If you’re looking to hire the services of a local web designer, options abound. When putting your company’s hard earned dollars into someone else’s hands, however, do your research. It can be tempting to retain the services of a larger scale, flashy firm, but you shouldn’t. A smaller firm can offer you a better return on investment—here’s how.
Enter the term “website design” into Google, and you’ll find that it yields nearly 360 million results. With so many options, how do you know you’re making the right decision? These 360 million companies aren’t created equal. Choosing from the first page of results doesn’t even promise quality; all it guarantees is that the enterprise is good at managing its SEO.
Among the flurry of first page results are promises from huge firms to deliver a quality, traffic-driven site with a tight turnaround time—all for a pretty price. But these showy promises can fall flat, and you may not be getting what you paid for.
The essential problem with large firms is that they can’t provide individualized attention. With so many clients to handle, larger firms can only offer a cookie cutter site. If you have a specific vision in mind, you won’t be pleased with the end result. Moreover, when you’re conducting business online, it can be hard to communicate what you want out of your website. You may end up with a quality product, but it may lack the spark of individuality you’re looking for.
A local web design firm, by contrast, can deliver one-on-one support. Meet with a web designer at a local office, and discuss your ideas with him or her. Using your unique business philosophy, company values, and preferred visual aesthetics, a local web designer can create a product that’s characteristic of your brand.
A Better Return on Investment
A website is a business investment, plain and simple. In today’s digital and mobile world, a website is essentially the face of your company. Think of it like your company’s online lobby: it’s the first thing customers see when they walk in the door, and it sets the tone for the rest of the session. A good website is intuitive, easy to navigate, loads quickly, and showcases what sets you apart from the competition. An online web design conglomerate doesn’t know what sets you apart—in fact, they can’t, given their volume of clients. Dealing with a local firm allows you the freedom to showcase your talents and help your web design team create a professional and personalized site.
Individualized attention also enables you to better align your website with your business objectives. Your end goals are to increase revenue streams, generate more traffic, and convert more leads. But what’s going to get you there?
- Personalized content. Smaller web design firms are more capable of producing customized content designed to produce (or increase) user engagement.
- Responsive design. Adjusting your website to create a positive user experience, no matter what’s on the screen, requires work. With a local web firm, getting in touch with your designer to hammer out the kinks is a snap. Working with an online firm means waiting on customer service for hours—even days—which can translate to lost revenue.
- Scalability. Your business grows, and your focus evolves. As this happens, your needs will change. A good website is continually updated and can grow with your business. A local firm can be with you every step of the way.
- Metrics. Measuring your website’s performance is important, but a technological novice might have trouble navigating Google Analytics. A local firm can help you make sense of the numbers and determine the next best steps for your company.
Choosing Local: What to Look For
Opting for a local designer over a cookie cutter firm is the best course of action when it comes to building a relationship and seeing a return on investment. But once you’ve made the decision to go local, how do you find the perfect firm for you?
Take a look at their sites. Is the website attractive? Easy to navigate? Full of quality content? These are all good signs that a firm knows what it’s doing. Plenty of companies fall into the “direct industry experience” trap when they’re shopping for web designers. Just because a firm doesn’t have direct experience in designing websites for your industry doesn’t mean you should look elsewhere. A good firm can design a quality website regardless of the field.
A responsive customer service team. A local firm who responds to inquiries promptly will be better than a firm who spends days getting back to you. In today’s digital age, you can reasonably expect a response within hours. If a firm takes too long to get back you, its plate may be too full to give you the attention you deserve.