What to Expect When Designing Your Website
When the time comes for a website re-design, or you need a new website, the process can seem intimidating. You may think to yourself, “I can do it myself!” and while this may be true, it may not be the best use of your time or a long-term solution for the success of your business.
Find a Web Design Agency
Websites are more than words and pretty pictures. If you want your site to be found by search engines like Google, there are a lot of other technical requirements that need to be completed to make this a reality. There are also likely more important things you need to tend to while growing the business.
With over 100 map listing pages for the keyword “Website Design in Calgary” (search as of August 9th, 2018), selecting the right web design agency can seem like a daunting task of its own. We recommend meeting with at least 3 agencies either over the phone or in person before selecting your design team. Review online reviews, ask for copies of the contract for review and do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Trust your gut and remember, cheaper isn’t always better. It is important that you like, trust and see value in the offering, and the agency before moving forward and agreeing to a website proposal.
When you are preparing to meet with potential web designers in Calgary, it is a good idea to browse some competitor sites beforehand to get an idea of what the baseline standard is for your industry. This is also a great way to capture pieces that you like and do not like and give the agency an idea of what your looking for in terms of layout, design and the features. The opportunities are endless, and it is important not to overwhelm yourself with too many details; a good agency will know what is mandatory and what you can live without. Too many bells and whistles can distract from your message.
If you have any current promotional materials, branding, a logo, or general concept in mind, bring these along to your first consultation meeting or send via email before. This will allow the team to see your vision and make it easier to blend it all together to create a successful web design that converts visitors into sales.
You will be presented with a sample set of WordPress themes; these are general layouts and can be further customized to suit your needs. Consider these for look, feel and function only as this is not the final cut. The professional web designers will ensure your site is not a cookie cutter but specific to your brand and messaging. While there are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from, most Calgary Web Design Firms will only provide 2-3 options to avoid overwhelming you with choices. However, if you’re not a fan of the ones presented, feel free to ask for a few more. There are always supplementary web themes to choose from. If the firm refuses to show you any additional themes or makes a fuss about it, consider moving on to the next agency on your list. By using a theme instead of starting from scratch, the web team is saving themselves (and you!) many hours that it would take to build out the underlying structure of the website. Think of it like getting your dream home; it's a lot faster and less expensive to choose a house and renovate it, rather than start with no foundation at all.
Web Design Features and Benefits
Most service websites have a 5-page design, this include the home page, a services page, a pricing page or about us page, a blog and a contact page with a form. Sub-pages are usually individual services pages that go into more detail. This is the design most people are comfortable with navigating which means your customers will know what page they need to visit for the information they seek, be less likely to bounce (leave the site) and increase your average time on page.
We recommend clients add a testimonial showcase of Google reviews above the fold on the home page. When we say “above the fold,” this is typically the area shown when you land on a web page and does not require scrolling. If you have not started collecting Google reviews for your company, now it a great time to get started. You may seek out current customers, past customers and family and friends who have used your services. Reviews act as social proof and influences consideration.
Before you sign on the dotted line, it is crucial to confirm that your site will be responsive and mobile friendly. This requires special web design that makes web pages render on a variety of devices, windows or mobile screen sizes. Webpages that are mobile-friendly rank higher in mobile searches than those that are not. The speed in which a website loads will also factor into where it ranks in mobile search results.
Optional Web Features and Benefits
While the above features are necessary for a successful online presence, there are additions that will increase the likelihood of users sticking around, clicking through for additional information and converting into customers.
You can choose to add in-depth pages for each of your services, installation or process details, photos of your work and warranties. The possibilities are endless. Just remember to save some information to share with them over the remainder of the customer journey.
Effectively used, images drive traffic to your website, promote social sharing and drive business goals such as sales. If your unable to hire a professional photographer, adding stock photos is a great option to bring life to your content, convey your message and improve search engine optimization efforts.
While the exact perfect word count per page is not an exact science, we recommend adding between 400-1500 words per page. This ensures that you provide enough information for your clients to make an informed decision when considering you as a service provider. This should include actionable content for your customers and will help with your search engine optimization efforts.
Once your service website is built and converting visitors, the next step is working to improve your local organic search engine ranking on Google with off page SEO techniques and an effective link building strategy. While this requires a lot of time, patience and consistency, the payoff can be significant!
Website Maintenance and Security
Wrong! Now, it's time to update it!
Websites are not a one-time set-and-forget activity. They require consistent updating and monitoring with ongoing optimization. As your business evolves, so will your website. With a web maintenance subscription - included in most of our web developments, you can ensure your customers are receiving the most current, relevant information, pricing and content related to your industry. Your plugins will not crash or cause errors for visitors, comments will not go un-attended and Google will reward you accordingly.
Once your site is online, we will assist with your content strategy and make improvements to make sure that it continues to deliver a return on your investment.
Now that you know what to expect when building your website, the essential elements and value-added options, it’s time to get started building. Simply reach out to us via email or phone for your no-obligation website consultation, review our custom recommendations and ask all your questions to get your website built in as little as 1 week.
With accessible pricing building your dream website has never been easier!