Selecting a company that will provide you with affordable web site design services can be crucial to many small businesses. Web marketing is increasing in importance more and more each year for both local marketing and national marketing strategies. But it also seems that the prices for such services are increasing more and more also making it difficult to find an affordable solution. So we have put together five easy steps to help you do your homework and find the ideal firm for your small business.
The first step when embarking on this type of project is to define your web site needs. You could start off by establishing a set of goals that you want your website to obtain. With those goals in mind begin to determine what you think you will need to have done on your website. Below are some example ideas to help you get started:
• If you are starting from scratch you will of course need a design for your site. If you already have a site, does it need to be re-designed for ease of use or to make it more appealing to visitors?
• Will your site need any special functionality to help you meet your goals. This could include adding videos, audio, photo gallery, email form, animation, ecommerce or database application. Ecommerce refers to selling items from your website and database applications are used for collecting, storing, and interacting with data online.
• Will you need web hosting for your site or do you have a web server “in-house”?
• Will you want your site promoted on the search engines with search engine optimization or with a pay-per-click service?
• Will you need email services and if so how many accounts will you need?
• Do you plan to manage the site’s content and features yourself or will you want the web site company to manage it for you?
Be sure to put these needs in writing on the computer and use as much detail as possible. It will help you communicate with potential web designers and help them provide you with accurate, affordable pricing.
There are three ways that we recommend to begin to locate companies that provide affordable small business web page design. The first way is to use our web pages. We strategically construct our site’s content to attract Google ads from businesses that provide affordable web design, hosting and SEO for small businesses. Because of that Google feeds ads to our site that match our target content providing you with one of the best searching methods to find affordable web design service providers for small business. This is true throughout our site on the different topics that we discuss.
The second way we recommend is to talk to your business connections and find out which companies other people are using to create their online presence. Ask them the big questions about affordability and if they cater to the needs of small businesses. Your local chamber of commerce would be a great place to make valuable connections and give you opportunity to talk with others about their sites and find out if they are happy with the firm that created them.
The third way to find an affordable web design company would be to do a search on one of the major search engines like Google. You can type in very specific keywords and you can type in a locality as well if you are concerned about working with a local company.
Once you have a list of potential companies start off with a phone call to each one. Be sure to have a list of questions ready that will help you narrow down your options before taking the time to meet with each one. Some of the big questions you will want to ask prior to setting up a meeting would include asking about their pricing to see if they are affordable for you, inquiring about their technical abilities and if they can deliver the type of site you need and finally ask them why they think you should consider them for your project. This will usually allow you will find out what they think is important as a company and may give you a big clue if they cater to small businesses.
You can learn a lot about a company by reading their web site. The home page will typically tell you what type of client they fit best with. You should look for things like “small business”, “affordable pricing” or see good pricing featured.
Also look for their portfolio page. You will be able to get an idea of the design quality they offer and if they offer a nice variety of design styles. The other think to look for on this page is if the listed websites are for small businesses. This is another good indication of their focus.
Finally check to see if they build their sites according to the current web standards as established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3). This will help increase the possibility that you will get a quality site that will perform well on visitors’ computers and if optimized, will have a better chance to perform well on the search engines.
Once you have narrowed your list, set up appointments to meet with each of them for a short meeting. Once again prepare a list of questions that you will want to have answered by the potential designers. Share with them the details and goals of your project and ask them for a detailed proposal to do the project.
There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself during and after the meeting. The first is, are they a good listener? Can they listen to you without interrupting and then give you feedback that matches what you told them? Good listening helps to assure that they can deliver what you need and not what they want to give you.
Secondly, were you able to connect and relate with them? Do they share some of your same values? This is important because you will have a lot of interaction with them both during and hopefully after the project is completed. If you detect inflexibility or personality conflicts in your first meeting they will most likely characterize the ongoing working relationship.
Finally, review and compare your short list of options after meeting each of them. You should now be in a position to make a well-informed decision that will connect you with a company to provide you with affordable web design for a small business.
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