Choosing a web design company can be overwhelming & time consuming, especially if you don’t know where to start. The Gravity Junction team wrote this to give you a little insight into getting started: some of the jargon used, what services you’ll absolutely need no matter what, the phases of development, and how to keep your site running after it’s up.
The goal is to equip you with enough info to find a web design company & combat any surprises along the way. The last thing you want is to find yourself spending time and money just to be back where you started.
Gravity Junction, the best Atlanta digital marketing agency, is here to give you four useful tips when it comes to choosing a web design company!
Understand Tech Talk
It may seem like common sense to DYOR (do your own research) when investing in something new, but too many people don’t even know where to start with web development technology. Tech like websites can seem like a big, scary monster so most people put it off…forever.
We’re here to help! We’ve defined the key tech terms you’ll need to know so that you can navigate the conversations around building your dream website with a responsive web design, and hopefully avoid any pitfalls along the way.
- CMS – CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM is a software application that can be used to manage the creation and modification of digital content.
Straight Talk: It’s a fancy way of saying what platform your website is built on. WordPress is the most common CMS.
- SEO – SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION is the process of increasing the number of visitors to a particular website by obtaining a higher ranking on the search engine results page.
Straight Talk: Being on Page 1 of Google instead of Page 10. More eyeballs on you. More customers for you.
- CRM – CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT – this is a sales and customer management software for overseeing all of your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and prospects. Straight Talk: When Karen calls in, don’t you want to ensure you have every detailed note on all of your previous exchanges? Everyone wants to be prepared for a “Karen.”
Straight Talk: The “Front End” is what your website looks like to your customers. Is it pretty & clean, or messy and gross?
- Back End Development – refers to the skill that powers the web application through code that connects the web to a database.
Straight Talk: The nuts and bolts underneath your website that make it tick. Getting into hardcore tech here.
- Full Stack Development – the ability to create both client and server software; this person can work on both the front and back ends of the software.
Straight Talk: Full Stack is the full rodeo. Back End + Front End.
Know What Services You Need
There are a few services & systems that every business needs. We’ve outlined these for you with brief descriptions so that you have a baseline for where to start and what to ask for.
This list covers each service that’s essential for having a responsive web design and will give you a great starting point in finding someone who can do it the right way.
- Hosting Services – IT infrastructure or applications that organizations access from external service providers, typically through the World Wide Web
Straight Talk: Where your website lives.
- Domain Name – Identifying string that defines a network address as belonging to a particular administration, e.g. www.google.com
Straight Talk: Your website’s address on the internet. Sort of like your house address but for your business or company online.
- Domain Specific Emails – the web address that follows the @ symbol in an email address
Straight Talk: Having an email address with your company’s name instead of @gmail or @yahoo or a generic email provider’s. Makes you look more professional and legitimate.
- SSL – SECURE SOCKETS LAYER is a secure protocol developed for sending information securely over the internet, safeguarding sensitive data, and preventing criminals from accessing information
Straight Talk: SSL certificates make people feel safe on your website. They trust they won’t get hacked or scammed.
- Legal Services – You will need the following terms on your website:
- Terms of Services
- Disclaimer (if needed)
- CRM – Customer Relationship Management is a software used by sales people & marketers to collect information on your customers, potential customers (leads) and really anyone that touches your business.CRM can be integrated into your website or used as a stand alone software. Straight Talk: CRM is how you track what your salespeople are doing, keep up to date with your customers & how they’re doing, and should function as the “brain” when it comes to organizing information about your sales & marketing.
Web Design Services
There are three main constraints to balance when it comes to building a website: time, quality, and cost. If you’re in too much of a rush, you’ll end up paying a higher dollar amount as your software peeps will be expected to get things done quicker. This could result in a lower quality website.
If you’re balling on a budget, you may be able to get the price point you want but at a much slower pace.
If you’re looking for quality, expect to pay a higher dollar amount & have a medium ish turnaround time for executing your site well.
One key thing to remember: If it sounds too good to be true (especially in software!), it usually is. Remembering the three key ingredients and aligning those with your goals is critical to a good website done correctly.
The development process for a website can seem hectic, and downright nasty if you’re on the outside looking in. As Atlanta’s best digital marketing company, we wanted to provide a little insight into what a solid development timeline looks like so you’re not out there flapping in the wind:
Web Development Process
- Logins & Passwords
- Contact Information
- Logo Files
- Content/Text (or prepare for interviews if you have delegated content to a copywriter)
- All media files
Design – This process is case by case – some dev shops will completely draw out their design plans for you before any development takes place, others may design and develop at the same time
Development – The time it takes the development team to build out the site
Feedback & Change Orders – You will definitely need to review the work during the development process and list any modifications you find that are needed
Mobile Responsive Design – Much of the time developers wait until the entire site is built out and approved to adjust for mobile, but this is absolutely essential
QA – Quality Assurance: Once your site is live, this phase is for testing to ensure everything is up to par and that there aren’t any bugs
Be wary of developers who leave their clients in the dust just after launching. You need a team to set you up for success with the best tools post-implementation, like SEO, for example. Here are a few items any great developer or agency should be giving you.
- Create redirects from old site
- Install Tracking Codes
- Submit sitemap to Google Search Console
- Run site through GTMetrix to see if any optimization needs to be done
- Set up Google Webmaster Tools
Web Design Maintenance and What to Expect
It’s important to know that your website will require just about as much updating as your Iphone. Your website will require frequent software updates & we know a software update is probably not your top priority time wise.
It’s critical that you enroll in a regular technical service update, so that this process is taken care of for you. You’ll need a reliable team to take care of your website while you keep killing it at running your business.
A full-service marketing agency can take care of your website AND:
- Publish Consistent Blog Posts to keep you relevant
- Press Release Syndication
- Influencer Outreach
- Email Marketing
- Consistent Social Media Publishing
- Wikipedia Submission
- Submit Articles in Industry Specific Publications
With endless website companies out there we know it’s a lot to sort through. To have great conversations and find the right web design agency for you, it’s important to know some basics. We hope this article gives you some great tidbits to get started so you can talk to agencies with confidence and know what to look for.
Gravity Junction, the top Atlanta marketing company, considers ourselves honored to be your guide to the digital world! Following these tips could save you BIG in the long run; in time, cash spent, and headaches.
Stay safe, and keep killing it! We’re here for you, 24/7.