In 2019, no business owner worth their salt needs to be told that your website is absolutely crucial, your shop window – and a million other clichés in between.

You probably also don’t need to be told that the cost for a website can vary from nothing but your time using an out-of-the-box package, to eye watering figures. The most expensive website build on record was completed for the African National Congress, rumoured to come in and $10million (yes, million) in 2012.

But what many people DO need to be educated in is just why these costs vary so much – and the potential problems that can be caused by doing it on the cheap.

Because let’s face it – with the world and his wife offering amazing website deals, most businesses have a connection to a would-be web designer (usually Sue from Accounts sister’s Godson) who can put something together for a few hundred quid.

At Think Design this is something we see time and time again – and we’re called in to pick up the pieces. We’ve put together a guide of things you really need to be considering before appointing your web designer and making that investment.

What about off the shelf options?

Anyone can design their own websites today. It’s a few hours of a job. Right?

Well … not strictly speaking.

It’s true that the likes of Wix, Squarespace and GoDaddy have some pros (in particular the price point). However, they often fail in many other areas such as replication, the generic nature which means they are not designed to meet specific needs, and poor CMS and SEO capabilities.

If you are starting out they can be a cost effective option – but you need to consider the long term.

Will my website communicate across all devices?

In our digital age, we’re on the go. Think about it – how often do you sit at your computer reading a website? Bet you spend far more time scrolling your phone and iPad, right?

It’s essential that your website caters to ALL your possible audiences- and building a “one size fits all” site is simply no longer an option. People don’t want to scroll, zoom, and go back and forth to find the information they are looking for. They expect it right at their fingertips, and sites that aren’t built for mobile browsing will lead to frustrated customers and lost sales.

Visibility: How will people know we are there?

Most people know that SEO is a consideration – but they are not entirely sure what it is. It’s crucial that SEO is considered in the initial design of the website – but many sites designed on budget don’t have the technical capabilities to do this.

So, what can go wrong? Quite a bit, actually.

  • The content, headings and URLs may not be SEO optimised – making it harder, in some cases impossible, for anyone to actually find your website in the first place
  • Slow loading time, a real bug bear that we know can result in users abandoning the website before they leave the home page and impact on Google rankings
  • Unnamed images – a decent website developer will optimised your images for SEO by naming them individually. On a budget site, no one is going to do that for you – so you are likely to end up with lots of untitled images – and missed opportunities.
  • Lack of site map submitted to Google. Yes people, this is crucial. Without a site map Google can’t index and rank your site.

Lead Generation and Return on Investment

A key function of your website should be to generate leads. It’s a no brainer – but something that man overlook. There are several ways to achieve this, but a carefully positioned call to actions (or CTAs) is a good starting point. It’s all well and good telling your would-be customers how great you are – but humans are simple things and they like instruction. Tell them to drop you a line, ping an email or fill in a contact form. You can also capture their data (fully GDPR compliant) in the form of newsletter sign-ups. All of these are potential lead generators and can make a huge difference to the number of enquiries from your website.

This nicely leads us to achieving a great return on investment (ROI). Getting the design and build right will increase your ROI tenfold than a DIY website.

It’s basic business – the more your invest, the more you can expect back  – and the quicker it will happen.

So, what should I be looking for?

In short, a reputable agency to build you a website that covers all of the above –  and more. The Holy Grail of web design includes:

  • A passionate designer who will ensure that your website looks the part, working with a website developer who will ensure it functions perfectly too. It’s all about the User Experience.
  • Proper SEO. Not just a few ill thought out key words – thoroughly researched SEO throughout the site.
  • They say content is King and we couldn’t agree more. Well written, informative content is not only essential for SEO – it gives a far better, professional presentation of your business.

Regular analytics, reports and updates. Once the website is live, our job is just beginning.

To see some of the top level websites that we’ve created, click here.

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