Hiring a web agency can be a complicated and grueling process and you might encounter things you didn’t expect to come across when considering getting your website designed in the first place. The first thing you’re going to encounter is doubt, uncertainty, and a ton of questions as you get closer to deciding on an agency and pulling the trigger so to speak.
In this blog post we’ll try to anticipate the questions and answer them based on our knowledge and experience, not only designing websites for ourselves and our clients, but we’ve also been on the hiring end as well. In fact all of our developers are hired, would you believe that?! Just kidding….but we really do have our own complications when finding qualified web developers to be on our team!
Should You Hire a Web Design Company?
Hiring an agency or doing it yourself really depends on many questions, and also keep in mind although we’re technically an agency we’re not like the big guys and more of a boutique agency that provides a tailored experience. But if you’re thinking about hiring an agency here’s some questions you should probably ask yourself.
- Are you too busy running your business to learn web design, WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify or whatever other CMS there is??
- Do you want it professionally designed?
- Do you want your website to be user friendly?
- Do you want your website to be fast loading?
- Do you want it to generate traffic and bring leads?
If you answered YES to all of the above questions then you should definitely hire a developer. I’ll be honest, I got into designing websites 13 years ago by designing my first WordPress website with a YouTube tutorial on how to design a website in an hour. It DID NOT take an hour and took more like 3 days to really get it up on the web and functioning. And let me tell ya, it looked terrible. I didn’t know any better and was really proud of what I had created.
I mean, I figured out DNS, hosting, domain names, designing on WordPress and how to make it all live in a matter of days. I felt like a genius. Which I personally think is a mistake a lot of business owners who design their own websites run into. They figure out enough to get a page up and think that they don’t need a web designer but then down the road they’ll question why they’re not getting sales.
What is A Web Developer Responsible For?
Below I’ll list some of the things that you get from a developer or web design agency that you won’t get doing it on your own.
UX Design and Development
Now I’m not saying all digital agencies are created equal and that everyone is doing what’s right, but we do what’s right and I can only speak for us. UX or “user experience” is probably the most important factor on your website. Not only is it the overall design and flow of your website, little things like how easy it is for users to scroll or click to the areas that matter most, the font size, block size, and etc are all crucial elements of the website. But it also needs to look stunning as well, so that you have the appearance of being a professional company. What business owner has the time to design their own website? That’s how your customers will see it.
A designer has been trained on best practices for user experience design and with a good web development agency their developer will be well versed in designing websites internet users enjoy being on. Which takes us to our next component, conversion rate optimization or CRO.
Conversion Rate Optimization
CRO and UX development go hand in hand, however UX could be something like how smoothly the page scrolls or how fast a page loads. CRO focuses strictly on increasing conversion. Location of forms, buttons, phone numbers, shopping carts, etc etc. Understanding the customer journey is largely impactful here and it goes a long way to know where people are clicking around typically.
For example, if you generate calls your number should be huge in the navigation bar. Bigger than all the other navigation elements. Take our client Air Van for example.
Now if it wasn’t for the fact they have 2 logos the number would stand out a lot more. But when compared to the navigation items it’s much bigger than those and the idea is to not distract the visitor with something they can click on. The free quote form also stands out. And if you scroll down their website there are conversion points all the way down. Whether it’s getting them to another page, getting a video quote, or calling, we’ve got some kind of conversion point in your face.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization
If you’re hiring the proper web designer he should be telling you about search optimization and how your website plays a vital role in your search presence, even when it comes to Google maps if you’re a local business. Your website is used to communicate to Google what it is you do and your web designer should know what Google wants to see. For example if you’re using your website for business, typically Google wants to see that you’re an expert. They want to see a lot more and this ties into EEAT (expertise, experience, authority and trustworthiness) but that’s another topic for another day and probably needs an entire blog post on its own.
At our agency we make recommendations during the design process that assists with your search presence. Outside of the basics like setting up a html and xml sitemap, Google analytics and setting up search console, we can advise in the design process to help with the EEAT aspect of things. Everything in EEAT can be increased with blogging. What better way to show Google you’re an expert than blogging out helpful content within your niche that helpsx your customers or clients? So If you’re a local plumber named John Smith we can advise you on plumbing topics and also set up an author profile for John Smith.
The owner of the company will be the author. That owner should have social profiles that Google can see on the web and say “Oh here’s John Smith, he’s a real person”. We then design author pages and connect the social profiles to that author page and to the main site.
How Much Do Web Designers Charge?
Most designers charge depending on the size of the job and what it entails. If you’re a local business owner you can get a one pager from us for about $500 with a contact page and some SEO value to it. From there it goes up at about $100-$200 per page depending on the design the pages require.
Remember to ask questions and set expectations upfront so that you are satisfied with the delivered work upon completion of your web project.
In the End it’s All Up to You!
You have to decide whether having a stunning design and CRO is right for you. I’ve run into newer businesses that just want to get some extra leads but can’t take a large capacity of new leads all at once.
For these guys I suggest using the free Google Sites at first and using that to gain local clients if they don’t want to spend on a full development. Just with optimizing your Google Business Profile and creating a free Google site is plenty enough for most small business owners who are in smaller markets.
But if you’re in a more competitive area or competition is heavy in the niche you’re in, you may want to consider hiring a web design agency to handle your web design needs!