Should I Hire a Professional Web Design Firm to Create my Website?

In today’s digital-driven world, every business requires a website. When looking to buy, consumers are heading first to their computers to research and educate themselves on the products and services they seek as well as seeking advice and guidance from others via social networking sites.

Consider a recent online consumer study conducted by Harris Interactive® that found that “… 48% of U.S. adults online say that they are now conducting more online transactions than they did in the past given the current economic climate.” Regardless if your goal is to generate leads, build your brand awareness or simply provide easy-access to important information, a website is now a vital necessity and link in the buying process for organizations large and small.

Given that your website is likely the first impression most prospects will encounter, you need to ensure it positions your brand, offerings and benefits in the best light. As the saying goes– you don’t get a second chance to make a favorable first impression. According to Comscore, most visitors will spend less than 20 seconds on a website determining if you can solve their problems or needs—if not—they move on. Therefore, your website must convey your value proposition in a concise, professional and user friendly manner or risk loosing credibility—and ultimately customers.

A website that that fails is one that is not easy to navigate, does not provide relevant, up-to-date information, or does not adequately convey the benefits of your organization will impact your organization’s effectiveness to convert visitors into prospects and customers. Below are the top 8 website mistakes:

1. Page errors – Usually occur with “build-it-yourself” websites when people try to create their own website without having adequate knowledge of the technology they are implementing.

2. Broken links or incorrect 401 redirects – You click on a link and it takes you to an error page.

3. Browser incompatibility – All browsers are not created equal. Only a skilled webmaster will know the ins and outs of all the different web browsers that your customers will be using.

4. Slow download times – The use of dated technology, or the incorrect use of current technology could cause a person to leave your website because it takes to long to appear in their browser.

5. Ineffective site architecture – People cannot find what they are looking for.

6. Outdated or lack of content – Your website must contain relevant and compelling content to keep visitors coming back and converting into customers. Frequent updates and keyword rich content is important for optimal placement on major search engines. It is as important to plan and budget for updates and SEO as it is to create a website in order to effectively rank in users’ search queries on major search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and Bing.

7. Poorly optimized site – A website that is not optimized in the major search engines will not be found. Your website is one of the most powerful tools you have to let your potential customers know about your company and the services or products you provide. Eighty percent of websites on are currently underperforming—what steps must your organization undertake to ensure your website is not one of them?

8. Website not set up for mobile devices – Have you ever tried to open a website on a mobile phone only to find that it is scrambled up or you need a magnifying glass to read what it says? Every company needs a mobile website which will allow people to view the website in a mobile-friendly version.

Sage advice states that “you get what you pay for. “ While there are companies that advertise websites as low as $99.00–buyer beware. Often times these “cheap” sites will impact your organization’s bottom line including:

  • Overall design fails to convey your business as a professional or credible
  • Lack sufficient usability or functionality leading to high abandonment rates
  • Designs impact your website load time
  • Content is not accessible to be properly indexed by search engine robots

While an inexpensive website may seem like an attractive option at first, it’s important to factor in that a decision to save money in the short term will cost you more in the long term. Most companies whom invest in this approach ultimately are forced to redesign their website. This is money down the drain, not to mention the loss of potential customers and sales. Don’t fall prey to that mistake. Take the time to investigate all of your options and understand the impact to your business when choosing a website technology partner.

Therefore choosing the right web technology partner is one of the most important decisions you will make to help your organization achieve its goals. Understanding what to look for in a technology partner is a crucial first step to ensure a successful working relationship as well as positive and productive results long term. Here are a few questions to consider when reviewing prospective companies bidding for your business:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What is their client retention rate? Can they provide you with recent and past references?
  • How responsive are they to your request for proposal (RFP)?
  • If they are providing hosting services, how secure is your website? How often is your data backed up?
  • What type of customer support services do they provide?
  • Will they be able to support your technology needs as your business grows and changes?
  • Do they provide e-Commerce, communications tools, web content management solutions (CMS), or customized software solutions or are they merely a design company?

Affordable Web Design, and its partner companies at Hammerweb Holdings, LLC are full-service web technology companies and have 20 years’ experience in helping clients build successful web presences. Call us today for a free consultation. 1-866-892-6822