Don’t let your web developer take you to the cleaners

by Cara Crosetti on December 3, 2013

A case study about affordable web design and development for small businesses. It’s possible.

web developer santa barbara, ca, spiffy web

A good web develop won’t take you to the cleaners

I have a client who found me after they already hired a web design and development agency. I always cringe a little when this happens. It’s a red flag to strategize your website after it’s been designed. Here’s why:

Web design is fun, but it’s not the starting point

It sure it! It’s visual and helps you see what your site will  look like – instant gratification. But don’t be tempted to start here. Designing your website is the second step.

How can you design a website for an excellent user experience without the marketing and business intelligence to tell you what your clients are looking for?

Case Study – My client had a lovely design created without any idea of what type of content or keywords would be used. They designed their navigation without the marketing knowledge that thorough keyword research provides.

Start with keyword research

When I research someone’s industry, competitors and business environment through keyword research before designing a website, my clients learn valuable, factual information to help them make sound, objective business decisions that lay a solid foundation about how their business will appear online.

For example, which keywords can you compete for to outrank your competitors? How do these keywords play into your URL and navigation? How can you structure your site to deliver what your customers are looking for online?

Case Study — As a result of my keyword research, my client changed their navigation to deliver what their prospective clients are looking for and what Google needs to help them be found. They also removed an unnecessary photo gallery (which also saved some money) and enhanced an interactive map.

Design around the content

When your content and strategy is developed with your customer in mind, your design can support your site’s purpose.

If you don’t take this approach, you are sure to design a website that you love because you made the subjective design decisions based on what you like, yet may not connect with what your audience is looking for. Don’t get caught in a trap of doing what you like. Put your clients’ needs first.

Case Study – After making some design changes, like removing unnecessary blocks of content, a photo gallery and archives (this was a new website and my client didn’t have the history to quantify building an archive just yet), they had a clean design that focused on what their audience needs.

Don’t let your web developer take you to the cleaners

Web developers are very important people in the process of turning your website dreams into a reality. However, they are more focused on site architecture and technology than your business’ marketing strategy.

Case Study – The web design and development agency hired by my client churned out a look and functionality that wasn’t custom to their needs. Unfortunately, they charged an arm and a leg for generating generic work that could have suited any industry.

Sadly, they overcharged enormously for a design that was no better than a template look. They also over-processed the development of the website, meaning they applied a development process geared toward a large corporate site to justify the expense. This only forced too much cost onto a small business.

Additionally, the agency lacked a consistent point of contact or project manager, education along the way and a commitment to a timeline. Education is key!

Contact Cara at Spiffy Web, a web developer that puts you and your clients first.




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