Choosing a website design company can really suck. There are so many factors to consider when deciding on who to use, including what type of website you are looking for, and how much money you want to spend. Don’t worry, we are here to help you with this process (yes, even if that means not choosing us).
What Type Of Web Design Company Are You Looking For?
There are two main types of website designers; those who use pre-made templates (i.e. websites that look the same as everyone else’s) and those who do custom designs from scratch.
A custom design is a unique, one-of-a-kind website that is designed from scratch. Custom designers put a lot of extra time and consideration into each site they create. The big thing here, is they take your brand into account, so they can help you target your unique client base. If you don’t understand why branding is important, then you may want to check out our previous article here.
Yes, custom designs can be more expensive. But in reality, you get what you pay for when it comes to website design. If you have the money to invest and want a higher ROI, then this is the route for you. And yes, this is our main offering.
A pre-made template website is just that; a template. They can be made to look different from other sites, but in essence, they will be very similar to others. This is a cheaper option, but your site may look like someone else’s. This option is a good choice if you are a small business with limited funds or possibly you just aren’t too worried about what potential clients see when they first visit your website.
If you have the resources and the money, choose a custom designer. If not, then don’t be too upset. It’s better to get something up and running (even if it looks similar to your competition) than to wait until you can afford a custom site.
Now that You’ve Decided on What Type of Company To Use…
Now, once you have decided on the type of company you want to use (custom or template), what do you need to do next? Well, you need to decide what type of website you want. Here are the most common types:
E-Commerce is a business model that allows a business to sell goods or services online. They can range in size, but generally, they are large sites with many products and the potential for return customers.
A business website is a site that has information about a business. They usually have a contact page, services they offer, and maybe even an about us section. While e-commerce sites are for selling products, a business website just gives information on the company itself.
These websites are used to promote individuals or businesses in a creative way. They have the potential to be very captivating but also can seem a bit self-serving without proper insight.
There are several other types of websites, including educational, media, etc. But we want to try to keep this article as brief as possible so we don’t bore you to death!
What To Look For When Searching For a Website Design Company?
Honestly, there are several things that you want to look for when shopping for a website design company.
While it can be very easy to get caught up in what they offer, the best place to start is their portfolio. Look at all of their websites that are listed. And don’t just look at the picture, but go into the website. Here are the important things to look for:
- When you land on the website, do you know what the business is about/offering? Or does it make you want to scroll down? If you said no to both of these for many of their portfolio sites, then you may want to move along. A website is only as good as its ability to convert a customer, and it’s likely that this type of site is not getting any return on investment.
- Is there at least one call-to-action (CTA) in view without scrolling? If the answer is no, then you may want to move on, as a CTA is essential to getting a good return on investment.
- How long does the website take to load? Now, this could depend on the hosting provider, so be sure to check more than one of their created websites. But if they all take a long time to load, it’s likely they are using too many plugins or bad code. Move on.
- (If you are looking at a custom web designer) Do the sites have the same design? If so, then you might have a company that is using templates, and claiming they don’t.
If all 4 of the points above are good, then it’s time to move forward.
If values are important to you, then it’s also important to know that the company you are looking for appreciates those values as well. It’s a great idea to find a company that aligns with the same values you hold. Not only will this make you feel better, but it is likely that the company will give you added attention. It’s just the way humans are.
Do they offer customer service? Do they get back to you quickly? Are they easy to get in contact with? All of these are questions that should be considered when looking for a company. You need someone who cares about your needs and responds accordingly.
Are They in Your Price Range?
Another thing to consider is your budget. Do they have packages that meet your needs? Probe them for details about these packages, including potential costs and timeline. It is also good to ask how much they are willing to go over the proposed cost if necessary.
If you can’t get a clear answer then the next section is for you…
How Much Does It Cost To Build A Website?
Ok. This is all great. But how much will it cost me to build a website? I am going to be different than other sites… I will tell you the averages. Yes, it does depend, but this is what you should expect according to what is available.
- For a custom website, you should expect to pay at least $3000. Sometimes it could be more, sometimes a bit less. But you can get something up and running on that budget.
- For a templated website, you should expect to pay at least $300. You will more than likely spend $500 if you want to be able to edit the site yourself, but that’s another article for another day.
For a more in-depth look at what these sites can cost, here is a nice graph for you:
Who Owns the Website?
One important question you might need to ask: Will I own my website when it’s done, or am I paying for it monthly/yearly? Sure, if you are on a budget, it can be nice to pay for it monthly at first… But what about 5 years later and you want someone else to work on your website? Well, bad news. If someone else owns your site, then they own all the updates as well. You are stuck.
I have seen this too many times with our clients. Between having to build a brand new website, and get a new domain name. This can be detrimental, as all of your organic SEO building will be lost if you have to do this.
Finding a company that specializes in your field can be great. But do not forget everything we discussed before. Many of these companies use templates, charge you custom designer fees, and may even have you pay monthly for your website. I am not saying that they all do this. In fact, we have some specialties. But this is a warning as to what to look out for. be sure to ask plenty of questions. You will feel much better about the results.
This is All Great, But Who Should I Choose?
Okay, so you need a company. But which one? Well… It all depends on your needs and wants. There are plenty of companies out there that can get the job done nicely. Some are more expensive, some are less. But it’s all in what you want. Do they come highly recommended? Have they been reviewed online by your peers? What is their portfolio like? These are all questions that need answering.
If you are interested, feel free to check out our website design page. We would love to help you with your website design needs. If you want to find a good list of designers near you, then you should check out upcity.com. They actually have a great list of locally-owned website designers.