What kind of company should you hire to build your website?
Should you hire a website design firm, web developer, marketing agency, graphic designer, or an SEO outfit to create a website for your business?
How About None Of The Above?
That’s right, we said none. At the risk of “websplaining” to anyone who might know, a server is not just the person delivering appetizers to your table; you need all of the above components if you want a business website that leads people to you and converts online visitors into returning customers.
While most people think they are the same, the technical skills needed for each profession differ enough to require additional knowledge and training. Being aware of these variances can allow you to find the ideal firm for your business's needs when it comes time to revamp or create an entirely new site.
Having it all doesn’t need to be complicated. But researching the best way to enhance your online presence and market your business' website can be a job in itself. And you already have one of those, right?
We know lots of website companies that blur the lines between web development, design, marketing, and SEO. They might offer one of those services and sell it as a complete solution. But if you dive into your website project with a company that’s missing even one piece of this digital puzzle, you could end up being forced to hire someone else to fill in the gap. Website companies can have wildly different visions, and using more than one can muddle your brand’s look and message.
Web Designer Or Web Developer?
Nowadays, the terms web design and web development are virtually interchangeable, but technically, they are two different things.
Graphic designers are purveyors of creativity, expertly blending typography with illustrations and photographs to craft compelling visual messages. Historically, they were known for creating logos and handling print designs such as brochures, magazine/book layouts, posters, and packaging.
Nowadays, graphic designers are creating striking visuals for diverse media such as websites, social networks, and email campaigns. They can provide the visual direction needed to bring together a website design, ensuring it conveys the right message for your brand.
Creative professionals are a vital part of any website project, but they often lack knowledge of the more technical aspects such as coding standards, security protocols, and optimizing the site for speed and performance. Content optimization and keyword research are also key components of successful SEO. A lack of knowledge in these areas can lead to costly mistakes that could require the cost of another company to remediate.
A web designer creates web page layouts, designs graphics, and might also write website content and work on front-end development –the nuts and bolts of a website that lets users click around and make purchases.
But professional web designers are much more than a pretty home page.
They understand color theory and how a particular shade of blue will change the way someone feels about or perceives your business. They know how graphics placement on your web pages can direct online visitors to the important information that you want them to know.
Using a pre-built template -- or your cousin’s computer-buff college-age kid -- to build a basic website out of stock photos is like opening a quaint French bakery on a dead-end country road. It might be a feast for the eyes, but customers have to know how to find you, get pulled into your story, learn that they really love what your business has to offer and then keep coming back.
Web developers, or programmers, are the wizards who enable your site to function within its virtual home on the web. Their knowledge of computer coding language and software programs can make or break a website. Literally! A poorly coded site could crash, be slow to load, or not even work at all.
Not only do you want your website to be easy to use, but you also want potential customers to linger because they are enjoying the experience and finding the information they were looking for, not error messages. Professional web developers also stay on top of the always-evolving programs that keep online commerce secure, so your customers can use your online business with confidence.
There are designers and developers that excel at both of these roles or can do a little of each However you slice it, it takes mad skills.