As part of a successful marketing plan, most businesses will include creating a website to function as a storefront for products and services, and providing a platform for conveying a brand’s message and story.
Many smaller businesses decide against getting a website often due to the cost, although more affordable options of web design are available. If you are marketing your business then getting a website should be one of your highest priorities, as the benefits are wide-ranging and crucial to driving sales to your business, these include:
- Attracting more customers. Nowadays most shopping and nearly all product and service research is done online, so if you want potential customers to find your business then you must have a website.
- Better customer engagement. Not only do websites tell your target audience about your products, services, and story, it also gives customers a chance to engage with you by commenting on posts, leaving reviews, using a live chat function or sharing a web page.
- Improving credibility and reputation. A website is vital to customers trusting a business as it demonstrates the company is real and what it is about.
There is website building software on the market that business owners and managers can use to create their own website however it is time-consuming and problems are common, therefore most businesses hire a web developer to build a website for them.
If your business needs to hire a web developer, this list of need-to-know tips about web designers and how they work should be of help to you.
Decide the Purpose and Key Features of Your Website
The purpose of a website, whether that be a shop or a blog, will determine its content, features, functions, layout, and style. Most companies take advantage of the custom web design development services of a web developer to create a website that is specifically made for the needs of the business. However, rushing into web design can cause issues so it is best to spend some time on planning and research first which will help you to provide a web developer with the necessary information to successfully build a site that works for your business.
When researching the kinds of features you want on your website it is worth taking a look at existing websites for inspiration to help you outline what you want your website to do.
The next step in planning your website is to make a vision board which can be done by a team in a virtual or physical meeting. Vision boards provide an opportunity to collect all the materials and content needed for the website including colors, images, graphics, logos, slogans, and taglines.
After making a vision board the next step is to write down a design wish list for the web designer to review and give feedback on. A design wish list could include:
- The number of pages
- Menu items and position
- Homepage style
- Social media buttons
- Shopping cart
- Payment system
In most cases, the more information and requirements you give to a web designer the more likely they are going to finish the project correctly and on time.
Understand Domains and Web Hosting
When setting up a website you will need to buy a domain name and web hosting to provide a place on a webserver to store all the information about your website which can then be accessed when a request for information is sent from a web browser.
The process of purchasing a domain and web hosting can often be organized by your web designer and included in the bill as a separate item to design fees. Otherwise, it is quite simple to get your domain name and web hosting yourself online. Usually, domains and web hosting need to be renewed once a year.
A good website will contain lots of interesting and relevant content that will have to be collected and stored before you hire a web designer to build your site. The content needed for a website includes the menu titles, business details, logos, images, blogs, videos, catalogs, graphics, terms and conditions, policies, slogans, and taglines.
Know Your Budget
The cost of web design can vary depending on the desired features, the number of pages, and the complexity of the website. To get a good idea of how much your website should cost to make, it is worth asking other businesses about how much they paid for their website. In your business’ marketing plan your website may already have been assigned a maximum budget, so you may want to shop around for different quotes and read reviews of web developers work on their websites and social media platforms.
What Are Their Credentials?
Any professional and qualified web designer will have their own website which should be a perfect example of their work to impress prospective clients. Their websites will also provide you with information about their background and experience in addition to a portfolio that showcases their web design for previous clients.
Establish the Design Process
Most likely you are already using software such as Google Drive to manage and share your marketing materials such as graphics, logos, and photos. When working with a web designer, setting up shared folders is a good idea so the designer can easily access all the components needed to build your website.
The web designer should work with the business to create a design plan that includes listing all the requirements and gathering all the materials including the copywriting and images for each page.
At the beginning of the process, the web designer and client should decide on how they will communicate and the stages at which reviews will take place and edits occur if necessary. A timeline for completion of the site should also be agreed upon and what can be done to limit potential delays.
Make an Agreement and Contract
To ensure both you and your web designer are on the same page in terms of expectations there should be a service agreement and contract signed by both parties. The contract should be drafted together so that both parties understand and agree to all the clauses relating to the cost, communication, and timeline for delivery.
Hiring a web developer is often a natural step in a marketing plan for businesses seeking more brand awareness, credibility, and sales, however, the tips above should be considered before starting to build a website for your business.