The Six Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make When Hiring a Website Designer
“There are more choices out there than ever before,” said Victor Thomas, owner of Thomas Digital. “And that means it’s more confusing than ever before and the wrong decision will not only cost you money, but sales as well.”
Even a “free” site can be very costly, Thomas cautions, so it’s very important to avoid the basic mistakes when looking for a design firm. A website says everything about who you are as a company. Make a mistake or cut a corner and your customer may head straight to your competitor.”
According to Thomas Digital, the following are some of the more common mistakes business owners make when looking for a website design firm:
Mistake #1: Going the cheap route.
“Many business people mistakenly think that a website is nothing more than money out of their pockets rather than an investment in their success. Yes, you may save a hundred bucks here and there, but this decision to cut corners can turn away customers who find your site difficult to use or worse, confusing,” said Thomas. “The ultimate goal of your site is to make money and like all marketing strategies, you have to put money into it to make money from it.”
Mistake #2: Using a free website builder.
Using a free website builder such as Wix or Squarespace, Thomas has its own set of pitfalls. These sites are free for a reason and when you factor in your own time to build the site – time you could use attracting more sales or new customers – these “free” site aren’t really free at all. Worse, many of these “free” or do-it-yourself sites are use a cookie-cutter approach. “If your goal is to differentiate your business from your competitors, why would you want your website to look exactly like everyone else’s?” he said.
Mistake #3: Hiring a big name creative agency.
A lot of bigger agencies use a website as a loss leader. It’s like the roasted chickens at Costco, said Thomas. “The company wants you to buy the chicken at a loss in the hope you’ll purchase something else while you’re there.” The same is true for websites designed by big agencies. “They may sell you on a low-cost website at the start, but you need to realize that your site will probably be subcontracted to a designer in Pakistan or India. It will be nothing more than a template site. Then they will upsell you on added features that really should be included in the first place such as a content management system, email addresses that use your domain name, etc. I highly recommend that you get all bids in writing with a list of what is included so you can compare quotes side by side.”
Mistake #4: Thinking that a high sticker price creates a better site.
Paying top dollar doesn’t mean you’ll get a better website these days. No matter who it is that designs your site, they all use the same tools. Whether it’s a $1,000 or a $10,000 site, everything under the hood is still made up of basic coding in CSS and HTML markup languages. “The key is to hire a company that understands your needs and that can build you a website that meets those needs. There’s no reason to add bells and whistles if they don’t make sense from a business perspective.”
Mistake #5: Not being able to update the site yourself.
Having the ability to update your own site is key to keeping costs down and being able to respond to changes in the marketplace. Known as a content management system, or CMS, a lot of vendors will want to charge extra for this, but it should be standard equipment these days. “This allows you to update your entire site without having to hire the design firm again. Without a CMS, you are at the mercy of your web developer for any changes you want to make on your site, no matter how small,” said Thomas. “A CMS like WordPress, which runs nearly 60% of all websites, should always be included in the project price.”
Mistake #6: Not being versed in SEO or social media.
Search engines and social media are essential to driving traffic to your site. You want your designer to have experience in search engine optimization as well as social media integration so that you will appear on the first pages of search engines for targeted keywords. A qualified web design company can help you devise and execute strategies that will drive more traffic to your site.
“The key here is to be a smart shopper,” said Thomas. “Be sure to ask questions. Understand what you’re getting and for what price. A reputable firm should be happy to answer all your questions.”
About Thomas Digital
Thomas Digital is a full service website design firm based out of San Francisco. The company specializes in the design and development of custom WordPress websites. For more information or to obtain a free website pricing guide, visit www.ThomasDigital.com.
Krueger PR for Thomas Digital
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