Cutting edge New Website design service - maximum 5 day turnaround and usually much faster. See pricing below, and more details below the pricing chart for our web design services.
Websites for Small Businesses:
A Quick "Why Do I Need One"
When it comes to the web today, almost every business needs some sort of website, if nothing else, so people can find your hours, location, and phone number when they search for your business. Sure, your business is likely to pop up in places like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Insider Pages, Four Square, All Menus, Yahoo Local, Zomato, and other directories.
The major problem with this is when you click the link that shows up, for example the Yellow Pages results, it shows 7 sponsored paid listings before your company even shows up! Let me spell that out for you – someone searched your company’s name, and a yellow pages result showed up first. They clicked on that link, and saw 7 or more competing businesses before yours was even listed.
This is a super easy fix, even if you just put up a simple 2 page website. Perhaps a visual of this might work better for you, so you can see how disastrous this is to your business.
The other day, my wife and I decided to go to a restaurant in West Chester, Ohio called The Trinity Pub.
Here is a screenshot of the search I did:
As you can see, the top result was Open Menu, the 2nd result was Trip Advisor, followed by Yelp and Zomato. Generally, Yelp outranks the rest and is one of the worst offenders of marketing to you, so let’s look at what happened when I clicked on the Yelp result.
Key Takeaways from this screenshot are:
- They don’t put all of your top reviews front and center, but rather some good and bad
- They include 2 paid advertisements of nearby restaurants directly competing with you!
So by now, I hope you realize that it is in your best interest for local consumers to find YOUR WEBSITE when they search for your company name! This is why it's important to have a website, even if it isn't great. Ok, let's move on.
What Should I look for when Hiring A
Web Design Company or Web Designer?
Track Record & Portfolio
To make it simple, the first thing I would do is to make sure the person or company you are hiring has their own website. This is definitely something you don't want to take someone's word for, because the devil is in the details when it comes to website design.
If someone is selling websites and doesn't even have their own website, or a site that doesn't even look good, then chances are yours won't either. Check their website on mobile phones and iPads, as well as on laptops and PCs. Make sure their site is something that looks good, seems to be relatively current and updated more than once a decade, and has some examples of sites they have done.
You definitely want to see some other portfolio work they have done. Not everyone wants to display their entire client list, and we get that. But they should be able to prove a few recent sites completed, as well as give you a few examples to choose from so you can have an idea what you want your site to be modeled after.
Clear Pricing and Additional Options
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find out what something is going to cost. When you shop for a web designer, make sure you understand all of the costs associated with your website.
This is one of those areas you often get sold all sorts of things you just don't need. The first thing you definitely will need is what is called a domain name. A domain name is simply the name of your website, for example, ours is riverfrontmediagroup.com. Another example of a domain name would be amazon.com.
Selection of a good domain is very important. It's best to get your brand name into the domain name if possible. It is super important that you buy your domain name and control and own it, not your website design company. I have seen countless times where years later, you need to do something different and the web design firm is nowhere to be found, and you cannot get control of your domain.
We recommend www.Godaddy.com for domain names, as they seem to have the best customer support in the industry. Unless you want to get tons of unwanted phone calls, it is super important to spend the extra $10 and get domain privacy when you buy it. That is all you need, don't get any of the other upsells. So for around $20-30 a year, you will have your domain name.
Once YOU buy your domain name, with the advise of your web design agency, then you will also need website hosting. Depending on your website, and the amount of traffic and data you are providing, in 99% of cases you will not need enterprise website hosting.
A word of caution here! Many web design companies will have you host your website with companies like Host Gator, Host Monster, Blue Host, or any of a bunch of shared hosting companies. This is a recipe for disaster.
I won't get into all the reasons not to use shared hosting, but I highly recommend spending $99 per year with us and getting super fast, reliable, and secured hosting on our dedicated Virtual Private Servers with Vultr.com and Amazon.com. Our cost will be the same as a year of shared hosting, only you will be in a much better hosting environment. Call us for hosting information.
Once you have a domain name preferably with privacy (Approximate cost $25 per year) and a hosting account, then it comes time to buying the website design company. If you are in a major market like Cincinnati, there are probably 500 or more companies to choose from.
Well, that makes it pretty tough, so it is probably best to go with someone based on a good recommendation, otherwise you just won't know what you are getting. If you made it this far and are reading this, you either were recommended to us, or clicked on one of our ads. Thank you for reading this far, and we hope to give you clear and concise pricing options since that is the most frustrating thing when trying to hire a website design agency.
Our pricing is always on our web design page, and is intended for about 95% of businesses who do not need overly complex websites, but rather a website that we call a lead magnet for local consumers looking for their products and services.
Website Design Pricing Information
When you buy a website, the pricing should include everything from designing it and getting it live onto your domain name, so it is fully operational and tested. This includes the pre-sales conversation where you go over all of the particular details of the website.
It is really important to have a clear understanding of what you will be getting for the website. Most of the time, you are only paying for the website until the day it is launched, at which point you then are on your own for any changes, maintenance, additions, etc.
This is why it is super important to have good dialogue with your web designer about what any ongoing costs may be after the site is launched. All websites should be kept up to do with security patches, just like Microsoft operating systems are. Any changes should be discussed beforehand.
If your website is truly going to be unchanged for years, something I don't recommend, then you should not be paying monthly fees but rather just an annual hosting and security maintenance fee.
Web Design Pre-Sales Checklist
While we generally talk to our new customers and potential customers prior to giving them a form to fill out, I will go through it here so you have an idea of things you should be asking your web developer prior to getting started. Sometimes this is far more than is needed, but is a comprehensive list of the minimum things to consider so you won't get any surprises later.
Which Pages Should Your Website Include?This is probably a good starting point to discuss with your website design company. This is really the information you will base the entire site off. Without further ado, this is what our web design questionnaire starts with, and includes the following optional pages, with a yes or no option next to each:
As you can see, this is not an exhaustive list of every imaginable page, but gives you a good idea what you might want on your own website. It also allows you to think of some pages you may not have thought about.
Social Media Considerations
The next thing you will want to decide is to what extent you will want to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, You Tube, and any other social marketing on your website. If your website will be updated each month, will you want to synidcate your content to any of these social platforms?
Email Marketing - A Huge Asset for Small Businesses
It is incredible how few of local businesses are using an email newsletter to reach out to past customers. The studies are all out there for you to see, and not incorporating a way for people to sign up to your newsletter is definitely leaving money on the table.
Your website is a great place to have people signup to receive your email newsletter. What a great way to offer specials, announce new products or services, and even email them about an upcoming webinar you may be doing. Yes, webinars are a great way to provide value to your audience and either just give value, or give value and offer something for purchase at the end.
You can always incorporate an ethical bribe to get people to hand over their email. Provide something of good value and they will hand over their email in exchange. This opens the door to you to market your business to them at any time you want.
I cannot say it enough, if you are not doing email marketing, then you are leaving money on the table! Contact us on our email marketing page for more information.
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