Either you want more out of your online business or you’re thinking about taking your business online. That’s pretty much the state of most organizations these days no matter what size they are. Good news is…you have a lot of options when starting or refreshing your online presence. You can build your own website with any one of the “Do it Yourself” templatized services out there. You can have it built by a professional, or you can just go the cheapest way and make a Facebook page and hope for the best.

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Having your own website is still the best course of action to establish a strong online presence. That being said, you may not want a website that looks like a personal blog. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just that it may not be the look you were going for. And, you might not have the time or the know-how to build a nice, clean and modern website for your business that really speaks to your audience.

If you already know that you want to get a professional web design service to take your online presence to the next level, you’ll quickly realize that it can be quite intimidating as you blaze through the internet for the best web design services. You also might get bombarded with what I like to call buzzword bingo. The volume of terms and acronyms are confusing, and by now you’re ready to hire almost anyone just to get the show on the road.

Do yourself a favor. Pause and take a breather for a sec. Study and compare your choices because it’s a lot harder to fire someone than it is to hire them. Figure out what you really need with your website. Before you make your decision, have a look at the 9 most common mistakes to avoid when looking for the best design services:

#1 Overpaying your designer

Since they charge a small fortune, they must offer the best web design services, right? No. You might encounter web designers that try to lose you in a smokescreen of tech speak or a long list of what they think they could do to make your website pop. At the end of the day, your website is just a part of your business, and it shouldn’t cost more than what it could potentially bring in the first 3 months.

How to avoid:

Many of the web design companies would try to convince you to add things to your website that you don’t actually need. Instead of letting your designer take charge of your project, let your designer know what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t let complicated terms and web speak convince you into paying more; or simply put, don’t pay for anything that you don’t fully understand. Focus the scope of your website needs based on the value of the online interactions with your audience that you’re trying to get within a specific timeframe. That will help you correctly scope the effort and cost of your project. If you’re on a budget, it will help you to get an accurate assessment of what a website would cost and you might find that a phased approach could work for you and your audience. In addition, try to get more value out of your investment by looking for an SEO and Internet Marketing company that also offers web design services. This will help you get a return on your investment to fund the next phase of your site.

#2 Paying too little

While it’s perfectly understandable to want a low-cost service, paying too little on a web design project may not give you the value that you are expecting. We’ve heard countless stories of customers who are left with junk projects all because they thought they got a steal for the price. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Your website is your biggest online advertisement, and the quality of your website reflects the quality of your business. Did you know that almost 80% of consumer and business-to-business purchases begin with the customer doing online research? With an investment that’s too low, you risk losing money by representing your business online with a low-quality product or a project that’s not delivered on time.

How to avoid:

If you’re operating on a tight budget, look for the best web design services that would give you more value for your money. What does this mean? First, if your budget is super low to begin with but you’re willing to paying a little bit more than what you expected, make sure that the company you’re working with is a team of people that you can see yourself building a long-term relationship with. Ask yourself this. If you were going to hire this person or team as your full-time marketing department of permanent employees, would you still hire them? Second, make sure that the organization that you choose has other services that you will need in the future so that you can manage your budget over a period of time because success online is a journey. As we’ve said before, there are NO shortcuts, if you wanna do it right and you value the experience of your customers.

#3 Being unprepared

You’ve heard the phrase, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan” and that couldn’t be any farther from the truth when it comes to web design or your online presence. When you approach a web design company for a project, it would be best if you come prepared with an idea and documentation of what you want your website to be. You should at least have a list of things that you want, or a website that your designer can use as a reference. Saying “I need a website, how much would it set me back?” tells your designer that your project is still in the planning phase, and he would need to spend time planning your website. To the designer, this is interpreted as, “hey I should be charging you more money”, and that’s not gonna help you if you’re on a tight budget.

How to avoid:

Being unprepared could cost you more delays and more money. Just imagine your designer going back and forth with web designs that just doesn’t appeal to you. My advice? Make a checklist. If you don’t have one. No reason to recreate the wheel so feel free to use our Website Survey Questionnaire. It’s a list of questions that after you answer it, can be use as a draft of your plan for your website. Better yet, get an SEO and internet marketing company to do your planning, and your web designs for you so that you can better ensure getting a return on your investment after your site goes live.

#4 No content management and maintenance

Building a website is a one-time event, right? I don’t think so. And if you try to convince yourself otherwise, you’ll been in for a surprise or not a lot of web traffic. After launching your website, you’re gonna need consistent and fresh updates on your content, design, themes and offers. No updates would not only make your website stale, boring, and utterly pointless but online search engines would rank your site as less relevant therefore reducing your search ranking results. A consistent stream of updates and new content would get you more traffic. In fact, a survey conducted by Hubspot reveals that companies that blog 15+ times a month get 5x more traffic than companies that don’t.

How to avoid:

Get an ongoing maintenance service for your website. Otherwise, you’ll end up giving up. The best web design services would always have some sort of maintenance plan to go with your web design project. One-off design projects will always need someone to consistently update the website, and on-going site updates will end up saving you money in the long run. Make sure that when you get a designer to do your website, have it done with a content management system like WordPress. Also, make sure that you are up-to-date with every log-in created for your website. Get a maintenance package from your designer, or better yet, find an on-going maintenance bundle from an SEO and internet marketing company that supports your goals.

#5 Rush jobs

While the online world appears to be like living life in the fastlane, the best thing you could do for your web design would be to slow things down just a bit. When creativity is important, web design is no simple task. Even with a lot of the templates available out there. Unless you want your site to look like all of your competitors, it’s better not to be too hasty. Asking for a rush job or even allowing designers to offer you a rush job level of service will only get you a generic rush looking website and nothing special. Would you really want to get a website that looks like your 16-year-old nephew built it as a favor? Your customers that are probably spending good money with you might think “Is this the quality that I’m going to get?” I know, it sounds pretty harsh, right? If you really need your website live within a critical time-frame, then go for it, but don’t expect the best web design service at a cheap price. Rush jobs will only give you doodle art when you can get a masterpiece with a more reasonable timeframe.

How to avoid:

Avoid this critical mistake by managing your time effectively. Plan ahead. If you have a time-sensitive project, have the details of your needs documented before you hand it over to your designer. It would also help if you keep an open line of communication with your web designer, so your designer can ask you questions, and you can respond right away to prevent further delays. The most effective way would be to work with a full-service partner that positions themselves as a web design, SEO and internet marketing company that way you get feedback, direction and strategy on how your website project can succeed from beginning to end.

#6 Getting your friends to do it

It may be cool to get your techie friend Jonas to do the job for you, but unless your buddy works as a designer full time, you might get a cheeky half-baked site that doesn’t speak to your audience and, it may be tougher to update later on. Your website is your most important online asset. Your best bet is to work with a professional. With a professional handling your web design, you can be assured that you’re not wasting time and resources. Better yet, get a professional with marketing expertise. Get in touch with an SEO and Internet Marketing company to see how you can create a great website for your business and help you launch it with campaigns and compelling content.

How to avoid:

Keep a clear boundary between your business and personal relations. If you’re looking for an expert, hire no less than an expert. Advice from your buddies is always great but there’s a big difference in getting advice and getting them to help you “on the side” because that usually ends up in a catastrophe. Instead, use your personal network as a launchpad for your website and business ideas which will help you spread the word and let people know what kind of products and services your business offers.

#7 Not paying attention to portfolio

When you look at a web designer’s portfolio, do you know what to look for?

One of the most common problems that startups have is hiring a designer based on portfolio snapshots alone. There’s a lot more that goes on in web design, and in order to know what to expect with your web designer, you would need to dig deeper into the designer’s portfolio and beyond.

How to avoid:

When checking out a web designer’s customer portfolio, try these:

Visit the website, and navigate around. Do the pages load properly? Check other sites in the designer’s portfolio. Is there any particular design that you like? Check the testimonials, if your designer has any. Watch out for well-detailed comments. Clients that take the time to provide a detailed testimonial or comment is either really pleased, or really disappointed. Last but not least, ask the provider what measurable results will they be able to deliver?

#8 Lost logins

You may not believe this but some designers would go to the extent of holding your website as hostage. Whether they’re unhappy with the way you’re compensating their service, or simply because they have no further plans of finishing it, I’ve heard horror stories of websites held hostage unless the customer throws more money in the pot. Leaving your designer with all of your website’s credentials would expose your website to events such as these. Shady designers have done it before, and if you’re not careful, you might be next.

How to avoid:

It’s simple. You can’t be overly trusting in the online world. If it’s possible, create the credentials yourself and give it to your designer. That way you could still recover your credentials, if anything goes wrong. Also, it’s important to have your agreement on paper. Whether it’s a project contract, or a non-disclosure agreement, it’s best to have your business legally-backed up in case something happens.

#9 Assigning the job to strangers

In contrast to point #6, it’s important to build a relationship and know your web designer first before moving forward. Not knowing your designer leads to mid-project surprises such as the lack of skill to accomplish a specific website function or task. Can they do Java-related tasks? How about Ajax? PHP? SEO? You don’t need to know your designer personally, all you need to know is what they can do, and more importantly, what they can’t do.

How to avoid:

Check out their portfolio (See #7) , or better yet, hire a web development company who has the in-house skill set to both design and develop your website. Keep in mind these are both 2 very different skill sets. The best web design firms always have a complete team of experts with different skills who can do the job for you. Figure out what you want with your website first before looking for a designer. Some clients look for designers first and then ask for their opinion about developing their website. Not only may it potentially derail the entire vision of the client, it also puts the designer in a tough spot. More often than not, designers will come up with an incredible design but functionality wise, they’ll have a difficult time delivering due to missing/different skill sets.

Bottom-line, avoid these mistakes and you’ll have a super successful website. Xtendly is a full-service web design, development and SEO and internet marketing company that handles all of your online marketing needs to prevent these types of concerns. Our experts operate as a part of your team and are always ready to help you manage your online presence.