Find the right fit for your affordable web design project
Hiring any affordable web design company can be a grueling experience if you don’t choose the right fit for your project (and budget). We’ve heard horror stories from our clients about past web developer experiences. From lost money, to lost motivation, we’ve heard it all.
Typically, the story begins with “I was working with a limited budget and I needed an affordable web design company that would get it done right, for the price I could afford”.
A thousand dollars in, and the company or freelancer becomes unresponsive or worse, starts introducing new costs as time goes on.
Well… there’s hope. Affordable web design doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and today you shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get a lot in return. We compiled 8 questions you should be asking before you start your next website project. Do this and you’ll find yourself with a low cost website and a great experience to share.
1. Will you be using a Content Management System to build my website?
What is a Content Management System (CMS)?
A CMS helps makes management of an affordable web design much easier. Popular CMS’s like WordPress also have huge developer networks supporting them. This means that developers have created all sorts of additional functionality that can be installed directly into your website. Things like calendars, forms and social media icons can be added simply by installing these “plugins”. A great web designer who truly wants to help keep your website as low cost as possible will leverage these plugins whenever they can.
Why should you have a CMS?
If a web developer does not use a CMS to build your website, and instead builds it with something like HTML, updates and edits to your new web page will be a nightmare (unless you know code). A website created with just HTML and CSS will be the most inexpensive website up-front, and in the long-run, you will have to call the developer for almost every edit you want to make after the site has launched. With every edit your developer will likely charge you more money. This is not recommended, and your affordable web design that originally cost $500 has now become a $5,000 website in just a couple years.
Choosing the right CMS is the most important part of your website project. It will be the foundation of your website, and switching from one CMS to another later down the road will be an expensive pain in the ass!
My recommendation – choose WordPress. We have used WordPress to build over 500 websites for clients worldwide. We consider ourselves WordPress experts.
2. Will my website be built for conversion?
What is conversion?
Conversion is simply the act of transforming a website visitor, into a paying customer or valuable lead.
There is no point having visitors on your site if you don’t get anything out of them.
It is very important that your web designer understand who your market is, and the best way to convert them. An affordable web design, built right, will include various call to action areas to help convert visitors into valuable clients and customers.
Ask your web design candidates what they know about website conversion. Ask them if they have a reference that can verify their understanding and implementation of good conversion techniques.
With the right web design partner, an affordable web design can easily convert visitors to clients. You shouldn’t have to pay a lot to have a website that works for you.
3. Do you offer technical management once the site launches?
Does a website need to be updated?
The short answer is “yes!”
Updates are released for different reasons. Some releases are simply to improve the user experience and make things easier. Others are important fixes to issues that were discovered somewhere along the way. If your website is not updated regularly, you run the risk of being hacked, hijacked, and embarrassed.
When you are searching for the right web designer, make sure they offer some sort of affordable maintenance plan. If they don’t, find someone to manage your site after it launches.
Management of your website should not cost hundreds of dollars each month. It should cost $50/mo or less. If your affordable web design candidate does offer this service, get a price set in stone and find out what the plan entails.
4. How easy will it be to edit my website on my own?
Why do you need a website you can edit yourself?
Remember when our grandparents used to tell us about going on a date in 1950 when the movie was a nickel and a hot dog was a penny? Imagine if that movie theater had a website and never updated their prices. Businesses change. Prices change. As a company evolves, so should your website. Changes to photos, text, pricing and products are important.
If you are not able to make these types of changes on your own, the affordable web design company you hired will become very expensive, simply charging you an arm and a leg to make simple edits.
The right web design company will offer tutorial videos or some kind of customer support. The best form of support is a support forum, as they allow for open communication. If you can’t reach your web designer instantly, check their forum. The question has likely been asked before.
5. Will I be able to add things like videos and pages?
There are 3 ways to create a WordPress Website
1. Custom Page Templates
Custom page templates allow clients to manage their website content easier, without the risk of messing up layout and other content. It is a great way to go IF you don’t mind a heftier price tag, and not having options for changing layout on your own later. Personally, I don’t recommend this. Although you will end up with a nice looking website, it won’t be as flexible as you want in the future.
Today, websites must be created to look good on all devices. This includes tablets and smartphones. Shortcodes are simplified code bits that allows a developer to control things like content layout easily. They are simple to use, and generally save a little money up front because no custom coding is required. The downside is – it makes editing content painstakingly sucky.
Most shortcodes for things like columns require that you don’t delete them. You have to be very cautious not to delete part of the shortcode. If you do, the layout of your content on that page will revert to looking like a word document. No more columns, no more mobile ready. This is another development method I do not recommend.
3. Drag and Drop
Today, most companies like SquareSpace and Wix offer drag and drop editing flexibility. Although I would not recommend these for building a site on your own, they offer ease of editing. WordPress also has these options. A smart web design company will use a drag and drop editor for making website editing easier. Adding this should not cost any additional money. You should be able to get an affordable web design with this feature built in. So ask for it. Being able to edit your website on your own is very important.
6. Will my website be responsive?
What is responsive design?
Responsive design simply means you can have a single website that looks good on all devices. Depending on the visitors browser, the content will arrange itself to be optimally laid out in the browser window. More on responsive web design.
Can I edit a responsive design?
Absolutely yes. If the design company or freelancer you are working with builds responsive websites, editing content should be able to be done by you. How easy it is to edit depends on how they coded your website. Any well built, affordable web design should be easy to edit. Take a look at #4 for more information.
There is no reason why you should pay more to have features that are often very quick to install into a website. Choose an affordable web design partner that has your best interests in mind.
7. Do you include SEO services or tools?
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search Engine Optimization is just what it sounds like. It is optimizing your website to appear better in search engine results, mainly Google. Although it is a rather simple explanation, SEO is not a simple process.
Good SEO takes time, patience, and research. If you are considering a company that is offering SEO included in the final price, politely turn down their offer. Real SEO takes strategy and planning. It takes work, month after month to increase search result visibility. There is absolutely no way a web design company can offer SEO services included in a fixed price, and make much of a dent in your ranking results. Typically, an affordable website is less expensive than the SEO services that accompany it.
Instead, find out if the affordable web design company you are considering includes SEO tools built into the site. If you are using WordPress, these will be free additions and should cost you no additional money. These Search Engine Optimization Tools will allow you to do basic onsite SEO, as well as submit your site to major search engines.
8. Do you offer a refund
This is the all important question, and the answer is often “NO”.
If a web design company, or freelancer stands behind their work, they should be able to offer a limited guarantee. We offer a 30-day money back guarantee once the site launches. This gives enough time for us to get a website online that is going to start immediately generating results and good press.
An affordable web design company that cares about your success, will not have a problem offering some sort of guarantee. After-all, your success is our success!
Before starting your new website project, or working with an affordable web design company, think about these 6 points above. Understanding what makes good web design will put you a step ahead of your competitors, and it will help you save money during the web design process.
Good luck with your website. Let us know how we can help you kick ass!