Setting up a new business can be a time-consuming and expensive undertaking. As a business owner you have to worry about premises, stock, equipment and employees. The thought of adding "pay a web designer" to your ever-growing list of expenses may not be an appealing one, but it is something that you should definitely do. A good web designer will increase your conversion rate and improve your company's visibility in the long-term, ensuring you recoup your investment many times over.

Bad Design Costs Your Business Money

It's all too common for small business owners, especially those who are a little strapped for cash, to try to save money by designing their own website or getting a family friend to do their website for them at a massive discount. This is not a good idea.

A poorly designed website could cost you far more money than you save in designer fees. Professional web design companies do far more than mark up a few HTML pages to create a website that "looks nice"; they also:

• Arrange reliable, fast hosting on servers that will offer a good browsing experience for your target audience.
• Ensure the design of the website complies with current usability standards.
• Ensure that your website is cross-browser compatible.
• Design "responsive" themes that work well on PCs, smartphones and tablet PCs.
• Take care of SEO for you.
• Choose a stable and secure CMS, or code one that has all the features you need.
• Ensure that your website's back-end code is stable and secure.
• Offer training to help you keep the site up to date.

Are you sure that your "friend of a friend" who is studying I.T. at college can do all of the above? Even if you are confident in their abilities, are you sure that they'll be available at 5pm on a Friday when the latest WordPress update breaks your favourite plugins? If you aren't 100% certain that you'll get professional service from them, look for someone who can. .

Finding a Good Designer

Good web designers usually have extensive portfolios and a large list of clients who are happy to provide testimonials. When you are shopping for a designer, the first thing you should do is contact some of the companies that are listed in each potential designer's portfolio. Ask those companies what they think of the designs they were given; did the designer follow the brief or were they given a site that was vastly different to the design they had asked for? Are they happy with the amount of after-sales support they have received? How easy has it been to get changes made? A good designer takes care of their customers, rather than simply uploading a site for them and then moving on to the next order.

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