With its almost limitless market and relative ease of entry, the growth opportunity presented by Internet commerce cannot be ignored.
Business cards and brochures don’t cut it today; customers expect informational Web sites designed to educate them about the various services and products offered. However, about half of small businesses don’t have even a rudimentary Web sites. The right Web design firm can help a small business set up shop on the Internet.
Web page designers can work with small businesses to create a Web presence. The development of a site is a collaborative process and many Web companies offer design, copywriting, and hosting services. The development of a small business site is driven by its use; sites with strictly informational or promotional content will differ from those requiring online sales capability.
Some companies are a one-stop shop, which is good for small firms that want to get up and running quickly. Web site’s should be able to grow with the business. Many businesses pay their Web site company to keep their site updated. But using a content management system can allow small businesses to make any changes themselves.
Some companies offer search engine optimization services in addition to design services. Search engines drive 85 percent of Internet traffic, and Web site designers can help develop appropriate keywords to allow a site to improve its visibility and rankings.
Research is crucial for determining the mix of services required, and comparison shopping can yield the best value for those services. Development of a site can involve only the basic design without hosting or further updates. But since many businesses don’t have the time or skill to keep a Web site up to date, they’ll likely need to find a monthly service plan. When checking out design and service plans it’s important to find out the following:
- How long the design process will take
- How quickly updates can be made to the site
- What the monthly fee is and what it includes
- How much it will cost to add additional pages
- If the fee includes search engine optimization
- How many e-mail accounts are included
Many Web site design companies offer the option of using predesigned templates or getting a custom design. Using a template may cost less money but you may end up with a cookie-cutter site. Templates are best for businesses on a small budget that are just looking for a way to establish a presence on the Web. Custom-designed sites can allow a business to really present its brand in a unique way.
If you opt for a custom design it will involve determining how many revisions are allowed during the design process and whether logo design is included. Many companies already have a logo, and a designer should be able to incorporate it into the development of a site.
Other services that may be offered by a Web site design company include e-mail marketing, RSS feed marketing, and blogs. Getting a Web site up and running can be done relatively quickly. But small businesses should take time to develop a winning concept that will show their brands, products, and services to their best advantage.
An SEO company can help improve a Web site’s rankings in search engines and drive more traffic to it.