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The Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Web Design Company for Your Small Business Website

Table of Contents

As you already know, one of the most important marketing tools of a small business is your website! It helps you establish credibility and trust with potential clients and helps them discover more about your products and services. But picking the best web design agency is not easy when your knowledge of the web design business is limited. With so many vendors to choose from, how do you pick the right company to work with?

And that is what this guide will help to clarify for you.

I’m going to make sure this journey feels as effortless and seamless as sipping on a velvety mango slushy on a hot summer day! We’ll diving into every detail, from pinpointing the must-haves in a web design agency to scoring the best possible deal.

After you review this information, you’ll feel confident and knowledgeable enough to skillfully lock in your web design partner. You’ll have a clear idea of what to look out for, the inquiries to hit them up with, and precisely what to expect. Excited to jump in? Let’s do this!

Section 1: Setting the Stage

As you get started on your journey to find the web design company that will be the best fit for your business, let’s talk about what your small business website needs. What outcomes are you looking to achieve? What kind of an impact are you looking to make?

Maybe you’d like a ecommerce store that is as easy to use as your neighborhood market? What about getting a custom website that is unique to your brand and messaging? Are you just looking to get a website so you have one in case a customer asks? Or are you looking to sell more products and services? 

No matter what your requirements are, a clear vision will help you make a good choice.

Section 2: The Quest for User Experience (UX)

User Experience, or UX, is like the warm welcome you give your customers when they step into your physical store. When it comes to your website, you want visitors to feel the same level of comfort and ease. Look for a web design company that prioritizes user-centered design. They should craft websites that are easy to navigate, quick to load, and visually appealing. Ask about their previous projects and how they’ve improved user experience for other businesses.

An excellent user experience involves intuitive navigation, clear calls-to-action, and a design that guides visitors seamlessly through your content. The web design company you choose should have a deep understanding of how to create layouts that engage and retain visitors, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates.

Section 3: Mobile-Friendly Magic

One of your non-negotiable expectations needs to be to have a website that looks great on any device. When over 60% of website traffic happens on mobile phones, having a responsive design is a given. It isn’t just a bonus – it’s a necessity!

A responsive design ensures that your website adapts seamlessly to various screen sizes, from smartphones to tablets and beyond. Why is this important? Well, picture this: a potential customer searches for your product or service on their phone, finds your website, and… it’s a mess. They’ll likely hit the back button faster than you can say “lost opportunity.” Choose a web design company that understands the significance of mobile-friendliness.

Responsive design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about providing a consistent and enjoyable experience across devices. When evaluating web design companies, ask to see examples of their responsive designs. Test them on different devices to see how they perform. A truly mobile-friendly website will ensure that your customers can engage with your business effortlessly, no matter what device they’re using.

Section 4: Scaling the Peaks of SEO

Imagine having the most amazing website in the world, but no one can find it. That’s where SEO optimization comes in. Search Engine Optimization ensures that your website shows up on search engines when people look for products or services you offer. When considering a web design company, ask them about their approach to SEO. Do they build websites with SEO practices in mind? Do they offer keyword research and on-page optimization? A great website is useless if it’s invisible to search engines.

Effective SEO involves a combination of on-page and off-page strategies. On-page SEO includes optimizing your website’s structure, content, and meta tags to make it search engine-friendly. Off-page SEO involves building quality backlinks and establishing your website’s authority in your industry. A skilled web design company will have an understanding of both aspects, ensuring that your website not only looks good but also performs well in search engine rankings.

Section 5: Showcasing Your Brand: A Custom Website Or One Based On A Template?

When it comes to showcasing your brand through a website, the choice between a custom-designed site or one built from a template is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your online presence. A custom website is like a tailored suit – it fits perfectly and highlights your brand’s uniqueness. It is meticulously tailored to reflect your brand’s identity, values, and objectives. Every element, from layout and color scheme to functionality and user experience, can be fine-tuned to align perfectly with your brand’s narrative.

This level of personalization not only creates a lasting impression on visitors but also allows you to address specific business needs seamlessly. However, the process of developing a custom website is often more time-consuming and expensive, requiring collaboration with skilled designers and developers to bring your vision to life.

On the other hand, opting for a template-based website can provide a quicker and cost-effective solution. Templates offer pre-designed layouts and features that can be adapted to suit your brand’s requirements. They often come with user-friendly interfaces, making it easier to customize content and images according to your branding.

While templates might lack the tailored precision of custom sites, they are an excellent choice for smaller businesses or those with budget constraints. It’s important to choose a template that aligns with your brand aesthetics and message, and then make necessary adjustments to ensure a cohesive look. Additionally, regular updates and maintenance are relatively simpler with templates, as they often come with support from the template provider. Ultimately, the decision between a custom website and a template depends on your brand’s unique needs, resources, and long-term goals.

Section 6: The E-commerce Expedition

If you’re ready to sell your products or services online, you need a website that’s not just user-friendly but also equipped for e-commerce. Whether you’re a boutique bakery or an artisanal craft shop, integrating e-commerce features can take your business to new heights. A solid web design company should have experience with e-commerce integration. Ask them about the platforms they recommend (WooCommerce, Shopify, etc.) and how they’ll ensure a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

E-commerce integration involves setting up product pages, secure payment gateways, shopping carts, and order processing systems. It’s about creating a hassle-free buying process that instills confidence in your customers. When evaluating web design companies, inquire about their experience with e-commerce projects. Ask for examples of online stores they’ve built and how they’ve optimized the user journey from product selection to checkout.

Section 7: Content Management Made Easy

Once your website is up and running, you’ll want to update content, add new products, or write blog posts without any hassle. That’s where a Content Management System (CMS) comes into play. It’s the tool that empowers you to manage your website without needing to be a tech wizard. When choosing a web design company, inquire about the CMS they use. Popular options include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Make sure it’s user-friendly and fits your needs. At Mango Weblab, we use WordPress to manage content.

A user-friendly CMS allows you to make updates without requiring coding skills. It should have a simple interface that lets you add and edit content effortlessly. Before finalizing your choice of a web design company, ask if they provide training or support on how to use the CMS. This ensures that you’re comfortable managing your website’s content after it’s launched.

Section 8: The Budget Talk

Ah, the budget conversation – it can feel a bit like discussing taxes at the dinner table. But fear not! Affordable web design that doesn’t compromise on quality is out there. When comparing prices, keep in mind that a great website is an investment in your business’s future. Ask potential web design companies for quotes and what’s included in the package. Remember, the cheapest option might not provide the best value in the long run.

When considering your budget, focus on the value a web design company provides rather than just the upfront cost. A higher initial investment in a professional and reputable company can result in a website that drives more traffic and conversions, ultimately paying off in the long term. Look for transparency in pricing and ensure that the package aligns with your requirements and goals.

Section 9: The Professional Touch

You’ve built your small business with care and passion, and your website deserves the same level of dedication. A professional web development company is worth its weight in gold. Look for a team with a track record of success, positive testimonials, and a portfolio that aligns with your goals. They should communicate clearly, understand your vision, and bring it to life with their expertise.

Professionals bring more than just technical skills to the table. They offer insights and strategies based on their experience to ensure your website’s success. When researching web design companies, pay attention to their previous work, case studies, and client reviews. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask questions about their design process, project timelines, and how they handle client feedback. A professional team will be able to guide you through the entire process with confidence.

Section 10: Local designer or remote? Does it matter?

It depends! It depends on your needs, your preferences, their expertise and so many other factors.

Local agencies are great for face-to-face chats, they get your local market, and hey, they’re just around the corner for real-time updates. But keep in mind, they can be a bit pricey and might not have all the specialized skills you’re looking for. Now, remote agencies? They’re often more budget-friendly, have a wider range of skills, and some even work while you sleep! The flip side? Time zones can be a hassle, you might miss that personal touch, and they may not get your local vibe.

To sum it up, if you’re all about that local market and want someone you can meet up with, go local. But if you’re hunting for a deal, want a broad skill set, and don’t mind a virtual relationship, a remote agency could be your match. Just weigh what matters most for your project.

Section 11: Staying safe from unscrupulous vendors

Every once in a while you might encounter an unscrupulous web design company that uses a variety of tactics to mislead their customers. It is important to be aware of these tactics when choosing a web design company. Do your research and ask questions to make sure you are getting a quality product and service. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Do not give up your domain name. Your domain name is your online identity, so it’s important to keep it under your control. Some web designers might try to take ownership of your domain name, which would give them control over your website.
  • Beware of guaranteed Google rankings. No web design company can guarantee that your website will rank at the top of Google. If a company makes this claim, they are probably using black hat SEO techniques that could damage your website’s reputation.
  • Check the web design company’s portfolio and client reviews. A good web design company will have a portfolio of their past work and client testimonials. Be wary of companies that have little or no experience.
  • Get clear and transparent pricing. Avoid web design companies that have hidden fees or ambiguous pricing. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for before you sign a contract.
  • Read the contract carefully. A good contract will clearly outline the scope of work, the timeline, and the payment terms. Be sure to read the contract carefully before you sign it.
  • Use a popular CMS like WordPress. A popular CMS like WordPress will make it easier to maintain and update your website. Avoid web design companies that use proprietary CMS systems.
  • Get regular updates from the web design company. A good web design company will keep you updated on the progress of your project. Be wary of companies that don’t communicate regularly.
  • Make sure your website is designed for modern browsers. Your website should be designed for modern browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Avoid web design companies that use outdated technologies.
  • Get post-launch support. Once your website is up and running, you’ll need ongoing support to keep it up-to-date and secure. Make sure the web design company you choose offers post-launch support.

 

Congratulations, you’re now armed with the knowledge to find your perfect web design partner! Remember, it’s not just about creating a website – it’s about crafting an online home for your small business, a place where customers feel welcome and excited to engage with your brand. Now go out there and turn your digital dreams into reality!

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Our CREATIVE Director
SAM THATTE

Sam Thatte's Mango Weblab offers snappy solutions and easy collaborations for businesses eager to shine online!

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