With this post, we would like to help provide you with clarity on how working with a professional, high-quality website design and development team will benefit your business, and how it is an investment that pays for itself.
Who should read this
If you have found this post, you are more than likely one of several different kinds of people who are interested in professional website design and development:
- You are a business owner or decision maker who is trying to make sense of your brand’s online presence (either initially building or re-designing your website), and the process of choosing a team to work with who can best accomplish your goals.
- You are a marketing professional (CMO, Marketing Director, Marketing Manager, etc.) with experience in the world of website management and/or working with website design and development teams who is looking to make a change to a new team and are currently comparing options.
- You are a website designer or developer yourself and you are looking for new ways of communicating your value to your clients.
Did we pin you in one of those three categories? If so, then this should be an insightful read for you. If not, then we encourage you to continue reading anyway, as you may learn something of value for your own business.
The Value of a Truly Great Website
In order to convey the value of a great website design and development team, you first need to understand the value of a great website.
When you think of a great website, you may picture a website which presents a clean, eye-catching design. This is certainly an important part of a great website, but, in reality, a great website is more than great design alone. A truly brilliant website fulfills several key functions:
- It creates a positive, memorable, and valuable experience for the user (i.e. customer).
- It simplifies and improves the workflow of the brand or business.
- It is crafted with intention and is designed to continuously fulfill this intention.
- It’s performance is easily measured and monitored with tangible business-relevant metrics.
- It contributes to and improves the profitability of the brand or business that it serves.
Clear, intelligent design is critical to a great website, but it is only one piece of a larger puzzle.
Ultimately, a website is an extremely powerful and dynamic communication channel and is one of the most powerful tools that businesses have at their disposal today. Yet, far too many make the mistake of utilizing their website as a glorified brochure. Your website should be so much more than this.
If your website is not meeting each of the points laid out above, then you are seriously missing out.
Now that you are equipped with a clear understanding of what constitutes great website, we can move on to what you should be looking for when selecting a website designer and developer to work with for your project.
Your web designer and developer should be highly experienced and deeply knowledgeable in everything related to your particular website needs. Additional bonus points can be given here for experience in your industry and business vertical.
This experience should include your technology stack (CMS, ESP, data tracking suite, etc), as well as current market trends and best practices.
Ideally, your web development team should possess a better understanding of your web and digital marketing needs than you do. They should be able to provide insight and recommendations during every step of the project. You should be able to feel comfortable that your web development team will not hesitate to lend their expertise wherever it is relevant.
Website development teams can be categorized in two ways: “yes men,” and professionals. You should always aim to work with the later.
“Yes men” (as we’ll call them) are teams who will jump when you say “jump.” This type of team will not hesitate to add new features to a project scope whenever you ask for them, without consideration to the relevance and business value of the feature. They will not try to maintain focus on the original project objectives and goals if it means turning down additional billable hours.
On the other hand, a true professional will seek to familiarize themselves with your business needs and your customers’ needs, and will then put this knowledge to use to ensure that every decision made on the project will provide the greatest possible value in both of these respects. If you present a request which is not in either your own best interest or the best interest of your customer, they will counter the request along with an explanation of why it would not be a wise decision.
This leads us into our next reason.
A truly professional team will seek to understand your business and its unique needs. Only by doing this will they be able to effectively craft a website and online experience which provides optimal value to your customers and increases the profitability of your business.
A genuinely professional website designer and developer will ask a number of detailed questions during the onboarding process. These questions will center around your business, your operations, your marketing, your sales process, your goals, your objectives, your issues, and more.
At times, these questions may seem unrelated to your website project, but remember that a great website can help your business and your customers in a huge number of ways. So keep your mind open, and try to provide the best answers that you can during this discovery phase.
A great website development team will be invested in the success of your business, during the length of the project and even after the project has come to an end. To a great website developer, your success is their success. A great website developer will seek to present a final product which over-delivers on your needs and requirements.A great website development team will be invested in the success of your business. Click To Tweet
Two clear hallmarks of a high-quality website designer and developer are a) lack of any term of commitment from their clients, and b) heavy reliance on word-of-mouth and referrals for new business. These are good signs to you for two reasons:
- Lack of a term contract means that they have a happy client base and have no worries about their clients leaving them
- Reliance on word-of-mouth and referral business means that they have a good reputation in the industry and that their existing clients feel comfortable sending their friends and colleagues to them
The only way that a website designer and developer can continue this cycle of happy clients and referral business is to maintain a positive reputation and ensure that their client base remains pleased with the relationship. This scope would also include you, should you choose to become one of their clients.
This means that you can rest assured that your design and development team has a personal investment in your happiness with the relationship and the success of your website.
We recently asked the following question on Quora: “What do you look for when selecting a web development team to work with?” Follow-through was the number one answer that we received.
Sadly, there are many sub-par web development teams out there who over-promise on commitments and under-deliver on results. This is a terrible experience in any business relationship and leaves many business owners and marketing professionals with a bad taste in their mouths.
A true professional will be candid when there is doubt in the validity of a deadline, commitment, or idea. If a professional website designer and developer feels that it is unlikely that a deadline can be met, they will voice this concern before committing, along with an explanation of their hesitation and an alternative course of action.
We work with a number of clients on a regular basis who approach us after rebounding from such an experience. Naturally, these clients tend to be very skeptical and suspect during early conversations. Yet, through our carefully crafted onboarding process, we are able to make the majority of these skeptics feel comfortable making the decision to begin a relationship with us.
As in all relationships, whether business or otherwise, communication is everything. A great website designer and developer will communicate with you early and often, at all times.
Communication is critical for several reasons:
- It ensures that the project remains on track.
- It ensures that your vision is being accurately realized.
- It drives swift progress.
A true professional will not try to baffle or impress you by drowning the conversation in buzzwords. Instead, they will communicate in a manner that is down-to-earth, on your level, and easy for you to understand, regardless of your own experience or background.
If an issue in your project crops up, (as they inevitably tend to) you will want to be working with a team who possesses the professionalism to report this to you promptly, and further, immediately begin suggesting options for potential solutions. This method is much preferred, rather than the alternative: waiting until you or your team notice (if at all), and only then addressing the issue, or worse still: sweeping it under the rug entirely and trying to cover it up to avoid extra work.
When is a great time to feel out communication in a potential design and development team? During the sales process and initial conversations is best. Take notice of things like what channels they use to communicate and what language and tone they use when communicating. Try waiting a few days before responding. Do they proactively follow up with you, or will you not hear from them again until you restart the conversation?
Naturally, we all want to work with individuals and partners who we can feel comfortable trusting with our needs, resources, and dollars. Unfortunately, in the web design industry, there are many agencies out there who will prey on the inexperience of their clients.
A good place to probe for honesty is in the estimate and pricing. When you receive a quote from a potential design and development team, does the pricing seem clear, straightforward, and easy to understand? Or rather, does it seem clouded and complicated; filled with jargon, and hard-to-understand fees?
What is a great way to cut to the chase in the honesty department? Just ask. Ask the potential web design and development team to explain their pricing approach to you in easy-to-understand terms. Ask them to explain their business model and who will be performing the work. A trustworthy team will have no hesitations to providing clear answers to questions like these.
Our best relationships in life tend to be those that are most genuine and those which move beyond the superficial. Why shouldn’t this be the same for business relationships, and more specifically with your website designer and developer?
Most of us tend to prefer to work with individuals with whom we have a good rapport. There is no reason not to apply this same approach to choosing your web design and development team.
When choosing a team to work with, look for those which are friendly and down-to-earth. A great designer, developer, and professional will take the time to have a real, genuine, one-to-one conversation with a potential new client, regardless of the firm’s size or schedule.
Look for a team from whom you feel general “good vibes.” Choose a team who you can tell has genuine, vested interest in you and your business, with no strings attached. They just simply care.
When you have a hankering for sushi, you don’t head to the five dollar buffet down the street. You choose a reputable Sushi or Japanese cuisine establishment. The same is true in website development.
Avoid the “jack-of-all-trades” digital marketing agencies who offer website design, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, paid search advertising, and more, all under one roof. These tend to be chop-shops churning out low-quality results for clients who don’t know any better. Remember, Jacks-of-all-trades are masters of none.
Choose to work with a website design and development team who are specialists. This specialty should lie in your CMS/technology stack, or your market segment, or if you can find it, in both.
Do you have plans to launch a new membership site? Choose a website design team for the project who specializes in membership sites. Are you a seafood restaurant who is looking for a new website? Work with a website design team who specializes in seafood restaurant website design.
When you work with a specialist, you may pay a bit more, but the results will be much higher in quality because they are born of tried and true expertise.
An obvious reason to choose one potential team over another is most definitely design ability.
Many website designers and developers will not extend their use of design beyond utility. For example, these types of designers will design a functional header and footer simply because your site needs to have a header and footer, and while they are at it, they will make sure it looks halfway decent. This is utility.
A great designer will not merely design a website which includes all of the conventional elements and looks decent. Instead, they will craft a product which serves the needs of the user in a delightful and rewarding way.
A great designer will place user experience (UX) as the top priority in the design approach. With each button, block, and border, a great designer will ask, “How can this element provide the best possible value and ease of use to the user?”
It is our belief that fantastic design leaves the user feeling better about both the business or brand, and about themselves.
When selecting a website designer and developer, ask questions about their approach to design. Ask how they prioritize user experience, how they have used design to solve challenging user issues in the past. Ask to see examples of previous work.
The answers provided to these questions will allow you to form an understanding of the team’s approach to design.
Clear, concise, intelligent design is vital to a website which will perform well, and it is important to work with a designer and developer who understands this. Yet, you will want to work with a designer and developer who also understands the larger digital marketing picture.
The team that you choose to work with should understand things like:
- How to craft a sales funnel that converts.
- How to improve the conversion rate of your e-commerce storefront.
- How to raise your average order value.
- How to put content marketing to use for lead generation.
These are important business-critical pieces of a website which contribute to successful performance and profitability.
An investment that you cannot afford skip
In today’s day and age, if utilized correctly, a website is one of the most powerful tools in your business’ sales and marketing arsenal. A well-crafted website with an intentional purpose, that provides tangible value to both you and your users (customers), can contribute to a business’s profitability and overall bottom line in a huge way.
A website is generally lower-cost than a great salesman, infinitely more economic to operate than a physical retail storefront, and can yield a much lower cost-of-sale than traditional channels. However, all of this is only made possible when a website is executed with expert precision, then carefully maintained and measured to ensure that performance expectations are being met and growth is consistent.
For these reasons, an investment in your website through a reputable, expert website designer and developer will quickly pay for itself. Moreover, in today’s business landscape, this is an investment which you quickly won’t be able to pass on. Every day, your competitors are securing more and more of the market share available online through well-executed websites of their own.
We are available for your website project
We are a website design, development and e-commerce team with over 150 years of combined design, development, and digital marketing experience. Our team brings the expertise needed to execute your website project with a result that delights your customers and lifts your profitability.
Stop wading through low-quality designers and developers who don’t meet your needs and don’t leave you feeling comfortable in hiring them. Instead, choose to work with an experienced, professional website design and development team like us.
We are currently available to take on new projects and clients. Take a moment to fill in our short contact form to start a conversation about how we can help you to put your website to work as a profitable extension of your sales and marketing strategy.