As digital strategists, Xponent21 is introduced to many business owners who recognize their need for a new website. However, many of these business owners are overwhelmed by the number of prospective web development partners and face decision paralysis. For those less familiar with the industry, these web development companies all seem to offer the same services. However, their prices vary greatly.
How does a business owner know what specific capabilities they need and a reasonable amount to spend for these services when choosing a web designer?
Choosing a Web Designer: Not All Websites Are Created Equal.
The first thing to understand is that there is indeed a difference between a website with a $1,000 price tag and one costing $10,000, or even $100,000. Of course, costs vary based on location and whether you’re choosing a web designer that is a large agency or a small business. The cost differential is based on a number of additional factors as well.
Understanding your needs.
The cost of your website will depend largely on your needs. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, simple website, your digital partner will likely offer an out-of-the-box theme with minimal site functionality. To cut costs, they may ask you to organize and prepare all of the content for your site. This may include everything from the copywriting to the photography. In contrast, if you don’t have any web content and don’t have time or interest in writing it yourself, then you’ll need to budget for copywriting services. If your website needs more advanced functionality, such as an e-commerce shop, then it will require more time and expense to develop, from configuring individual products to setting up payment processing, shipping, and taxes.
Types of digital partners.
There are also different types of website providers, who have different philosophies and skills, and command different pricing. For example, a web developer may focus on providing custom functionality and will likely have programming knowledge. Conversely, a web designer may prioritize aesthetics and style and may not offer any custom development capabilities.
As digital strategists, the websites we build are called performance-designed websites. We create them with the primary goal of maximizing the performance of the site. At each stage in the creation of your new website, we work to attract more high-quality traffic, enhance the user experience with the site, and increase the proportion of online prospects who convert into leads. While standard websites see conversion rates around 1%, our clients regularly enjoy website conversion rates between 6 and 9%.
What Makes A Performance Website Different: The Xponent21 Process.
The first stage in creating a new website is discovery. We ask questions about what makes your company unique, your goals and priorities, the services you offer, and what types of transactions will be conducted online through your website. It’s critical that we understand who your customers are, where they live, the pain points that lead them to seek out your services, the customer journey, and what makes them choose you over your competitors. We also perform market research to understand the competition in your market and to identify relevant search queries and keywords that prospects tend to use when searching online. The information we uncover during the Discovery phase guides our strategy throughout the rest of the website development process.
Content Planning & Development
The next phase of your website project is reviewing and cataloging any existing web content you may have. We identify any content holes that need to be filled with additional copywriting. Next, we organize your content into a site map that encompasses a comprehensive list of the pages that will exist on your new website. These pages must be arranged into an easily navigable menu structure. This allows site users to readily find the information they seek.
Once we finalize the content, the design ideation phase begins. The design must take into account a host of factors. These considerations include how users will engage with your website, your company branding, responsiveness across digital screen sizes and different web browsers, and more. Oftentimes, there will be numerous iterations before arriving at the final design concept.
Before deploying the design in a live online environment, we may need to set up your domain registration and hosting. Sometimes we simply require access to these if you have pre-existing accounts. Some developers will build sites at the client’s domain. However, we build new sites on a development site before launching to the client’s domain. Building your new website in a development environment first allows our team and yours to review all pages and thoroughly test all functionality in a live environment that is hidden from search bots and the public until we’re ready to launch the new site.
Site Build & Functionality
Once the technical setup is complete, the next stage is building out the approved design online and implementing any necessary site functionality. The functionality depends upon the specifics of your business and your website needs. Examples of these needs include features like e-commerce, custom forms, an events calendar, and more. In this phase, we also configure any necessary integrations with third-party software. Third-party software examples include your CRM, project management system, or email marketing platform.
Quality Assurance Checks & Testing
By this time, we have a complete, functional draft of your new website. The next step is critical – testing! We observe the site on different devices using different browsers and test all features of the site, from buttons and links to the routing of email notifications.
Your new site has been thoroughly tested and is now ready to launch publicly on your domain! This provides an excellent opportunity to make an announcement to your customers and followers in your email newsletter and on social media.
Training & Support
Finally, we offer training on how to manage and make edits to your new website. You may also want to consider website support. Website support includes a variety of services, from website backups (which can help restore your site if needed) and regular maintenance to priority support in the event of a problem with your website.
Are you a business owner in need of a website or redesign? If so, there is a lot you must consider when choosing a web designer and many important choices to be made along the way. Begin the process by finding a digital partner who fits your needs and your budget. I hope that this article provides you with the background knowledge necessary for making an informed choice as you embark upon your website journey.