Do I need a new website? The Big Surf Media Website Development Explainer

Here are some common questions about Website Development

Do I need a new
website?

Do I need a Website?

Did you know that it is 2018 and about 60% of small businesses do not have a website? If your business falls into that category, you’ve put your business at a great disadvantage. Every business needs a website because a website can be your greatest asset. The website is the center stage of your online presence and branding.

Social Media profiles are websites by definition, but they aren’t business websites. Social media is a great tool for showcasing your company culture and engaging with your customers; but these social platforms come with great limitations of creating a customer journey or marketing funnel. Not to mention that 48% of users cited web design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business.   

What is Responsive Design & Why is it Important?

Responsive web design will optimize your website to perfectly lay out on screens of multiple devices. It prevents having to maintain two separate websites (desktop & mobile versions).

Over the past 2 years, mobile is on the rise and Google continues to roll out mobilegeddon. However, despite the ample warnings, websites fail to become mobile-friendly. If your business has yet to adapt a responsive web design to become mobile friendly, it’s time to stop procrastinating because according to a recent Mobile vs Desktop Usage Study comparing 2017 to 2016…

  • The % of visits from mobile devices grew from 57% to 63%.
  • The % of time on site from mobile devices grew from 40% to 49%.

Failing to adapt could result in the worse case scenario of becoming non-listed on Google or becoming outranked by competitors. Unsure if you website is not mobile friendly, test it with Google’s Mobility Test.

What Should a Website Do?

Your website should influence users to take action.

  • Influence users to fill out a form for further information
  • Influence users to sign up for a newsletter
  • Influence users to download a resource
  • Influence users to read your content
  • Influence users to make a purchase
  • Influence users to make a phone call
  • Influence users to visit your store
  • Influence users to return to the website later

Whatever your business goal may be, your website should clearly deliver the right message to influence that action. Not every customer journey is linear, but every business should optimize for conversions and constantly analyzing for improvement.

Signs your website needs a refresh

One does not need to possess the detective skills of Sherlock Holmes to discover an outdated website. Here are questions to ask about your website.

  • Does the website have long and unattractive URLs?
  • Are there 404 pages and broken links?
  • Are there empty image boxes?
  • Is the website in sync with the branding?
  • Does the site contain outdated information?
  • Are the broken and visual <tags>?
  • Is the site not mobile-friendly?
  • Does the site not have SEO best practices?
  • Are the landing pages unappealing? Cluttered?
  • Is your bounce rate over 70%?
  • Are users spending less time on the website?
  • Are users not converting?
  • Does the website takes too long to load?
  • Has it been a few years since it’s last design?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, a web design refresh or maintenance plan may be worth considering.

Why Hire a Professional Web Design Company?

The website is the central source of your business’ brand identity and messaging. Relying on DIY website builders sacrifices your business’ distinctiveness from others using the same tools. A website design company excels at creating a distinctive and unique online identity. Everything from color schemes, overlays, and positioning is accounted for to best perform on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.

Web design agencies have the advantage of taking an idea/vision and crafting them into reality. These web designers have the first hand knowledge of knowing what elements work and which to avoid. Most businesses can’t afford to wager their business’ success on cookie cutter sites from DIY website builders. If you provide a quality product or service, your site must mirror that quality by setting an upscale tone. Not to mention, DIY website builders can handicap any future marketing services such as SEO in the future with their limitations.

Why is content important?

Content is the core to premium user experiences. All content should be original, engaging, and provide the user with a takeaway (whether educational or influential). Content has become more than just text, as video and infographics have become more apparent. Google loves content, fresh content too.

Too often business owners decline professional copy-writing or content marketing packages because of mis-perceived value. Of course the business owner (or employee) contains a wealth of knowledge in their respected industry, but …

  • Are they writing to their ideal customer?
  • Is the language too advanced or too technical?
  • Are they using the right keywords?  

Content is key to discovery, education, and providing credibility. It’s a controlled message and become a clear distinction between your business and your competitors.  

How many pages should my website have?

There is no formula for calculating how many pages a website should have as there are many factors such as your business goals, competitor’s websites, industry average, towns you service, service/products you offer, etc. A professional web design will lay out a sitemap considering all of those factors while considering the customer journey and your budget.

The role of web design in a digital marketing strategy

We cannot stress how important the web design is in any marketing strategy. The objective for most marketing services is to bring users who have expressed interest in what you offer to your website. Bringing users to a site with no further next steps, ends the customer journey cycle and makes your marketing services ineffective.  

Imagine throwing a party. The invitations are your marketing services, but your website is the food, drink, decorations, venue, party favors, and all the other festivities combined. You’ve attracted your guests (users) and as the host your website is entertain them. Impress them with fresh food (content) to stay at the party and become a regular guest (loyal customer).

How much does a website cost?

The cost of a website is variable as there are many factors.

  • How many pages is the site going to be?
    • Do those pages have content?
      • Do those pages need updated or expanded content?
  • Does a domain need to be purchased?
  • Does the design need to equip special features?
    • Event Calendar
    • Custom Calculators
    • Online Booking Feature
  • Does the designer need to purchase stock photos?
    • Does the designer need to provide photo/image editing?
  • Does the designer need to design a logo?
    • Does the designer need to create custom graphics?
  • Any third-party integrations?
    • CRM Integration
    • Email Marketing Integration
  • Does the site need e-commerce functionality?
    • How many products?
      • Are they variable products?
  • Does the site design need to be expedited?
  • Does the designer need to purchase hosting services?
  • Is site migration included?
  • Is there any monthly maintenance fees attached?

Every project is unique, which makes it different to generate a fixed cost to build a website. Big Surf Media offers competitively priced web design services.

How Long Does it Take to Design a Website?

You’ve invested in updating your website, now how long will it take before it’s live? A professional web designer should provide you with an anticipated timeline highlighting major milestones throughout the process. Communication with your designer is critical throughout the project, as the timeline should include designed times to review the site’s process together to gather feedback and hone out any revisions.

If the company is providing SEO best practices, the timeline will designate time to properly optimize the aesthetics of the site. Testing and debugging the site is recommended to diagnose and fix any issues before launch. Site migration is unpredictable as the bulk of the migration is out of the web designer’s hands and relies on the online servers to handle the exchange.

Do Hosting Providers Matter?

Your hosting provider is the motor that keeps your website up and running. Having cheap hosting is similar to using cheap oil. It will help the vehicle run, but it may cause issues in the future. Electing for cheap hosting typically leads to longer intervals of unexplained downtime, poor customer service, slower load times, and greater chances of a security breach.

Big Surf Media offers web hosting with SSL certificates and maintenance packages to ensure your website loads faster, minimizes downtime, and is secure against cyber attacks.

Still need help? Send us a note!

Or call us at (609) 272-7437

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