All businesses need to have websites in the current market, and the recent push toward mobile means that many existing businesses need to redesign their websites for mobile compatibility. If you’re the owner or manager of one of these businesses, then you’re probably in the market for a website design and development company. But before you start Googling businesses and scheduling interviews, you should educate yourself on a few common pitfalls so you can avoid making the same mistakes so many others have. Here are the three biggest mistakes small business owners and managers make when hiring web design and development companies:
- Not Distinguishing Between Roles
It’s important you realize when looking for web design and development companies that there are two distinct roles being described there: design and development. While some people are capable of performing both (and good companies will certainly have employees to handle both aspects), distinguishing between these terms can help you to ensure you don’t get stuck with an attractive but low-functioning design. Web design is primarily concerned with the “front end” of the website, the part that will be visible to site visitors. Development, on the other hand, has traditionally referred also to the “back end” of the site, the framework and coding that allows it to function. If you really want a custom site, and not just a template site with adjusted settings, then you need to make sure you’re working with a true web developer.
- Choosing the Lowest-Priced Option
There are quite a few freelance web designers out there offering extremely low-priced websites. But it’s often wise to avoid these freelancers, and not necessarily because they aren’t qualified to build websites. Some of these people may be perfectly competent at building websites, but their low prices usually indicate a lack of business experience. In general, building a high-quality website takes a lot of time, and someone who prices far below the competition either doesn’t have the experience to accurately estimate the scope of a project or is planning to cut corners somewhere along the way.
- Prioritizing Urgency Over Research
Yes, it’s vital that you have an online presence, and therefore it’s important that you get your business’ website up or updated as quickly as possible. But you shouldn’t let that sense of urgency cause you to abandon the core principles of marketing: identifying, researching and serving your target market. Whether you want to hire a separate digital strategy consulting firm and then hire your designer or whether you’re using an all-in-one marketing and web development agency, you have to make sure your web designers won’t pick out a single color or font until that research has been completed.
What else should be avoided in the search for web design and development companies? Share your experiences and advice in the comments.