Few fields evolve as quickly as website design. I have been creating websites since the 1990s, back when Angelfire and MySpace pages littered email signatures and clipart was all too common. Today, website design has evolved to be much more complex and much more competitive.
In my experience, that has been largely beneficial for consumers. A simple Google search will tell you what you need to make your site succeed. With a focused approach on marketing, the right analytical tools, and by meeting the fundamental requirements of a strong site, any experienced developer can churn out great content. More often than not, a client and his or her developer simply need to have a close, one-on-one relationship. When my client is able to clearly communicate his or her needs, I am able to deliver a great site.
A great website doesn't need to break the bank.
Competition usually makes for a great marketplace, but there is a downside for customers that has arisen from it. Many business owners feel that unless they pay top dollar, they will not receive a website that performs properly. The best, most professional business sites are still built largely of CSS, HTML, and sometimes another program. There is no “ultimate web design program” or secret dash of ingredients. When I talk with my fellow designers, I learn that, yes, we are all basically doing the same thing.
What is the difference between a site that costs $2,000 versus a designer charging $10,000? Well, not much. Major web design firms pretend there is some magical process that only they know, delivered to them from on high, something the average Joe could never possibly understand. Do not let a luxury design firm pull the wool over your eyes.
So what features do you absolutely need?
For starters, any web developer should provide you with the tools you need to manage site content. CMS, or content management systems, are software that make the process as easy as microwaving popcorn.
They should provide several options for your search engine optimization (SEO) to drive traffic, and the analytical tools to measure the effectiveness of your content.
When you hire a web designer, you enter into a complex relationship. Web design does not stop at the site itself. It continues to improve upon its successes and focuses on the important demographics that respond well to your CTAs. The support should be an ongoing endeavor, one that teaches and instructs. Transparency is how you build trust.
On the other hand, pretending you are a monolith standing at the center of an impossible-to-navigate landscape alienates customers. I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to, clients and peers, who have heard these kinds of horror stories. The most often repeated one says one such company was charging $119.99 per month to update images when the client preferred to make the changes on his own.
Our mission is to take our responsibilities further than a contract. It is a friendship. Our success is your success, and that means helping you promote your brand in an affordable way. If you want to see what it means to compete with high stakes while paying a competitive price, contact us.