Experience An Affordable, Hassle-Free Website Design Experience For Yourself From NH’s Leading Web Design Experts.
Hey there. I’m Mike – owner, and chief geek at NH Strategic Marketing. We’re one of NH’s longest standing (and probably most personable), website design companies. If you’re considering having a website designed from scratch – or even redesigning your website – you’re in the right place.
There’s a lot to be aware of before you get started, and this article should help to answer every question you have – or didn’t even know you should have – in order to make the best decision on moving forward with any website design (or redesign), project. So… let’s get started!
Who Needs A Website And Why
Every business needs a website. Plain and simple. In this day and age, if you’re not showing up when people search out your business, products or services online, you’re not likely to be around for the long haul. If you’re reading this article, chances are you already know this – so I won’t waste too much time belaboring the point.
A website is one of the most significant assets for any business. It’s a 24×7 salesperson, or spokesperson, for your company or brand. Your website can (and will), either attract, or repel, would-be-customers, long before they ever talk to a real person in your business.
It’s important for people who first find you online – sure – but it’s just as important for referral and word-of-mouth traffic, as the first thing people do nowadays when given a referral, is to pull out their phone and Google your business. You absolutely must show up in a positive light to win even these warm leads. No website (or a poor website), and you may very well be repelling even referral traffic.
But let’s not get too dramatic here – having an effective website isn’t as hard as most people have been led to believe. And it doesn’t need to break the bank either.
When it comes to having a website built (or redesigned), for your business, the most important thing for you, is to be educated on all of the things to consider before hiring a website design company.
We’ve heard way too many stories over the years of website build outs gone wrong. Sites that were promised in weeks, taking months; budgets that more than tripled over the life of the build out; development guys that just ‘disappeared’ mid-project; and so much more. It shouldn’t be like this – and when you work with a professional, reputable and caring web design company, you won’t have to worry about any of this.
So, let’s get you up to speed on every important consideration you should take before signing on the dotted line with any web design company. But first, let me ask you a question:
What’s The Core Purpose Of A Business Website?
This is a question many small business owners don’t even stop to ask – but it’s an important place to start. Depending on your business model, the answers here may be slightly different – but for most businesses, your website serves at least one, or more, of the following purposes:
- Awareness – When potential customers are searching online for the products and services you offer, you’re website is your internet ‘storefront’ – without it, it’s difficult to position yourself online as a real business.
- Trust – Your business website gives you an opportunity to build trust with visitors – through highlighting your work, customer success stories, reviews, etc. In many cases just showing up in a presentable way (mobile friendly, secure site with a nice design), can build trust.
- Branding – A custom website allows you full control of how you appear online – permitting a consistent brand image through all channels – offline and on.
- Customer Acquisition – For many businesses, your website is one of the most effective tools for acquiring new customers (and converting referral traffic).
- Revenue Generation – Many businesses also run e-commerce solutions – allowing sales directly from your website. If you’re in a product based business, allowing customers to purchase directly from your site is very often a good idea.
- Customer Retention – Many businesses don’t realize how frequently their existing customers search them out online – either for contact information, details about product offerings or a host of other reasons. Having a strong web presence is critical for maintaining trust and confidence with your existing customers.
There are other reasons of course, but this short list should have hit home for you (in at least a few ways), the importance of having a stand-out business website.
Let’s real quickly discuss the two biggest scenarios businesses approach us for when it comes to their websites:
New Website Design vs Redesign
If you’re looking for a web design company, you’re most likely either looking to have a new website built – or you’re looking to have your existing site redesigned or freshened up. There’s also the possibility that you’re looking to have some additional features built into your current site (like adding an e-commerce solution or integrating a new CRM etc.).
Many of our clients are surprised to learn that the process we use for designing a new website is very often a nearly identical process to doing a site redesign. It’s because we always take a holistic approach to our website design projects. We look at the entire website, and improving all of the core components during the process. This allows a much better end result, and our client’s love us for this approach.
In any case, the following factors are important considerations for you to be aware of to make sure you’re not only getting exactly what you need today – but that your site will stand up to the rapidly evolving technology and standards websites are being required to adhere to.
It’s critically important for you to be aware of what to look at, and what questions to ask, when choosing a web design agency – regardless of if you’re after a fresh build out or a website redesign. This is where we’re going to get a little more technical, but don’t worry – I’ll do my best to leave out any techno babble, and get right to the point.
So, what really is important when it comes to choosing a website platform and design team?
Major Factors For Consideration
Here are the top 10 things to discuss with a website design agency when planning out your business site.
- Design – It’s important to remember – your website is essentially your online storefront. People will judge you on the quality and appearance of your business from your website, so make sure your site will properly reflect your brand, and business image.
- Platform – It’s important to build your site on a platform that can scale with your business, and that’s designed, not just to look good and to be easy to use and maintain – but one that will actually assist search engines in finding and ranking you higher on the page. We recommend WordPress for any business website – after all, over 30% of all websites online are built on this amazing platform – and for good reason: it’s super stable, constantly evolving with the web, easy to use and maintain, and it actually helps search engines rank you so new customers can find you.
- Security – Google has started penalizing websites (by not listing them in search results), that do not provide a secure visitor experience. Every page on your website needs to be protected with SSL – meaning if your website isn’t showing under https:// and displaying the lock icon in the browser, then you’re going to be losing out on a lot of new business.
- Speed – Websites must be lightening fast nowadays. It’s a proven fact, that 40% of website visitors will leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Our attention span is getting shorter every year, and it’s your responsibility as the person in charge of your business website to make sure your site is optimized for speed, and hosted on a high performance server.
- Mobile Focused – In most industries we work with, 60-80% of all visitors come to a website, and browse, using a mobile device. We’re always on the go, and our go-to device for performing web searches and visiting websites is normally in our pocket. A good website design company will always take a mobile-first approach to website design.
- Easy To Use – When designing your website, you should always put yourself in the shoes of a first time visitor. Your site must be easy to use, and navigation must provide visitors a complete picture of the products and/or services you offer. A new visitor should be able to find their way around your site quickly and easily, and your business contact info should be easily accessible (with click to call phone numbers etc.), on every page.
- Conversion Focused – Your website shouldn’t be ‘just another pretty face’ online – it should be focused on driving very specific business goals. If your primary desire is to have people calling your office – that should be baked into every piece of content you provide. If your goal is to sell products – you should have very intentional messaging and clear offers on your site. Many websites have multiple goals – and that’s fine. You just need to focus on building assets that are designed on getting visitors to take the actions you want them to. None of this happens without proper planning and design.
- SEO Framework – Every website should be built (or rebuilt), from the ground up with an intentional focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Paying close attention to the ‘hidden’ elements of your pages (like meta tags and keyword planning etc.), will mean significant long term wins for your business. Not focusing on these elements from the get-go will mean very little organic traffic will be hitting your pages – this costing you new business, and putting your competition at an advantage.
- Back-Ups – Your website is perhaps one of the most important assets in your company. Doesn’t it make sense that you should have it on a secure infrastructure that takes a daily backup and secures your site in the event of an issue? We think so.
- Easy To Maintain – We believe that a business website should be so simple to maintain, that anyone on your team should be able to take care of it. It should be easy for you to update, and add content to, and you should never be at the mercy of a ‘tech guy’ for simple things like adding new content or pictures etc. That being said, we also believe that a reputable website design company should be available for their clients 24×7, and you should have confidence in knowing that whenever an issues does arrive -the team that built the site, will be there to assist you quickly. That’s how we operate.
A lot of businesses overlook a number of these very important points when searching out a solution for building their website. In many cases, well-meaning businesses will actually use a ‘do it yourself’ solution to build out their sites. These solutions ultimately leave them disappointed with results. These tools are most often, strictly focused on getting a site online that just looks ‘presentable’ – they’re made to be a do-it-yourself solution after all. The problem is, these sites fall far short of being a business driving tool that a website should be. Let’s go into a little more detail here in hopes that we can save you from a lot of future frustration…
The Dangers Of ‘Build Your Own Website’ Services
We sit down with a number of new clients who started their website journey with a ‘do it yourself service’, and in some cases, it has served them well. It has allowed them to have a ‘presence’ online in the very early stages of their business, where there were other things that needed focusing on besides growth, customer acquisition, and online visibility. It worked for providing a presence for referral traffic, face to face meetings and having a url to put on business cards. It ‘got the job done’ if you will. So these tools have their place.
These businesses reach a point, however, where they realize a website should be doing the work of attracting and converting prospects into customers – and to do that, they realized something more was needed.
With many of these services, the focus is on making a website easy to build. And that’s the primary objective. The reality is, the things that make a business website a true asset to the company aren’t always easy – of course. They shouldn’t be. When it comes to winning online, you’re most likely competing against a number of other strong businesses – and to do that, you need a website that can perform.
Much like race car drivers continue to drive faster, and better cars as they improve their ranks and compete at higher levels – your website is very much the same. As you start getting serious about competing – you need a higher performing site. A young racer (like a young business), might start out with cart racing. This allows him/her to get the skills needed to become a better driver (in our case a better business). But that go-cart won’t serve the aspiring racer well in a Formula 1 race – they need a higher performance car to compete. And there’s a lot more that goes into building an F1 car than building a go-cart – as I’m sure you understand.
Your website is no different. What you need to build a real business, and to have your website working for you (vs just being a placeholder), is significantly beyond the scope of a do-it-yourself solution.
And the reality is – you’re a successful business – you shouldn’t be using a do-it-yourself solution for your most important online asset. You should be using a cutting-edge solution, so that you can truly compete online – and win!
So – you’re thinking about choosing a web design agency to help you move forward with a new or redesigned website – that’s great news. It shows your serious about the future of your business, and you value the power of having a strong and productive online presence.
Before I sign off, let me just take a moment to explain a bit more about our unique process.
What Makes Our Process Different
Over the last 8 years, we’ve designed a number of processes that we’ve found lead to the greatest success with website design projects. We’re not your typical web design agency, and you’ll see that after speaking with us for even 5-minutes. Here are a few of the areas our clients have told us time and time again, where we excel, and tend to do things a bit differently:
- You’ll Be Surprised How Affordable A Website Can Be – We believe that every business should be able to afford a high quality, high performance website. We also believe that for the majority of projects, a fixed-price model is to be expected. We’ve heard far too many stories of businesses whose website build outs creep to 2, and even 3 times the original estimates – for reasons beyond their control. We think this is unreasonable, and bad for business. We provide flat-rate, no-upcharge pricing for every one of our standard website projects. And for those businesses that know they need a website, but aren’t in an ideal position to pay for the project all at once, we even offer reasonable, affordable payment plans.
- You’ll Be Amazed At How We Communicate – In many cases (with other web design agencies), the person who sells you a website package ‘disappears’ after the sale. Leaving little accountability to the promises that were made. Often, the expectations and deliverables aren’t relayed clearly to the development teams – or you find what was promised to you (to make the sale), isn’t actually part of the package. This can be very frustrating. You won’t experience that when working with us. The team member who sells you a website package at NH Strategic Marketing, will be with you through the whole process – right up to the day the new website goes live – and long after. We like to do business the same way you do – with honesty and integrity. We also don’t like being ‘handed off’ to another person after buying something – so we treat you exactly as we’d like to be treated. Makes sense right? And our response time is something you’ll enjoy as well. You’ll never be left wondering where things are at with your project. If you have a question, we’ll have an answer – the very same day (within minutes in most cases). We want your website experience to be enjoyable – not a hassle. Building a website for your company, or improving your current site, should be incredibly exciting! We do everything in our power to make sure working through this process is enjoyable.
- You’ll Be Thrilled With How Fast Your Website Comes Together – Because we offer fixed pricing, we’re never incentivized to drag your project out. We focus on delivering exactly what was promised, on schedule (often much sooner). You’ve probably heard stories of business’s website build outs taking longer to complete than it takes to build a house. We’ve seen it a bunch ourselves, and honestly – there’s no excuse for it. Most of our client’s basic sites are done in 2-4 weeks (some much sooner).
- You’ll Be Surprised How Flexible Your Website Can Be – Nearly every website we build out is a custom project (no templated websites here), tailored specifically for your business and goals. Because of that, it’s almost 100% guaranteed that when you want to change any aspect of your site – our response will most likely be: “Of course – we can do that no problem!”. Our client’s love the freedom and flexibility this gives them to improve their website as their business continues to grow. You’ll also love knowing that we can add-on to your site at any time in the future because it was built with growth in mind right out of the gate. Want to add an e-commerce package later on? No problem. Want to integrate with a new CRM so you can capture more leads or trigger some business automation? No problem. We think about all of these things before we start building your site – so you never have to worry about what the future brings. You’ll be ready for it!
- You’ll Love Being On The Fastest, Most Secure And Reliable Hosting System On The Planet – We take a very serious approach to hosting. We focus on site speed (a critical factor to ranking your site in Google), Security (all modern sites are required to have an SSL and serve content through https://), hack prevention, daily backups and more. All of these things are possible with our world-class hosting. You’ll love the peace of mind knowing that you never have to worry about your site going down, being hacked or getting mixed up – we’ve got that all under control for you. It’s what we do.
- You’ll Love Our ‘After Your Site Is Live’ Service – And one other point we should make. Our service to you doesn’t stop after the site is live. We provide lightning fast support for your website. We’ve heard one horror story after another about ‘web guys done missing’. Businesses trapped by an issue with their website, but nobody on the other end of the line to fix it – they’re either too busy, non-responsive, or simply out of their depth. There’s no website issue we can’t address, and we treat your website as though it were our very own. We’ll get issues fixed, and updates made faster than you’d probably imagine. It’s how we’d want to be treated, and so it’s how we treat our website clients.
There are many other benefits to working with us, but these should give you a good idea of how we think and operate. We appreciate the trust our client’s put in us when signing up for a website project. Our business is built on accountability, honesty and trust. We’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about your business’s website needs as well – we won’t waste your time.
How To Get Started
I’d encourage you to reach out to us to discuss your project. Our initial consultations are always free, and all you have to do is ask around – chances are, someone you know has worked with us and will be able to share a bit about their experience. We also have a ton of testimonials (and 5-Star ratings), on Google and Facebook – and you can read a bunch of client feedback directly on our testimonials page.
We’d love to talk with you about your project. Although we have clients in over 14 different states (at the time of writing this), we’re not bashful about letting people know – helping our local, NH Small Businesses is what we love doing more than anything.
You can contact us by phone or email by clicking the button below.