Companies (still) need guidance and ways to properly represent / position themselves – and the web is the current channel that allows for an expansive and self-guided experience. The traditional company website has been recognized as an inexpensive vehicle to consistently express themselves (who they are, what they do, and what problems they solve). The more content companies produce, the more likely they will be discovered (via search engines) or recognized (via social media).
It wasn’t that much different 20 years ago, where websites were personal forms of expression, allowing individuals and groups to assemble their thoughts and share them with whoever was online. They used this vast, virtual free space as a medium to express themselves – and educate / influence others along the way.
It didn’t take long for small businesses (commerce) to recognize this new medium, and harness this new power to serve their needs. Many organizations continue to fall short of crafting the right (and true) company offering that customers need to know in order to feel good about selecting their brand (either to evaluate or outright buy).
In either case, influence over algorithms as well as persuasive techniques are at play, so working with the right web design firm to use their creativity and expertise to help increase brand awareness and ultimately package the story into a compact, story based web design on behalf of their clients makes a ton of sense.
It’s not to say that the average organization is unable to accomplish building a focused and effective website on their own. It’s just more convenient to use a web design firm, rather than spending the precious time (and dollars) in figuring it out for themselves.
Today, a website (or web application) is the default method people will use to learn more about what an organization has to offer, and why they matter. Because technology has advanced at such an incredible clip, off-the-shelf or templated options make it easy to build a website. Architecting content outlines, dreaming up deeper narratives and applying them to modern layouts is what you are essentially paying a reliable web design firm for.
The really good web design firms are focused on an industry or category, where your organization is more likely to succeed with them. There are exceptions, of course. That’s why many smaller web design agencies prefer to rely on traditional website design best practices or web standards, so that they can lean on universally accepted website design and development principles that typically have a tendency to work.
What are the elements of good website design?
Sitemap: Helps to best organize and categorize content for people that you must influence. Thinking of top-level and secondary categories now, will support long-term content development efforts – as your search engine optimized website continues to grow and expand over time.
User Personas: Developing user profiles frames an understanding of function and purpose – but more importantly, empathy. Uncovering customer jobs, pains and gains for each customer type, and then framing the appropriate messaging and user friendly designs to support those needs is the better approach.
Wireframes: Before building a house, it helps to visualize what will go into each room. Things do shift during flight, and not everything goes as planned, but this helps to get alignment (and agreement) with internal and external stakeholders as to structure and direction.
Design: Lately, most custom website design firms have been using a combination of moodboards and rapid design prototypes to give the client some stylistic indication of what the design is eventually going to look like.
The more experienced web design firms tend to think of design as more than just fonts, photos and colors (visual decoration). Design is the total package. It’s the layout, it’s the interplay of the words and headings, it’s how the page responds as you interact with desktop and mobile devices. It’s the total experience.
What distinguishes a high quality web design and development agency from a mediocre one is how deeply they involve the client during the design process. Clients become active participants in creating something tangible together. Most clients truly enjoy the education as well as the ui / ux design process.
They also like that there are no surprises and that their opinions are heard. But at the end of the day, a cutting edge visual design firm takes a multitude of success factors into account, and synthesizes it into something that will solve their branding, marketing or communication problems.
This is a tough act, since without careful steering and guidance, clients can easily take over the reigns, thereby morphing into a nightmare scenario for both parties, and end up art directing the whole damn thing themselves. What a wasted opportunity to leverage a firm’s talent and expertise!
Content Management: Organizations need control. Many of them need something light-weight, easy to use and easy to maintain. Many web design firms leverage WordPress as their default CMS, but can integrate into other platforms as well.
WordPress is open source, and many clients are informed enough to ask for this by name. Most web design firms can set things up fairly easily in WordPress, and migrate a designed website to support a ton of structured data (products, news, blog posts, etc). The thoughtful ones will also take that data, insert and style on behalf of the client as part of the project. Many firms don’t do that, or if they do, will charge a premium to do it.
Which company is best for website design services?
When seeking out a reliable website design company, they should be able to:
- solve your problem.
- make the entire process enjoyable.
- offer you their best ideas.
- treat you like a trusted partner, and tell it to you straight.
- not shortchange you – or take damaging shortcuts.
- make clean code, so it’s easy to maintain and follow.
- show you how to maintain your site, because they care about how they leave things.
- correct the problems that they created.
- make sure they do a good job, tell the truth and do what they say they are going to do.
- make your project a priority and notify you of schedule shifts during the project process.
- hold you accountable, so they can give you amazing service and work.
Thankfully, there are plenty of online directories that list qualified website design vendors. Directories like Clutch.co do a fantastic job of ranking web design firms based on areas of focus and their ability to deliver.
Why should I hire a digital marketing company?
Digital marketing is essential to influence customers – once the website or web app has been built. Tactics to try and influence search engines have historically been seen as nothing more than modern day snake-oil salesmanship.
Because of this, digital marketing companies have to be extremely careful about how they translate steady, repeatable tasks into tangible results. There are correlations to properly developing a website, and influencing search engine position positively. Not only will you then get a “pretty, and organized” site, but also the the added benefits of a properly built website that search engines will ascribe value to.
Either they are anointed on organic listings, or they pay their way to get there. In either case, users are seeking out information – and they trust these filters, whether it be an algorithm like Google or humans (friends and colleagues on social media channels).
Digital marketing is still relatively cheap in comparison to other marketing channels, and the ability to measure results (whether good or bad) is what is appealing to most businesses.
Good digital marketing agencies have deep experience working in a variety of popular digital platforms (like Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, Hubspot and Salesforce.com), along with a host of other supporting services like HotJar, CrazyEgg, LeadPages, Unbounce, HootSuite and MailChimp. Knowing how to properly setup and manage such platforms, as well as articulate performance to strategy is a huge value you should come to expect.
Again, most organizations are not familiar with, nor have the experience or resources to administer effective digital marketing programs. Most assume they need to be on the top-ten list, where the elusive search query occurs, however most are baffled by how to get there exactly.
In most cases, good digital marketing agencies find creative ways to achieve position, saturation and overall exposure into the right channels (at the right time). They tend to open up new markets and/or customer relationships, all by pairing them up to the right keyword phrases or influencers.
Imagine entering into new markets, just by being present / visible when at the right time, then back up claims with an effective, professional and persuasive website that positively influences people to take action. That sequence of events from intent (keywords) to presentation (website) is what makes websites and digital marketing services a powerful combination.
Which company provides quality website design services?
First and foremost, there needs to be a fit.
If there is a fit, and your organization wants unvarnished, real guidance, then you should hire a website design firm. If you want someone to actively listen, understand and devise a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that will make an impact, then working with a local web design company may be ideal. If you need a quick and easy way to get your story packaged, presented and prepared for the web, then you should use a self-service website building platform like Squarespace or Weebly.
If you want to maintain or grow your organic rankings as well as your social media channels, you should hire a digital marketing company, since that type of service has become much more complex and specialized over the years.
Ultimately, if you want to work with passionate professionals that know exactly what they are doing and are able to consistently deliver fantastic service (and outcomes), then you should reach out to us. We have a strong network, and would be happy to introduce your organization to a few reputable full service strategy design and digital marketing firms.