So you’re ready to hire a web designer to expand your brand online and give you an extra punch in sales. Hiring a web designer for your business is a major investment and should not be taken lightly. The average cost of a complete web design project for small businesses ranges from $7,500 – $25,000. Other features like SEO optimization, CSS customization, and marketing strategy can cost even more money, depending on what you like. Before you pass out, I’m going to share a few ways you can save money and time on your new website project.
- Prepare Content – the best thing you can do is have your content ready for your web designer before you start. At least have 80% of it ready to go. Why? It helps the designer plan your layout based on the amount of content you have for each page. Also, it makes the project run smoother since your designer isn’t waiting around for you to gather content. Remember, time is money based on the pricing structure you agreed on, so have it ready to go at the beginning of the project.
- Know what you like – Don’t know where to begin? Grab a notebook, pull up a chair, grab your laptop and start browsing. Start with your competition’s websites for inspiration and ideas. Next, look at other websites in your niche to see what else you like. Don’t forget Pinterest! Pin colors, fonts, and designs that speak to you and make an inspiration board to share with your designer. They will thank you for this!
Other things to look for are sites you enjoy visiting. What did you like about the experience? What elements about the website did you like best (chat box, contact form, simple layout and navigation)? Make a list of everything you like so you can communicate effectively to your designer. A good designer will know how to fill in the gap between what you like and what you need to reach your goals.
- Know your goals – Think marketing strategy, user experience, and how you want your visitors to feel when they view your website. Think of your website as your customers will see it, not necessarily as you want to view it. Know what you wish to accomplish: more email signups? Place multiple sign up forms throughout the site. Purchases? Lead with your hottest item for sale. Leads? Have a juicy free resource to entice your market to want to know more about what you do. Be ready to discuss your marketing goals with your designer so they know what’s important to you.
- Know your budget – Let’s go back to your earlier list. Some of those features may involve CSS customization, a directory, or require paid plugins to give you the look and feel you desire and need. All of these features can make your budget go sky high so consider this when you sit down with your developer and they can give you a detailed cost breakdown.
- Communicate – You are ultimately responsible for your website’s overall design. Set up routine meetings with your designer or appoint a point person to make approvals to keep your project moving. I recommend short weekly or biweekly meetings to keep everything above board.
These tips will save you time, money, and major headaches as you build or makeover your business website. An effective website can pay you back in the form of sales, leads, and referrals so proper upkeep and maintenance is very necessary.
One final note is to think long-term, not just the creation phase. Will you have time and the skills to update the content and images on your website as your business grows? Will you be able to keep it from being hacked? Do you know how to drive traffic to it once it goes live? How will you market it to your key customers? As you can see, web design is more than pretty pictures and text.