Let’s Talk Web Design for Small Businesses

Where to start with Web Design & where does it end?

The web design journey can start from a variety places. Depending on your business. There will be things to consider. Like what platform to build it on. What kind of website to build? So much more to decide on for your business, and website. 

We look to tackle the basics. Which will help you on the path to not only building your company website. But the right one to suit your needs. One thing to get out of the way. If you’re serious about your web design. It doesn’t stop with just the first iteration. The  website should evolve along with the business. It needs to reflect where you are currently and will be with your business.

Photo by Sydney Rae

Deciding on a Web Design

The platform you choose to build the website on will dictate some of the process for you. There’s a lot of people that look to build out eCommerce & marketplace stores. In an effort to give a customer a direct line to their product line.

There will be the main platforms to choose from like Shopify (Shopify Plus), BigCommerce, Magneto, Woo Commerce. We can keep going. Squarespace, Wix, and Big Cartel round off a solid top 10 list. You can find more information on each platform in Tara Johnson’s article on CPCStrategy.com. She asks and answers some  key questions you’d want to know. Ex: Should you sell on a marketplace or an eCommerce platform – or both? If that question throws you, then we’ve got some work to do in this article.

Photo by Igor Miske

Instead of going down that rabbit hole. Let’s keep it at the surface level. Especially considering there are people that aren’t looking for eCommerce or marketplace reading this article. We can go into more detail on a store specific based article.

The important take away is that these platforms and software let you host, and manage your online store. Which makes it more of a one stop shop situation. Whereas if you’re not looking to build an online store or marketplace. You would have to take those things into consideration.

One of the things I like about going outside of these platforms is that it provides more room to customize the website. Whether you’re building it from scratch using code or building it off of blocks and templates. You still have more room to make it your own.

Photo by Galymzhan Abdugalimov

Web Hosting and Web Domain Services

Always interesting when I have a conversation with potential clients, and they’re telling me that they’re ready to go. Setting timelines. Some absolutely unrealistic. Others a bit more down to earth. Laughing at examples in my head as I’m typing.

Website Hosting & Website Domains tend to be forgotten steps in the process. It’s easy to get so caught up in the idea. That you skip right over the essential details. I’ve spent hours with clients trying to find variations of the name they’d like to use for their domain. Astronomical prices to buy it from the original owner can be enough to break a person’s spirit. It’s okay don’t let it rob you of your enthusiasm and motivation. There will be people that know a good name when they hear one and lock it down long before you come up with the idea to attach to it. It’s an unsavory business but a lucrative one. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve considered it but my good nature won’t allow it.

Take the time to do the research and check for the domain that matches your inspiration. It can help you craft the idea in ways you may have never even thought about. The goal is to have it all tie together with a nice bow if and when possible.

Photo by Cytonn Photography

Be sure to leave room in your budget for web hosting. Either that or finding a web designer that has the ability to host the site for you. The other shoe on allowing the web designer to host the site is you are beholden to them. Insert shameless plug here… Majority Media can host and build company websites. However, we setup an annual contract. For a couple of reasons. You may be on a budget and look to pay for the project in installments. The other we want to give you an out so that the site can be exported and you can take control. There are way too many horror stories of people having their website built and being held hostage by the website designer. Been there and never want to pay that forward.

You’ve taken care of the foundational elements. Now what?

Now comes the fun part. The patience and due diligence pay dividends. You get to start putting together the ideas for the website. Once again, the process is different depending on the business, and the stakeholders.

You can look at other websites to get ideas. Gauge what it looks like it’s working and what doesn’t. Checking out the businesses  competitors for motivation and insights. There’s a mantra that I live by. One that resonates in business, and life. In life you will always be an example. That part is non-negotiable. What is in your control is what kind of an example you will be. A good example of what to do right. Or a good example of what not to do.

One suggestion that I make to clients that really don’t have clear examples of what they’d like to have on their website. Start with a wire frame. Which is a bare bones’ example of what the website will look like. Then build on it from there.

Photo by Hal Gatewood

Some sketch on a napkin. Others on paper and notebooks to provide the visual. In my case and with my company I prefer to put together more robust visualization. Majority Media builds out a bare bones’ website example when not building off of a pre-existing templates. It takes more of an investment in time. However, it helps to move the process along a lot faster once clients have a real starting point. It becomes real and you receive better feedback.

Just when you thought things were getting simple there’s Website Media & Website Content

I’m going to close on this because it is one of the most important parts of the process. Not just in web design. But in finding the right web designer. Website content and website media will drastically affect the price that you’re quoted and the final price of the project.

In a perfect world you can get to this point and just pick photographs you find online and be all set. Unfortunately, stock photos more than not will not free. Suggestion to my clients. Take the time to take pictures that you can use on the website. Use it as a way to motivate you with what the site will look like. It will paint a much clearer picture than taking what you can get for free or hope to find paying for.

Photo by Alex Holyoake

One of my favorite clients is a black owned business, and he insists on having pictures of people that look like him. Understandable outlook and request but it will take more work securing the images needed. Again, things like that affect the cost of the project.

If you’re working on a limited budget. It’s a help me, help you situation. That’s if you have a web designer that is going to tell you that part. I know plenty that will happily keep their mouths shut and just bill you. Under the guides of customer service and the customer is always right.

I’ll end this here as there will be more portions to cover. Stay tuned for the continuation covering the next steps and different stages of entrepreneurs and companies in need of website designing services.

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