Your website is like a garden: it requires constant cultivation and care to look just the way you want—and produce the results you crave. And like gardening, you have the choice of doing it yourself or hiring a professional to help when you’re in the weeds. Whether you need a brand-new website or your current website requires an upgrade, you want to work with experts in both web design and web development. Before you can hire the right people, however, you have to know what you’re looking for.
Web Design Services Explained
Design is what you see when you visit a website. Layout, color, and images make up a cohesive theme that customers will come to associate with your brand. You only have one chance to make a first impression, so you want it to look just right. You probably have some idea of the impression you’d like potential customers to form when they arrive on your site, and a designer can turn this vision into a reality.
A website designer takes your ideas and turns them into a wireframe to use as a blueprint for creating the full site layout. This serves as the initial guide for the finished look and feel of the site and may require some tweaking before it matches the layout you have in mind. Designers can also advise you regarding better placement of page elements to increase the likelihood of visitors following your calls-to-action (CTAs) and becoming paying customers.
Experienced designers understand how to meet the needs of customers through the use of smart layouts and user-friendly menus. Providing a description of your target audience’s unique characteristics makes it easier for a designer to apply his or her knowledge to the final site design. The result is a one-of-a-kind custom website delivered on your timeline and ready to deploy with the help of a developer.
Duties of a Website Developer
Taking a great interface and turning it into a functioning site is the job of a developer. Although web development overlaps with design to a certain degree, there’s much more behind-the-scenes work involved in ensuring the site behaves the way users expect.
Visibility, speed, and uptime are vital to successful e-commerce. A developer’s work covers all the bases by implementing the scripting, programming, and code necessary to bring life to your design. Creating a functional structure supports a logical flow between pages so that not only your customers but also search engine robots can navigate with ease. Good structure and simple navigation are both important for SEO, meaning your site can get a boost in search engine rankings if you have a skilled developer on your team.
There are two types of development involved in building a site:
- Frontend includes code, programming, and scripts
- Backend digs deeper into areas such as database creation, database management, and the nuts and bolts of e-commerce features
Because your business depends on sales and your website is the hub of your e-commerce activities, you need to be sure both frontend and backend development take advantage of the most up-to-date technology, and are the code is always properly executed. Outdated scripts can slow down your site or pose security hazards, leaving you without a reliable way to generate online conversions.
Why Hire a Pro When There Are Website Builders?
As an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to look at the basics of design and development and want to go the DIY route. Many web hosts offer drag-and-drop website builders, and although these can be useful for building and maintaining small sites in certain situations, they can’t offer the robust options or unique customization you’d get if you worked with a real person on the project. Sites built with these tools have a tendency to look very similar, and you could wind up with a layout resembling the one used by a competitor. This lack of distinction makes it difficult to differentiate yourself from others in your industry and convince potential customers of the superiority of your products and services.
Building your own website also takes a lot of time, even with a full-featured tool. Whenever you come across a feature you’re not sure how to use or run up against a snag in the design, you have to stop and troubleshoot until it works the way you want. The hours invested in trying to finish the project on your own could be better spent growing your brand and generating qualified leads.
It’s common to shy away from the idea of paying someone else to handle a project you feel you can manage yourself, but today’s business owners aren’t limited to hiring in-house designers or contracting with expensive design or development companies.
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Choosing the Best Team of Pros
To find just the right people to build and deploy your site, you do need to invest a little time in research. However, it shouldn’t take nearly as long to find talented professionals as it would to try to build and manage an entire business website on your own.
Start by looking for freelancers with skills in the specific services necessary to ensure your website has the layout and functionality you want. Browse portfolios for designs similar to what you have in mind, and read reviews to find out what kind of experiences other clients have had with each designer or developer. Narrow your list down to a few top choices, and send out messages with the details of your project. Ask what information they need from you to put the site together and if they are able to meet your deadline.
You may be able to find one person with both design and development skills, or you may need to hire two separate people. If you do bring more than one freelancer on board, make sure you’re all on the same page regarding what the site is for, how it should look, and what functions it needs to perform. Overcommunicate and plan appropriately to guarantee the finished product are launched on the date you have in mind.
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