Website Design for Business: FAQs and Misconceptions
You’ve decided your business needs a website and you’re about to start gathering quotes from website designers. You, however, know next to nothing about website design for business and the prospect of talking to techies fills you with an emotion that is two parts dread and one part boredom. You don’t want to make a fool of yourself by displaying your ignorance but neither do you want the wool pulled over your eyes. In short, you need some inside info and you need it fast.
So, to help you sort your designers from your developers and tell your home pages from your back ends, here’s a quick rundown of FAQs and common misconceptions about business website design.
Will I be paying by the page?
Not usually. For most business websites designers will break down their services into a number of different packages, each with a set price e.g. a basic ‘brochure’ style site, an ‘ecommerce’ site (which includes an online shop) and so on. Each package may specify a maximum number of pages. If you’re looking for a larger, more complicated site with a database or other bespoke features then you’ll need to find a company with website developers who will quote based on the complexity of the project and the time it will take to code the site and put it together.
Will I have to provide all the content?
Obviously it will help the web designers if you can provide as much detail as possible about what you want included in the site. Also, providing your own pictures and copy will lend an air of authenticity to the site that a third party would struggle to achieve. Most web design companies will be able to write text and source library images if necessary (NB: This may add to the cost).
Will I be able to update and edit the site myself?
Most website design packages these days come with a basic CMS (or Content Management System – the ‘back end’) which allows you to make simple changes to text, replace images and sometimes even run a blog. However, if you want a more complex CMS which allows you to create new pages and insert new tools and objects, you’ll need to increase your budget. There’s also the option of paying the website designers to make regular updates for you if you really want to avoid what goes on under the bonnet.
Are there ongoing charges for my business website?
The website design company will generally charge you a one-off fee for building your website. Once the site is ready you’ll need a domain name and hosting – this will provide you with a URL (www.) and e-mail addresses. You can sort these out yourself but most web designers will be able to help you arrange them or offer them as part of the package. Domain names need to be purchased outright and hosting incurs a monthly charge depending on the size of your website.
Will the website designers create a logo for me?
Most website designers have graphic design skills and will be able to quote you for logo design too.
I’ve already got a website / found a template I like. Can I get the website designer to use this?
There may be copyright issues with using a pre-existing design. You’ll need to make sure you have the right to use it. Also, most professional website designers want a fresh project to work on. Trying to work within another designer’s template can get fiddly and awkward and be time consuming – paradoxically, you may end up paying more for bringing pre-existing material with you.
Will my website appear in Google search results?
Most website designers now offer SEO (or search engine optimisation) services. This is the process of tailoring your website to appear high up in search engine results for the terms your customers are searching for. Unfortunately, your website needs to have been built and registered with the search engines before you can tell how high up it will appear because Google and the other search engines keep their rules for ranking sites a secret. So the short answer is: who knows. Some web designers are better than others at making sites that rank highly early on and they tend to be the ones that charge the most.
Common Misconceptions about Website Design for Business
- You can get a website for free – I’ve seen them advertised.
That’ll probably be a basic, restrictive template you’ll have to fill in yourself. There’s no way around it, if you want a website designed specifically for your business, you’re going to have to design it yourself or pay a professional to do it for you.
- Flash intros are cool.
That’s a matter of opinion. The facts are that they make it harder for Google to read and rank your site, they can put off users and, unless you’ve got a ton of money to spend on them (a bespoke animation requires a lot of man-hours), they are best avoided.
- The website designers will take photos for me, right?
Probably not. It’s rare for these services to be combined. If you want quality photos of you business/products, you’ll have to arrange a professional photographer yourself. If you just want some stock photos on your site to create a particular look or feel then the web designers will be able to source these for you.
- I want to build a really complicated site. I’ve seen other sites that do it – can you just copy them for a fraction of the price?
No. They’re not going to show you their code and even if you could rip it off you’d probably end up on the wrong end of a massive lawsuit. If you want to build a complicated website you’re going to have to invest the time and money required to create it from scratch.