In today’s marketplace, a website is imperative for any business to generate leads, establish credibility, increase brand awareness, and build thought leadership. A website works for you 24/7 and it should be the hub of all your online (and offline) marketing activities. But, before you get started on a new website project for your organization or business, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions about web design.
Q. Do you think I need a new website?
If your website is feeling dated, not functioning as it should, hard to navigate, or more than 5 years old, the answer is most likely, yes! It’s not about having the most bells and whistles, it’s about having a site that is cohesive with your company’s branding and messaging, and is user and mobile-friendly. You want to encourage prospective customers to stay, take a look around, be sold by your awesome messaging, and converted into new sales. If you aren’t happy with the branding, messaging or general look and feel of your website, why should your web visitors feel any different? Indifferent visitors don’t translate into customers.
Q. Who cares about our website? It’s only visited by our clients, so it doesn’t matter if the design is out of date.
Not true. Your website is often your first impression on prospective clients, both people who’ve found you by search (thanks, Google!), or have heard of your business and are interested in getting to know more about your products or services. Take a peek at your Google Analytics, it will give you a clear picture of how many visitors are viewing your site for the first time.
Q. Do you think a new website can really play a role in your business growth?
Absolutely! And we aren’t just saying that because we offer web design. A good website makes a BIG difference and is a key foundational element to a healthy growth marketing strategy. Within seconds of visiting your website, people will make a decision about whether they would buy from you, or work with you. Your website makes your brand more accessible, and with some solidly written brand messaging, it can even remove purchase barriers and facilitate sales.
Check out our case studies to see brands we’ve worked with and decide for yourself how important that first impression is.
Q. We can get a free website template using a company like Wix or Squarespace. Why should I pay you to design a website for me?
This is one of our top frequently asked questions about web design. And here’s our honest answer. While free may be great for your wallet, it’s not always great for your company image. Your website plays a major role in your communication and marketing strategy, and we believe the savings and limitations aren’t worth it for something this critical. Even with a free template or a theme as your starting point, building a website is a lot of work, and can be a frustrating experience when going it alone.
If, as a small business, a proprietary software tool like Wix or Squarespace is your only affordable option, we get it. In that case, ask a designer or developer to guide you through critical elements like content writing, search engine optimization (SEO), and branding.
At Original Ginger, we are happy to guide DIY clients through the web design process via consulting services; but, we can also assist with design concepts, and content writing to make things easier and faster for you.
Q. Budget is always a concern. Is a new website something my organization or business can afford? How much does a website cost?
There are many aspects that factor into the cost of creating a new website, so most web designers and agencies have different packages available at various price points.
A word of caution when it comes to pricing. If a website package is cheap and seems too good to be true – it probably is! Let’s face it, there are certain basic elements you should never compromise on, or skip out, if you want an effective website. We’re not talking about how nice your website looks. We’re talking about the nuts and bolts involved with coding, responsiveness, SEO, and general site structure that go into building a quality website. If the website is cheap, it usually means some of those things are NOT included.
It should also be noted that when it comes to platforms like Wix or Squarespace, packages may start out as a free plan; but, extra fees will add up really quickly if you decide to add more functionality, storage space or bandwidth. They also may force you to display ads on your website in exchange for using their platform for “free”.
Without knowing your specific goals and requirements, it’s difficult to provide an accurate price for your web design; however, it is possible to give you a basic ballpark idea of what costs to expect during a standard web design project. Visit our blog for more on the costs to build a website.
Q. Are there any ongoing costs?
In order to launch a website, you will need a domain name (for example, YOURNAME.com). There are many places online where you can register your domain name for a small yearly fee. More on those types of costs here.
If the web designer or agency you hire recommends using a third party proprietary platform like Wix or Squarespace to build your website for you, be aware that these platforms do charge an ongoing cost for professional features like your own domain name, e-commerce, premium hosting, and more.
If the web designer or agency you hire recommends building your website on an open source platform like WordPress, you will likely have to pay ongoing website maintenance fees for updates and security, as well as ongoing website hosting fees. For some this may be a deterrent, but there are trade-offs to every option when it comes to considering website platforms. See the question below for more info on this.
Q. What platform should I use to build my website?
There are many options out there when it comes to building a website, so you should consider several factors when choosing which platform will work best for you:
- What type of budget do you have?
- How easy is it to use?
- Will you be managing content yourself?
For a more in-depth list of factors to consider, visit our blog and scroll to the section about content management systems.
Keep in mind that some designers will only build on DIY platforms like Wix or Squarespace. That may be because they aren’t developers, and they are most comfortable with drag-n-drop technology included with readily available templates or themes. Their forte may be design, not development. In that case, there is a danger that decisions around design and function are being made based on their own limitations with development, and not necessarily made because it’s the best decision for your business. For more information about what questions to ask before hiring a designer, visit our blog here.
Q. Who hosts the website?
Your design company may provide hosting services, or they may make recommendations to a third party hosting provider. Website hosting is very important and not a decision to take lightly. A good hosting provider will have less downtime and will have protocols in place to address the latest security challenges. They should also be using the latest versions of PHP and provide 24/7 support. You’ll also want to compare pricing for the various hosting packages each provides. Cheaper packages will likely offer less storage space, slower customer service (no phone support), and shared hosting which can affect your website loading time.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Can a small web designer offer the same pricing or level of support and security that a larger hosting provider can?
- If you decide to take your business elsewhere in the future, how helpful will they be to make the transition go smoothly?
At Original Ginger, we don’t provide hosting services. We feel we can best serve our customers by recommending a hosting provider that will best suit the needs of their business, budget, and traffic volume expectations.
Q. How long does it take to build a new website?
It depends. On average, a comprehensive website project can take between 2 to 3 months. This timeframe is based on a project that includes a full exploration of site architecture, content writing, design, development and site testing. For simple design-only projects, the timeframe is much shorter. Below is a list of other variables that can influence the length of the project:
- The size of the website project;
- The complexity of the design;
- If any advanced features are required;
- When your content is ready;
- What other projects are already on the go and how yours will fit into the schedule;
- If you are providing timely feedback and input on our work.
In our years of experience, most delays in project timelines occur when a client is very busy and unable to deliver images or feedback by an agreed upon deadline. When that happens, the entire project timeline can be affected and everyone has to adjust their expectations.
Q. Do I get to see the design before it’s built?
Any professional web designer or agency worth their salt should have a process in place to manage various phases of the project. It’s the only way to stay on track, get meaningful feedback from the client, and ensure that everyone is on the same page and happy with the results.
At Original Ginger, we don’t continue from one phase to another until we have final sign off from the client. This is our way of assuring that a client gets a finished project they love! We consider it part of our job to give our clients a guided tour throughout the project so they know exactly what they are getting, and that it aligns with (or exceeds) their expectations!
Q. What type of communication can I expect during my project?
For much larger or more complex projects it may be necessary to schedule a meeting in person; however, for most projects many web designers and agencies use email, phone and video conferencing to discuss ideas, share visuals, etc.
We like to kick off our projects with an initial video conference at the very least. And once the project is in full swing, it’s easy for us to jump on a phone call, video call, or send an email. Modern technology and easy-to-use software tools make it possible for us to work with clients across Canada and the US.
Q. Have you ever created a website for someone in my industry?
This is a common question for clients to ask. Some designers and agencies specialize in serving clients from specific industries. They may not be interested in accepting clients from outside of their area of expertise. Others are open to taking on new challenges.
Although the majority of our clients fall into health and wellness, retail, travel and leisure, and a few other industries, we are very open to exploring how we can help a business outside of those industries. It can be a good thing to get a fresh perspective, and frankly, we treat every business as unique no matter what industry they are in. The fact is, we take the time to get to know your business and what makes you unique – good writing is good writing, and every new project deserves a thorough and detailed approach. Check out our Case Studies to see the variety of clients we work with.
Q. I have very little experience updating a website. Will my website be easy to use?
If you plan to manage content yourself, ask your web designer to help you choose a platform that will work for your level of experience. Each platform will have pros and cons that you should consider carefully.
As for us, we can provide design and guidance services for small business clients who prefer DIY platforms like WIX or Squarespace; but, we are at heart a WordPress shop. There are many reasons why we prefer WordPress. Find out more about that in our blog post, Why You Should Hire a WordPress Specialist, or Why You’ll Want to Take WordPress Home With You. Also, as part of all web design packages we give you access to our membership area with video tutorials on how to use your new website. That’s a commitment we make to our clients as part of our boutique quality service.
Q. Is there support after the launch of your new website?
The answer to this will differ depending on who you decide to work with. When working with a freelance designer, it’s possible they may not be available to help you long term. Some designers work on a project by project basis and don’t provide any type of maintenance or support once the site is launched. Other designers outsource the development component of the website to an outside party, who may only be involved for one-off projects. So, if you are looking to receive long term support for your business, it’s probably smarter to hire a full support agency at the start. Of course, you can expect that ongoing support will involve additional charges, which can vary.
Ours is a full service agency and we are happy to provide maintenance support, content management services, and more. A website isn’t just set it and forget it. It’s important to work with experts to create a strategy that will drive traffic, generate leads, and create brand awareness utilizing your new website as a major hub for all your marketing activities.
Q. What is it like to work with a web designer?
Before hiring a web designer you should definitely visit their website. How they present themselves should give you a good idea of the type of work they do, their values, communication style, and professionalism. Ask to see references if you can’t find any reviews on their website or on Google. Visit our blog for more questions you should ask before you hire a designer.
Much of our business comes through direct referral, but we have testimonials and case studies on our website for those who are brand new to our services. You can also visit Google to see more reviews about our agency there. Before we take on any new clients, we request a phone call or video conference so that we can all determine if it’s a fit to work together and how we can best help you.