Finding the right company to design and build your website is a tough process of elimination. Like all other industries, there are thousands of companies that offer website development services, albeit for a wide range of prices and an even wider variety of service quality. One of the most important marketing decisions for small business owners is how much to spend on hiring a web developer and more importantly how to ensure it's the right company.
In this short article, we will help you figure out -
However, before we can point you in the right direction it's important to prepare a bit before speaking with any web designers or web development companies. This isn't to say you don't know enough already, but preparing will help you immensely. Over half of our clients at WebRenew hired us after spending thousands of dollars on digital marketing and web developers that didn't work. It's also safe to assume that by having an inadequate web presence, these businesses lost countless dollars in potential revenue because they didn't get it right the first time. The good news is that if you follow these tips, you will likely get it right the first time and not waste time or money.
As obvious as that sounds, it's important to remember that when looking through web developers in Princeton, NJ you will stumble upon thousands of web designers, freelancers, and companies that all sound the same and offer seemingly similar services.
But are they all the same? Of course not!
Some companies market to business owners that want a cheap website - typically for businesses that don't rely on the internet to get leads or engage with clients. If this is your situation, we recommend finding a web development company or freelancer you're comfortable with. In this scenario, your site will likely be a theme with zero custom visual design elements (a cookie-cutter site). Also, don't expect to gain any traffic through Google or other search engines - this is simply a website you can add to your business card to be a little bit more professional.
In contrast, there are other web agencies that offer services to build custom websites and provide continued management to drive search traffic. However, most of these agencies are out of the price range for medium and small businesses. These agencies often charge five figures to launch a new website and will often charge thousands per month to maintain and grow the website's audience.
So what is a good balance between top-tier agencies that charge tens of thousands of dollars and a website mill that churns out very little for cheap?
You need to figure out exactly what you need your website to do - which is all part of a business marketing plan. To explain this think of your marketing plan as an ecosystem to bring relevant potential leads into your buyer funnel or even better Growth Loop.
All businesses, whether selling services or products, rely on getting leads that convert into deals. Your marketing plan must address how you will get leads over time and should look for the most cost-efficient method to do so. If you look at two businesses side-by-side that have the exact same revenue, the leaner business will be more profitable over time. And while it's a necessity to invest in marketing - the best marketing plans invest in tools that will bring in leads organically and will grow over time naturally.
Planning on how your website will fit into your marketing plan isn't super difficult, but it may be better to do so with a professional digital marketing team. You simply need to think of it as your biggest component for reaching the masses.
Important questions to ask yourself -
Answering these questions before speaking with web designers will help you plan your website as a marketing tool instead of a static asset. In our methodology, instead of thinking of your website as simply a 'to-do' on your marketing list and treating the process as a commodity where one-size-fits-alls, you will create a targeted plan to grow your business.
Regardless of your business niche or marketing plan, several features are a must for any business website and will make or break your success.
Speed used to be optional. However, as of Spring 2021, Google openly stated that loading performance would matter for search engine ranking and that slow-loading sites would be penalized. Not to mention every second it takes your website to load will have a direct correlation to your bounce rate. The easiest way to check web speed is with Google's free tool - PageSpeed Insights (also not a bad idea to check the website for any firm you're considering hiring).
Another important tip to remember is that fast websites are built with frameworks and design tools like Webflow, NextJS, or Gatsby versus the outdated PHP/WordPress sites that were popular in the previous decade. Also, hosting can play a huge role in speeding up load times (our favorite CDN is Cloudflare which increases our load time by around 15%). So it's important to see what tools a web design firm uses before hiring them and ensure you're building a scalable website that will stay relevant into the next decade.
Almost half of Google searches will be performed via a Mobile device, which is expected to steadily increase every year. While some businesses in the B2B space may deal with this trend a bit less, it's another component that is a necessity for any website.
When looking for the best website developers, check their portfolio work on your phone in addition to your desktop. The pages should load quickly, be contained to the viewport width, and be intuitive to navigate. Great user interface design is simple and easy for users to find answers to questions.
One other major factor for your website is your on-page content. The text and images should tell your story and highlight your value proposition. A major dilemma many business owners face is that most website companies will not craft your content. While there are exceptions to every rule, we are one of the few firms that will write SEO-friendly content for our clients. So when looking for your perfect web designer, be sure to inquire about who will fulfill this role in creating your website.
Content is often overlooked and thought about as a subcomponent of your website, but in reality, is the core of a great site. Your content should be interesting and helpful, highlight your strengths, and be search engine optimized. The content should speak to buyers at each step of your buyer journey and assist prospects in finding solutions.
At every step of your website, you should be nudging the user to take an action. This could be adding an item to their cart and eventually checking out, filling out a contact form, or booking a product demo. Regardless of your marketing process, the CTA should be readily available and obvious throughout your website. Good rules to stick by are -
While there are many other important components your website and web pages will need, these are by far the most important to plan for before speaking with a web developer.
The biggest question you are probably thinking about now is - how much will a well-designed website cost? While this is an important question, it's only half of the equation.
No matter how great your website is you will have to spend money to grow your audience and ensure you continue to get qualified leads or prospects.
Instead of thinking about the website as an isolated commodity, think about your marketing budget as a whole. Think through how you will get the most leads into your sales funnel for the cheapest and most reliably.
That's a tall order but think of it this way - if you had annual revenue of $100,000 and could invest $10,000 into marketing your business would spending $8,000 on a website be justifiable? Of course not, but what if that site could yield leads for years to come and with very little expense thereafter? Wouldn't it be better to spend the money upfront and reap the benefits thereafter, potentially saving marketing costs for years to come?
There is no one size fits all answer.
Typically the most expensive sites to start with are e-commerce websites, which will typically range from $10,000 to $25,000 depending on the number of products, integrations, and complexity. Whereas a static site for a small business may only cost $1,500 to 3,000.
Just like any other product or service, the more complexity and time it takes to implement will invariably increase the cost.
Finding the best web developer in Princeton, NJ starts with doing your homework. Getting your website right the first time is paramount to saving thousands of dollars in future re-designs or potential missed sales. Avoid treating your website like a commodity, and invest in it as the cornerstone of your well-targeted marketing plan. Take your time to find the best website company and make sure they can deliver exactly what your business needs.