Business-centric Web Design for Small to Medium-sized Businesses
When you consider hiring a firm to create or redesign your website it is critical to understand what is truly important, what is open to preference, and what is totally irrelevant.
It is amazing to me how many ordinary business owners become highly opinionated artists the moment they start moving through the process of web design. If I were an artist (which like most people I’m not) the odds of my artistic taste matching each of my potential customers would be about 0%.
You see, it’s not just artistic ability, but rather extensive A B testing that answers the important questions, like what will attract the highest number of the target audience. For a great example, check out this article about how the Obama campaign used it http://kylerush.net/blog/optimization-at-the-obama-campaign-ab-testing/.
What are the critical elements to look for in a web firm?
Value – All businesses are looking to make money. If you can invest one dollar and make back five you will do it every time. If you can find a web firm that can increase your earnings by $100,000 per year for a $20,000 investment you have found a great firm.
Excellence – A great firm will have examples of excellent past work, as well as, a long line of excited customers who are willing to take the time to express gratitude for the amazing responsiveness, effectiveness and value that they have received.
Optimization – The most valuable service a Web Design Firm can offer you is generating a large number of the right customers. There are two primary ways to accomplish this;
- Pay per click Advertisement management, this is usually heavier up front because it produces instant results but it requires higher ongoing costs.
- Organic search engine optimization (SEO), this is the process of producing quality content and associations that will ultimately become authoritatively relevant to Google and they will start listing your content near the top of the non paid search results.
What important things should a SMB consider in a web firm?
Structure – When you look for a web designer, most often you will find a large percentage of one man operations, and a few huge firms. One man operations are usually inexpensive but very risky. It’s hard to tell what parts of the process they are good at solving and they frequently go out of business leaving you to start the entire process over. Huge firms on the other hand, are probably not going out of business but they are more likely to hire low cost designers and high-pressure sales guys leaving you with less value than you are paying for.
The ideal structure is a smaller group of competent contractors who are each excellent at what they do. You need designers who can take a detailed conceptual outline and convert it into reality, SEO consultants who can set the direction of the content, content writers and copy professionals who edit and finalize the content, and a project leader who is capable of all of these things as well as interfacing with you the business owner.