your average profit per customer is over $1000 and there are keywords with significant search volume for your business, then it would be wise to invest in a high end freelancer or design agency. Web designers (at least the good ones) love to show off their portfolio. Be sure to look through their client list for businesses you would consider successful. Don’t be afraid to call these businesses and ask about the designer. Remember, you only want to have to design your site once. But don’t be alarmed by the $2,500-$10,000 price tag some of the these freelancers or agencies are quoting. Sure, it may seem outrageous compared to the $5/month price of a Square Space site, but a quality designer understands you don’t just want a website. You are truly crafting a marketing funnel. Combined with solid SEO, a well optimized website will drive targeted leads to your business for years to come. Doesn’t that seem like a solid investment?
So what’s the best web designer for your business?
That depends on what your business is. But if you ask yourself the right questions, you’ll be in great shape to find something that both fits within your budget and gives your business the online presence it needs.