Purchasing website design services is like purchasing any other product or service – you get what you pay for.
You might see high-end and low-end pricing and have some red flags go up. You might be wondering if you’re just overpaying by asking for more. This is a valid concern and wise to be looking out for but we assure you that the web design industry is a place where you often fully get what you pay for if you decide to go for a high-end option. (At least that’s the case when you work with us at MINDSCAPE).
Let’s lay out what’s possible for your website and which features you may have to pay a bit extra for.
When it comes to design itself, you have a lot of different options for elements you can choose to include or not include.
Some of the questions you’re going to need to be asking yourself are whether your brand already has iconography and graphics for a website designer to pull from or if you are going to need to commission new ones as part of your design? Do you have photography to provide or are you going to need to license stock photos for your website? These are the kinds of things you have to look out for and need to have ready ahead of time if you’re trying to get a website designed in a way that’s most cost effective for you.
Next you’re going to have to decide whether you want your website to be based on an already designed template or if you would like an entirely new custom design for your website. Obviously it will cost you more, but a custom website can be a great investment for your brand to cement its own identity in the digital space.
Speaking of your brand identity, that’s going to be something you want to make sure you’re happy with before investing in a brand new website. A question you should be asking yourself if you’re uncertain if you’re happy with your brand identity is, ‘Do I have a brand identity that can be utilized to effectively communicate what my brand provides in both written text and visual design language?’. If you’re working with a digital marketing agency like MINDSCAPE for your website, your brand refresh and web design can all be aligned in one place for maximized brand unity and clarity.
Strategy isn’t an inherent part of every website design. If you are just looking to spruce up your current site, you may not be interested in strategy. But creating buyer personas, performing competitive analysis, mapping out user paths, and investing in other strategic initiatives can help you ensure that your new site doesn’t just look better, but performs better too.
For example, user path planning is when you map out the ideal pathway your user should take from the second they land on your site, to when they make an inquiry or purchase. This work can help you ensure that users have a clear pathway to their goal and aren’t leaving your site feeling confused.
Competitive assessments are all about taking cues from some of your closest competitors’ websites and seeing what is and isn’t effective from an outside perspective. This can also help you identify the standard experience users are expecting for business in your industry. You can exceed user expectations while not veering too far from expectations that the user feels comfortable.
Something that you may be less aware of but is critical for an effective website is the implementation of a sitemap. A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. The sitemap is often the first place search engines are going to look to get a feel of what your website is all about. Without a sitemap, it can be very difficult to rank highly in search results and your website will become an island on the internet.
When you redesign your website, you’ll often need to adjust your content so that it fits perfectly with the new design templates. Some website design companies include adjusting and writing new content in their website quotes or as an add-on service. You should heavily consider whether or not you need content writing services for your new website because it may not be as simple as migrating content from your old site.
You also need to ensure that your content looks good on mobile devices, tablets, and desktop computers.
When you design and build a new website, you want to make sure you don’t lose any SEO value your current site has. When hiring a design & dev company, you’ll want to look into whether or not they offer SEO services. Will they ensure meta descriptions are established for each page? Will they put keywords in the alt text of images?
Delving into all the different strategies within SEO would consume this article but I will paint a broad brush to some of the approaches you can take to effectively implement SEO practices.
You can include relevant keywords to your industry that are most searched by potential customers. An effective strategy for a smaller business is to target longer, 2-3 word phrases that are on the high end of medium popularity. These are the type of keywords you can penetrate into the first page of results.
Every website should implement some amount of technical SEO. Technical SEO is all the things like making sure your headings are properly labeled, you have meta descriptions that match your text, your images have alt text, you have internal and external links, etc.
These are the types of things search engines are looking for in a website they want to promote. Sloppy technical SEO is not acceptable and can often be one of the easier things to avoid when implemented proactively.
You can also take a localized approach and target based on cities and zip codes and so much more.
Another service some website design agencies offer is analytics. They may help you get set up on Google Analytics or another reporting tool, and may even create events, goals, and reporting dashboards. These services can help you assess how your new website performs in comparison to your old website. At MINDSCAPE, we often recommend our clients build their websites on HubSpot. HubSpot features a robust, customizable reporting dashboard. Everything is all in one place and HubSpot integrates with a variety of platforms such as Facebook Ads to make reporting simple and easy.
All in all, your new website needs to incorporate your current processes. Is your web design company accounting for how you currently work?
This is where pre-constructed website templates often fall short. If you want a website that fully aligns with your process, that’s probably going to get you into custom design pricing most of the time but it is hard to under-emphasize how important it is to have a website that is built specifically with your business, your story, and your processes in mind.
Know What You’re Buying
Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of the variety of services different companies offer as a part of their website design services. It is crucial that you make sure you know what you are buying when you invest in a website. Are you buying a facelift, or investing in a whole new data-driven strategy?
At MINDSCAPE, we try to be clear and communicate with you so we know exactly what your goals are and provide you with the experience you’re looking for.
We do all kinds of web design projects. Whether you’re just looking for one of the features listed above or all of them, we do that.