So you’ve come to the conclusion that your small business could benefit from having a website – that’s the easy part. However, choosing the best Website Designer for your small business is not easy with so many different companies offering all manner of website design products.
Here lies the problem.
Many small business owners have never had to commission a website before and subsequently, have very little idea of what they need, questions they need to ask or any potential pitfalls to avoid. It’s a bit like asking a Vegetarian which Steak House they’d recommend.
So to help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled a few ‘checks’ that will help you make a balanced, informed decision on which Website Designer would best suit your needs.
Will the website actually help you gain more customers?
You want a website because you want to attract more customers, right? So it stands to reason that the ideal Website Designer would be able to demonstrate how their products can actually help you achieve that.
Unfortunately, many Website Designers are more interested in creating a website that simply looks good and that alone won’t get your phone ringing.
Ask them for references of other small businesses who they’ve helped and then contact those businesses to see what results they had from their new website. Remember, a website based-upon sound research with a solid strategy for attracting traffic (customers) is going to be of far more use to you than one that simply looks nice.
Don’t be swayed by Website Designers who simply want to woo you with a portfolio of pretty designs that have no commercial substance.
Will you be able to easily update your website?
This is one of the biggest single complaints we hear about other Website Design Companies.
Imagine that you want to update your website to tell your customers about a new promotion you’re running. You email the Website Designer and ask them to make some changes to the text on your home page; then you wait patiently.
We’ve heard from Clients who’ve had to wait over a week for minor updates to be made to their website – not much use if it’s Tuesday and you want to run a promotion for this weekend is it?
However, the solution to this problem is quite straightforward and it’s called a content management system (CMS). This is basically a rather grand title for a system that simply allows you to add, edit or delete the content of your website yourself.
If you’re able to use Microsoft Word then you should be more than capable of using a CMS and the ability for you to have full control over your website content is important.
Before you decide which Website Designer is going to get your work, ask them if their websites come with a built-in CMS or if they are have to implement (and possibly charge you) for any updates to the website.
Will the Website Designer provide your with proper support?
A website can be a stunningly effective marketing tool for a small business however, for it to truly meet that potential it needs to be managed correctly.
There is a common misconception amongst many small business owners that all they need to do is buy a website and suddenly a flood of new customers will arrive at their doors. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.
A website CAN help you attract a lot of new customers but not without a proper strategy behind it. This is where a lot of Website Design Companies fail – they simply don’t have the necessary skills or experience to help you develop a proper strategy to promote your shiny new website.
Before you make a decision on which Designer to use, give them a call and ask them how their website will help your business gain more customers. It’s also worth asking them for examples of websites that they’ve designed that are working well for their previous Clients so they can demonstrate their methods and techniques are effective.
Before you choose
If you are serious about getting an effective website for your small business then we would implore you to call the Website Design company you’re considering and speak to them first.
You’ll gain far more insight into their business methods in a 5-minute phone call than you ever will from their promotional material or design portfolio.
Remember that this is likely to be a long-term relationship and if you get your decision wrong, it could take months of frustration to realise the mistake you’ve made, plus you’re going to be stuck with this company for the foreseeable future.
If you need any further advice, you can call us for a free, impartial chat about your specific requirements on 01252 416 222 or if you’d like to find out about our website design packages that we created specifically for small businesses, click here.