For a small business or sole trader now, having a website is a must. But budgets are usually tight and the choices for procuring a website are huge. And with so much choice, where does one start? So as Web Design is my thing (and Marketing my background) I’m offering some helpful advice borne of experience and four years in the game. Here’s how you can find high quality AND affordable web design services for your business.
So, how DO you find Affordable Web Design of a High Calibre?
I recommend using the google search engine (as it has a huge share of the user market) and searching ‘affordable web design’. It will bring up a mixture of designers/agencies that lead with being ‘affordable’, some will be local to you (google does this automatically these days) and some will be larger national agencies. This will also bring up Web Designers that are good at, and practice effective search engine optimisation.
Now you have your raw results list, it’s time to sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’.
Is *their* website of good quality?
Look at web designer’s website, does it tick the Quality Website boxes (above)
Does their portfolio look good & ‘the real deal’?
Scrutinise their portfolio, does the previous work look professional? Does it link to the actual website? If so, is the design the same? I’ve found some that link but the client has actually had their website redesigned by someone else! Some think it bad policy to have any links on a website that take a visitor away from your website (I disagree with this, but I always set it so a new tab opens an external link) so this shouldn’t necessarily ring warning bells. But I would recommend trying to find at least 2 of the websites listed on the portfolio page.
Are their Testimonials real?
Firstly, are the Testimonials glowing? And after that, are they real? Do the authors of the testimonials look legitimate? Are both, first name & surname included along with the business name? Are the names ‘in word’ format or mentioned on an image? Any testimonial author should be able to be found by a search engine; in other words, if I gave a testimonial, I should be able to find it when I google ‘Cathy Rowson’, if it’s hidden then it could well be fraudulent. If only first names are given this should trigger a red flag. You need to know that these people are real and that they have said what has been claimed.
Select 3 or 4 Web Designers that claim to be affordable and have passed the test (so far).
They may or may not state their pricing on their website. So the first question you’re going to need to ask them about is pricing to find out if they really offer affordable web design services.
– The entire cost of design
– The amount required up front (should not be more than half)
– What will the hosting charges be (for a small website these should be no more than £10p/m) – Plus: Obtain contract & read before spending any money – check contract is easy to understand with no ambiguous phrasing & there are no ‘catches’ or hidden charges