Having the Long View with Web Design...
There are many schools of thought when it comes to web design - but before you ask somebody to start making a website for you, ask whether or not they have these five important skills.
1) Do they Understand Marketing?
A good web design agency has a marketing department that understands which types of websites are most effective for any given type of business.
Put simply, it doesn't really matter how good your website looks if it isn't improving your bottom line - and the people who understand that best are the ones who regularly deal with the marketing aspect of websites, not just their creation. Make sure the design agency you choose will work with you to create a website that fits into an inbound marketing campaign that entices visitors into your sales pipeline.
2) Do They understand Content Management Systems?
Most business websites are built using Content Management Systems like WordPress, which remains an excellent choice for the majority of businesses. By unifying the development of coding, themes, and features, it's possible for businesses to affordably add various features to each site.
A good web design agency knows what additional features are available, how each one can help your business, and what kind of setup can offer you the highest return on your investment.
They can also tell you which Content Management Systems are best for your needs. There are differences between the platforms, and that's something you'll want to take into account before deciding which one to use.
It is also possible to have a website coded from scratch, but you'll want to understand the pros and cons of a custom CMS and how it would stack up against a platform such as WordPress. Make sure your web design services agency is knowledgeable enough to have that conversation with you.
3) Do They know the importance of responsive design?
Responsive website design - which allows the site to be adjusted on the fly and display properly on everything from desktop computers to smartphones - is a must for any website.
In 2009, just 0.7% of online web searches were conducted on mobile devices. Since 2017, mobile searches have accounted for more than half of all website searches worldwide and that number continues to grow. If your website isn't designed for mobile devices, it is rapidly becoming dated and obsolete.
By ensuring a responsive web design, an agency can maximize your reach and ensure that as many leads as possible
4) Do They have a graphic design team?
If you look at a platform like WordPress, the first thing you're likely to notice is how attractive all the website designs are...
and this can make it seem like you don't need a graphic designer to provide some custom material for your site. Seriously, just look at some of these fabulous designs.
Unfortunately, many companies get distracted by the attractiveness of these themes and don't realize that most of these themes are meant to be changed and customized to suit their specific needs.
A good graphic designer will take the design of the site as a base of inspiration, then expand on it in ways that will benefit your business.
Graphic designers will also be able to help you create custom graphics, have a practiced eye for choosing great imagery for your site, and also be able to guide you in branding so that you can create a cohesive look for your website and all of your other marketing materials.
5) Do They understand SEO and conversion?
Finally, going hand-in-hand with #1 above, a good web design agency truly understands Search Engine Optimization and what it takes to convert visitors into paying customers. I cannot over-emphasize how important it is that the site be designed around these principles.
Agencies that understand this principle aren't trying to impress you with a beautiful but hard-to-use site. Instead, they're focused on helping you achieve your goals with a website that attracts and converts your target audience and helps your business grow and thrive.
Thanks for stopping by,
Editor's note: Originally published in 2016, this blog has been edited and updated in October 2018.