For most businesses, the Internet is often the first place that potential customers look when they need to buy products and services. If your website does not meet their needs, they are likely to move on to another business and you will lose a sale.
Of course, if you need a website, you can find dozens of companies that promise to get one up and running within just a few minutes. While you may be able to fill in the blanks and have a cookie-cutter, template-based website running, a site like this will do very little to help you stand out from your competitors. A custom website built for you by skilled professionals may cost a little more upfront, but it is an investment that will pay dividends in the long run.
Unfortunately, things are not always as simple as paying a digital agency once and getting your website done. Your website may involve some continuing expenses including:
Your website needs to “live” somewhere online. You will need to contract with a web host to make your site available to your customers on the Internet. The cost for web hosting varies based on the size of your site and your bandwidth needs. If you are just starting out, you may want to choose a lower cost plan; be sure you have the option to increase your plan later if your site becomes popular.
Some agencies offer hosting in addition to design and development services. Ask about this in the early stages of planning so you know your options.
There is a downside to having a popular website; you can become a target for cyber criminals. Whether it is random hacking by someone out to have fun or malicious hacking by one of your competitors, security is a serious concern. To avoid major issues affecting you and/or your site’s visitors later on, the necessary security precautions need to be taken from the get-go and they may increase your budget.
Your website is not useful without content. Before you start your custom web design process, think about where your content will come from. If you do not have people on staff to write content for you, you will need to consider contracting with freelance writers or hiring writers of your own. In any case, managing the content may become an issue. There are many options for managing your web content; take the time to investigate them before you proceed with your design. Any quality digital agency should have some suggestions.
Promotion & Marketing
How will your customers find your website? Are you willing to count on Google and other search engines to link your page near the top of search results? Many businesses are satisfied with this method, but a well-run marketing campaign can make the difference between adequate results and great results. In the end, your website is your best marketing tool, but it will work best when you combine it with other tools as part of a unified inbound marketing campaign.
A competent digital agency should have no trouble building the design you ask for right from the start. However, once you have lived with your website for year or two, you will almost certainly have some changes you would like to make. There may not be anything wrong with your current design, but it takes some time to realize how exactly your website fits into your business model. Be sure to budget for this possibility. If you do not wish to revise your website, consider the money an extra windfall.
A custom web design can do a lot for your business. Make plans right from the start to make your website pay off for your business. A little planning and preparation now can make everything run more smoothly later.