Hiring a Kelowna Web Design Company?
If you’re in business, you need a website. That’s true for all but the most obscure companies. But merely having a website doesn’t guarantee that you will be successful online. How well the website performs is far more important than how good it looks. This makes it difficult for small business owners to know if they’re getting their money’s worth. If you’re looking to hire a Kelowna web design company, this post is for you.
Why You Should Invest In Your Website
It wasn’t long ago that a few pictures, a short bio, and a phone number was all that a website needed. Back then, we used the web like we used the phone book or yellow pages—as a directory to find contact information. Many search engines even used directories as the basis for their search results.
These days the internet is so much more. We now carry the sum of all human knowledge in our pocket. In an instant, we can find an answer for almost any question we can think to ask. And we can buy almost anything from our phone and have it delivered the very next day. You can bet your customers are looking for the products and services you sell, online.
If you’re not showing up online when your customers search, your competitors will get the business. And believe me, it will get more difficult the longer you wait. A good website will attract the right customers, build trust, and engage with your audience. But before you run out to hire a Kelowna web design company, ask yourself “what do I really need?”.
Scenario 1 – The Manager of a Hiking and Outdoor Equipment Store
Imagine you own a small hiking and outdoor equipment store. Does your website offer information and maps for local hiking trails or advice on what gear to bring? Does it provide inspiration for new places to explore or tips to avoid unexpected problems? You might give this information out to clients over the counter, but you won’t get the chance once your competitor starts providing it online.
Scenario 2 – The Owner of a Custom Ski & Snowboard Shop
Will customers remember that you rent skis before they head up to Big White? Can they browse your products online or read reviews from other customers? Are customers able to place orders for custom products that you don’t carry in stock?
Scenario 3 – The Manager of a New Upscale Restaurant.
Does your website handle online reservations? Will professional photos make it clear what sort of dress code is expected? Do customers find an enticing menu with information about your gluten-free options? Can they find it easy to leave you a review when they’re finished?
Scenario 4 – A Plumber Who Takes Emergency Service Calls.
Is your phone number front and centre when they’re in a panic because their hot water tank is leaking all over the basement? Can it build trust in your service before you’ve even knocked on the door? Will it prepare them for the bill and make it easier for you to collect?
These are just a few examples of how a website can help set your business apart from your competitors.
Answering these questions is one of the ways we set our websites apart from competitors and the main reason we don’t use aftermarket themes.
Main Street Creative
Estimating Your Return on Investment
If you have an existing website with some tracking in place, you’ll have some data from which to base your estimates. If you’re launching a new website, start with conservative numbers to ensure your expectations are realistic.
Let’s pretend you run the small hiking and outdoor equipment store from scenario one. The concept is the same if you’re trying to generate leads, build awareness, or accomplish almost any other goal online. For this example, we’ll need to make a few assumptions about the business:
- The business can reasonably expect an average sale of $125;
- The business has an average profit margin of 30% on goods sold at retail prices;
- You would like to close two sales per day online (or 60 per month).
- Existing staff have time to pack and ship those sales during the day.
Based on these assumptions, 60 sales will increase revenue by $7,500 a month with no extra costs. And at a 30% profit margin, the business would see an extra $2,250 in profit each month. This figure can help you decide on a budget that makes sense for your business.
In Kelowna, a basic website should cost between $3,500 and $6,000 and an ecommerce website should cost between $5,000 and $10,000. The quotes you receive will vary depending on the size of the agency and the scope of work they propose. Experienced developers will produce better results in less time, but may include more features in the scope of work they propose. You’ll want to read the specifics of your proposals carefully when comparing. Ask lots of questions.
Regardless of how much you spend on your website, it won’t do any good if it doesn’t get sufficient traffic. You’ll need a strategy in place to get that traffic once your website is launched.
Estimating Your Traffic Needs
To get an idea of how much traffic will be needed to reach your goals, we’ll work backwards. In business terms, this is known as a marketing or purchase funnel. The idea is that a website needs a large amount of visitors (the top of the funnel) to generate a small number of sales (the bottom of the funnel).
Visitors will arrive at your website for any number of reasons, such as:
- Looking for reviews local hikes they’re interested in (from one of your blog posts);
- Researching new gear or read reviews from other customers (on one of your product pages);
- Finding your address or phone number (on your homepage or contact page);
- Comparing prices (on your catalogue or product page);
If your website works well, those visitors will keep browsing until they make a purchase. Each page should be designed to reinforce your brand and move visitors through the decision making process. Eventually a small percentage will place an order and become customers.
Using Benchmark Conversion Rates
Search Engine Land compared a variety of industries and found ecommerce conversion rates averaged 1.84%. This is not an unrealistic target for the business in our example.
Using the formula “number of sales (60) divided by conversion rate (1.84%) equals number of visitors required” we can calculate our traffic needs at 3,260 visitors per month.
Gauging Overall Interest in a Topic
We also need to gauge how much interest there is online for your products and services. You’ll likely rely on search engines to deliver the majority of your website’s traffic. We can use Google’s Keyword Planning Tool to help estimate how many people are searching for your particular products or services each month. This information will help guide your marketing efforts and form the basis for your marketing plan.
In Kelowna, the search term “hiking” is searched around 4,500 times each month. On its’ own that wouldn’t be nearly enough to reach our traffic needs, but the actual number will be much higher when you factor in other search terms and long-tail keywords. Furthermore, your website can bring in visitors from nearby communities, tourists, and possibly even some international shoppers.
If you need help setting viable goals and understanding how to make those goals a reality, book a free consultation. We’d love to help set realistic expectations and a clear understanding of what to look for when you’re having a website developed.
Hiring a Kelowna Web Design Company
Now that you’ve got a budget in mind, it’s time to think about the Kelowna web design company that will build it for you. A quick search will turn up dozens of local agencies that can provide a beautiful, mobile-friendly website. Each company is bound to have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some will focus on branding and design and get you excited about your logo and color theory. Others will hope to seal the deal with low pricing and promotions. Choosing between two companies with similar quotes comes down to personal preference and asking the right questions.
Here some really important things to keep in mind when you’re comparing those quotes.
1. Know Who You’re Really Hiring
A lot of companies try to look bigger by including freelance contractors in their team bios. Although I personally find the practice deceptive, there’s nothing inherently wrong with hiring a contractor. However, if you’re making a decision because you trust in the company’s experience, it’s important to know who you’re actually hiring to do the work.
2. Avoid Proprietary Software
Using proprietary software such as a proprietary content management system (CMS), will make it difficult for you to switch agencies down the road. Fortunately, most agencies in Kelowna focus on one of two open source platforms, Drupal and WordPress. We specialize in WordPress, which powers over 30% of the entire internet and is, in our opinion, the world’s best content management system. Furthermore, using an open source platform means that more of our time is spent on providing the best solution possible and not reinventing the wheel.
3. It’s What’s On The Inside That Counts
Amazingly, a lot of web design companies don’t even code the websites they sell. Some merely license and setup aftermarket themes (usually licensed for $50 from developers in India, China, or Romania). Not only does this increase the possibility of security flaws, but it generally means the website is bloated with unnecessary features, slow when compared to a custom website, and need to be updated constantly. It also means the website is likely used for thousands of other websites around the world. Ask the developer if they are coding the website themselves or using an aftermarket theme.
4. Appearances Can be Deceiving
A great portfolio is important, but if they don’t actually code, what is the portfolio really saying about their capabilities? Plus, the real magic isn’t in the look and feel of a website anyway, it’s in the execution. Beautiful offices and a lot of talk about branding, design, color theory, and strategy can’t replace real world results. Ask the company for more information about their portfolio. Better yet, contact the companies directly and ask about their online success. Never base your decision on how pretty their portfolio looks.
5. Remember That This Is An Important Decision
Most importantly, your website should evolve over time as your company grows. A good website will be flexible and scalable and remain a critical part of your marketing strategy. Investing in the right tool today will have meaningful implications for years to come. Choose a company with the experience and professionalism to deliver results and ask them to prove it.
Thanks for reading!