The first impression left by your website is often the only one you have to catch potential customers. Once on your site, web readers will take only a few seconds to decide if it is worth their time to click through. Poor design, a confusing interface and slow load times influence people to click the back button. When readers bounce, not only do you lose a customer, your search engine standing can be affected as well.
You may think creating a website is as simple as purchasing a domain name and finding a web host, but this is a multifaceted process that is often much larger. Web design companies have the knowledge and tools needed to create an eye-catching and functional site that puts your best foot forward.
Web design companies attempt to be as flexible as they create custom proposal for your company, but it can be a steep introductory cost for a small business owner. Most companies we reviewed don't offer a design quote for less than $5000. If you're a start-up business or have a tight budget, consider the economic web design software that helps you create a functioning site in-house. If your company has grown beyond a general template, then you should seek the services of a web design company.
Companies like Blue Fountain Media, Big Drop and Webvanta take your brand and translate it into a visually appealing site. Beyond creating the basic skeletal structure of your webpage, companies like those above employee teams of copywriters and video artists to create memorable content to fill your online space. Also, a webpage is of no use if your public can’t find it. The site’s overall performance depends on the company using the best SEO practices, like doing thorough keyword research and making ample use of meta tags. To learn more about the industry of these website creation services, take a look at our articles.
Good website design is not just about how your site looks. In fact, the most important elements are often unseen. The best web design companies boost your site’s performance by using a well thought out SEO marketing campaign. Even the best looking site will turn off readers if it cannot be easily navigated, especially from mobile devices. You also get more bang for your buck from companies that provide additional service, like designing logos and creating content. Also consider the following criteria when choosing a web design company:
You can’t judge a book by its cover, and a well-designed website can’t be spotted simply be looking at its homepage. You have to delve into your site’s skeleton to really get a feel for its ability to perform the way you need it to. The best sites use SEO practices as building blocks, not just an afterthought applied to a finished product. Keyword research should be used to build quality content and meta tags, as well as appropriately used images and backlinks.
Online readers want to see your content and they want to see it fast. While loading speed is partially dependent on the user’s internet connection, how multimedia is integrated into your site can greatly affect how fast your page loads, especially on mobile devices. If it moves too slowly, readers will likely bounce before even seeing your site’s impeccable design, hurting your search engine ranking in the process. The web design company you hire should shy away from using Flash, instead opting for the more current HTML5 and CSS3.
Website Development User Experience
Your website will not function as it should if the end user isn’t your design company’s first concern. If a site is flashy to the point of distraction or hard to navigate, your readers will bolt. As you evaluate potential design companies, pay attention to their portfolios. How each individual reacts to a specific site will be different from person to person, but the menus should be easy to find and intuitive to use.
The content management system (CMS) used by the company should also be taken into consideration. Many work with the easy-to-use WordPress. Sites using this system are easy to update, even without advanced coding knowledge. This is advantageous if you plan on updating content yourself or decide to keep a blog on your site.
Companies that employee their own custom CMS typically have more in-depth control over your site’s design with fewer limitations. This often comes at the cost of additional maintenance though the company and limited hosting options.
Many web design companies offer services beyond basic web design. These companies are a one-stop shop for all of your website needs. In addition to improving your site’s look with logo design and video production services, some employ teams of copywriters to produce the best possible content for your site. Companies will often also provide marketing services beyond basic site SEO. Design services also frequently offer site hosting and maintenance options. Because these are add-on services, keep in mind that they all come at an addition cost.
Help & Support
Using a web design company is an important and expensive investment in your business. While these services don’t often list pricing information on their sites, they should be easily accessible by phone and email for a low-pressure quote, as well as to address questions and concerns you have during the design process. Some services go above and beyond, providing you with educational resources and information on topics like design process, site maintenance and running your own SEO campaigns.
Web Design Companies: How We Tested, What We Found
The best way to assess how a web design company will complete future design projects is to look at the work they have done previously. These companies keep portfolios on their sites, and we used these examples to assess the companies’ overall performances.
To evaluate the SEO prowess of each design service, we picked 10 random sites from each company’s portfolio and used industry-standard tools to scan the sites for elements that would add or detract from how they are ranked on Google. Some sites ranked very well, while others faltered. Blue Fountain Media scored the highest technical SEO score with 66.7 percent. The lowest score was reached by Trinet Internet Solutions with 53.4 percent. We took an average of the 10 portfolio sites to find a representative score to see the SEO value that each service provides. We also examined the performance of each company’s own site.
Many features, especially multimedia, can slow down initial loading times. For each randomized site in a company’s portfolio, we took the average load score of each site in both mobile and desktop formats. Mobile sites also load slower than desktop sites. The speed translates as a percentage, rather than a time, because the test measures standard practices that speed up, or slow down, the time in which a site loads. The average mobile load score across the board is 52.9 percent. Desktop scores are slightly better at 65 percent. The slower a page loads, the lower Google rank a site will receive.
Web Design Companies: Our Verdict and Recommendations
While each of these website design companies have a different focus, we looked at the all-around services offered and found that the best are Blue Fountain Media for its high page speed and SEO performance, Big Drop for the accessibility and helpful support staff, and Webvanta for its solid range of features. Each of these companies have the development tools that are essential in creating a relevant site that will make your business stand out.