When people ask what type of business I’m in, I usually tell them “web design.” But what do I mean by that?
Everyone has a different meaning of what “web design” really means. Back in 1997, all you needed was for one guy to crank out a website and boom, your fledgling business was a success. But in
2015 2016, a “good website” is no longer just a URL that loads in under 3 minutes.
“Good” (or even “great”) websites require a slew of different things that your website builder (whether that’s you or a pro) needs to bring to the table. Your business needs more than a website; it needs a web presence.
Which means you can no longer get by with one guy working out of his garage. You need a designer, a coder, a content specialist…in short, you need a team that’s fully capable of handling all aspects of your web strategy. So as you’re looking for a web team to revamp your site, make sure whoever you pick also has these 5 skills.
Believe it or not, there once was a time when there weren’t that many websites in existence. There were a limited number of URLs you could visit to get information, so the bar wasn’t set very high. In short: they were awful. Keyword stuffing, grammatical errors, and irrelevant subject matter were common, and there wasn’t much that anyone could do about it.
Thankfully, the Almighty Google came up with an algorithm to place higher value on sites that were well-written, relevant (i.e. shared), and easy to read, so content optimization is more crucial than ever. Optimized content not only draws in readers, it turns them into customers.
Make sure your web designer has a writer on staff that can take your text and turn it into a masterpiece. (Clarity does. How do you think a blog post by a coder sounds so professional?)
2. Graphic Design
Another thing about websites in the past: they were purely informational. Web designers only had to put together some basic HTML code to make the site functional, slap a menu on there, maybe add an extra color (if they were feeling ambitious), and you were good to go.
But now that the internet is faster and websites easier to build, websites have gotten a lot more creative. And it’s not only websites that benefit from creative graphic design. Logos, marketing materials, social media images, and infographics come to mind.
Finding a web designer with a good graphic designer on staff can take your site from weak to “wow.” Websites represent your store before a user buys your product or even steps through your door. And with 50% of consumers visiting a store within a day of their local search, you can’t afford to give a bad first impression.
3. User Experience (UX) Expertise
When you’re too close to a project, you tend to be a bit biased about the results.
So many times, we meet clients who think they have the greatest website ever: the design is on point, the articles that are well-written, their contact page is just screaming to be filled out. But an expert eye sees that the contact page is hidden, formatting makes the articles difficult to read, and the red call to action on the home page actually screams “Stop! Don’t click me!”
Things as simple as color choice or where a menu is located on your home page can change the way your customers think and how they view your website (and therefore your business). Someone well versed in user experience (known in the business as UX) is able to spot and fix all those glaring mistakes, things even your readers might not be able to point to and say, “THAT’S why I didn’t give you my money.”
There’s nothing more frustrating* than spending months designing and building your website only to have it crash or get infected. Your website is likely the lifeblood of your business, and for every day (hour, minute…) your website is not displaying correctly, Google could be un-indexing your website, causing you to lose credibility.
This is why you want to focus on building a relationship with a web company with ideas for your long-term success. Whether you just have a quick question, a minor update, or your entire website is down, reliable tech support for your website can keep the wheels turning. (Besides, it is always more efficient for the web development company who built your website to help with the edits, since they know the code inside and out.)
*This is hyperbole. There are lots of things more frustrating than this.
5. Marketing/SEO Expertise
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the worst thing you can do for a website is just leave it alone and expect the traffic to come rolling in.
It takes a multi-pronged approach (page optimization, off-site link building, pay-per-click ads) to get to the top of the rankings. They don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing—websites are part of a larger network, and trying to isolate yourself within the Internet does about as much good for your website as it did for Tom Hank’s character in Castaway.
Remember, when you’re picking a web company you have to consider everything they bring to the table.
Are they ready to grow with your business (or will you outgrow them)? What sort of track record to they have with past clients? Can they provide positive testimonials in addition to a snazzy portfolio?
In an era where even your 13-year-old niece has her own web presence, your website can’t afford to be a one trick pony.
Clarity Creative Group is a web design (& more!) company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. Wilson the Volleyball will live on in our hearts forever.