Help! I Need a Web Site for my Business but Don’t Know Where to Start!

Need a business web site

It’s been said before, and we’ll say it again: Every business needs a web site! Just by knowing your business needs a web site already puts you ahead of your competition (the competition that refuses to come into the 21st century, that is.) But finding a great web site design company to build your business on the web can require a lot of time and research if you don’t know what to look for.

Using this guide, you can make the process of finding the best web design company for your business much easier. If you know what you want in a web site beforehand, you will make it much easier for designers to give you a fair and accurate price quote.

Will some of these tips prevent you from using Shycon Design for your business web site design? Maybe (but we hope not!). Our company philosophy is to help businesses grow, whether we work with them or not, and we’re sticking to it!

Have your Business Goals in Mind

In this day and age, your web site should be a vital part of your business. Knowing exactly what you want your web site to do will not only help the web designer quoting you, but it will make you think more critically about your business on the web. You may find out you need something that you didn’t know you needed, or you may be asking for too many bells and whistles outside of your budget. Ask yourself:

  • What will be the purpose of my web site? Will it have to generate leads, create more sales, provide company information, improve customer service, gather customer data, etc…
  • Do I want to sell products online? If so, how many?
  • Ideally, how should this web site improve my business and what customers think of me?

Know Your Budget

Web site design prices can vary greatly among companies. Don’t think because you have a $199 option and a $15,000 option that you will get the same result. No matter what you pay for a web site, it’s not worth much if it doesn’t provide a return on your investment. Think about your marketing budget as a whole, while taking into account your business goals. If you know much it costs to acquire a customer through magazine advertising, mailers, coupons, etc, and you have an idea how many new customers you will gain from your web site over time, you should be able to come up with a pretty accurate budget.

Cheaper web sites are not always better, and the same applies to pricier web sites. By knowing your budget and researching the web design company you want to work with, you can find a great return on your marketing dollar.

Check Out Your Competition

Don’t be shy about this one. Your competition should be driving you to innovate and improve your business. Check out your competition on Google and see which keywords they are ranking for. Are their web sites boring and drab, or eye-catching and informative? If you see something you like on their web site, and want it on your own, make a note of it. Create a list of all the related web sites you do like (even if they’re not competition), and a list of those ones you don’t like.

Find a Local Web Design Company to Design Your Business Web Site

Why work with a local web design company? It makes communication much easier. If you never meet the person or company that will work on your web site, it’s hard to tell if they will be around to see your web site to the end. Trusting someone with such a valuable part of your business should be a key issue when choosing a design company.

The best design companies to work with are local. They are far more likely to actually care about your business, have more incentive to deliver a great product because of the potential referrals, and they want to improve their reputation in the community.

Check out the Portfolio and Read the Testimonials

These are two very important metrics for choosing a web design company. A web design portfolio is similar to a showroom for a furniture company. Browse around and see if their work is something you like. In addition, testimonials can really tell you if the company has done good work in the past. Don’t be afraid to check up on them either.

Can’t I just use an Online Web Site Builder?

An online web site builder is a platform that allows people to build their own web sites for a fee that is charged on a monthly basis. They are virtually free compared to custom web site design. Usually, an online web site builder company has no real web designer on staff, and you’re stuck with templates that aren’t very representative of your business. Trust us on this one: People can tell when they come across a pre-made, “cookie-cutter” template. Visually, it is the difference between a Want Ad in the newspaper and a beautiful magazine layout that people can’t stop staring at. Online web site builders are also horrible for search engine optimization and marketing.

For businesses that are serious about growing online, the short answer to this question is No. While online web site builders are a great way for businesses to get themselves on the web cheaply (something is better than nothing), they are not a long term solution for growth on the web. An effective web site needs planning, organization, custom art, layout design, and if necessary, a whole lot of programming. Every business web site needs to be designed specifically for that business to get the maximum return.

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