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The right and wrong web design agency for your business

Cocoonfxmedia Ltd

When you’re faced with the formidable task of getting a new website up and running for your Birmingham business, you will no doubt be faced with a number of options, some seemingly more appealing than the others. This is definitely true if you are having to work to a strict budget, or have a short deadline. However not all is as it seems when it comes to the right choice of Web Design Agency for your business objectives.

You see there are a number of approaches to getting your website completed, and unless you have an employee with a specialist skill in web design, you will at some point, need to access a professional web design agency to create your business website.

In which case you will likely be faced with the 4 most common options:

  1. Online DIY Website Builder
  2. Pay Monthly National Web Design Company
  3. Local Web Design Birmingham Agency
  4. Freelance Web Designer

So, which of these options will suit your business needs? And what are the potential issues for your business if you decide to use one of these options? Well we’ve put together some positives and negatives for you to consider to help you to avoid the wrong web design agency for your business website.

Avoiding the Wrong Type of Web Design Agency

So, let’s have a brief look at the options available to you, the costs and potential impact on your web design goals and marketing objectives.

Just as a side note, we won’t be making comments on the costs for website hosting and domain names, which are often unavoidable expenditures when it comes to professional business websites and can be purchased separately or as a package deal with your chosen web design agency.

  1. Online DIY Website Builders

Tell me more: If you fancy taking on the task of web design yourself (or delegating it to an employee) then you may be thinking about using some of the DIY website software available online today.

These online programs feature useful tools that allow you to drag and drop text, images and buttons into your chosen web design template. Additional payments for upgrades are required for premium features, such as ecommerce (online shopping) and to remove the website builder brand name from your site or website address.

Why it could work for you: If you’re on an extremely tight budget and are in need of a simple website in order to stake your claim on the worldwide web as a contact point, then this could work for your business.  This is the most affordable option, with impact on your cash flow at a minimum. You would have full control on the web design in terms of images, layout and styling without having to understand code. Many of the website templates are also modern and surprisingly professional in appearance.

What to watch out for: Not all that glitters is gold, and unfortunately despite how simple the process sounds, it’s not as beneficial for your business as you might think. Using an online web builder program takes more time than you realise, which of course is less time spent on looking after existing customers, and can be very frustrating trying to fix mistakes and use software with which you’re unfamiliar.

In addition to this, the end result of a website designed without professional support can end up just that… unprofessional. Confusing layouts, wrong flow structures and damaging links could compromise your website usability and ruin trust in your brand. 

There’s also the matter of your marketing goals. If you’re looking to boost brand awareness and draw in more customers, then DIY web design lacking correct search engine optimisation can cause your website to be overlooked when people search online, leaving your site relegated to page 44 of Google search results and you in a complete state of befuddlement.

Approx. Costs: £0.00 - £360.00 per year.

Your website will be taken offline if payments stop.

  1. Pay Monthly National Web Design Company

Tell me more: Appearing prominently in your Google searches for web design agencies will be the larger national web design companies, offering professional looking websites for an affordable down payment followed by continuous low monthly payments. With thousands of customers from across the country, these national companies offer quick turnarounds and optional extras for designing your business website.

Why it could work for you: Having a hassle-free way to get your website designed and at a low upfront cost can be useful for many new start-ups looking for appealing and functional websites, without the commitment or regular interactions with designers.  Depending on your web design requirements, you can purchase a variety of pay monthly packages that allow you access to more complex features and have general optimisation for search engines included as standard.

You may also be given the option to add content independently – but be prepared to learn how to operate their particular CMS (content management system).

With many national pay monthly website companies outside of Birmingham, you will find helpful reviews and testimonials. These are useful to check prior to contacting the web design agency to help you to know what type of service and web design options you will receive.

What to watch out for: With pay monthly web design agencies, when payments stop, so does your website. So ultimately you won’t own your business web design and will be required to increase your monthly payments if you need new work to expand your website.

As these national web design companies have many… many customers, they aren’t able to dedicate large amounts of time and effort personalising each individual project, therefore they use standard web design templates which limit future site functionality (e.g. causing issues if you want to add a shop function or product display). You may also find that customer service declines rapidly after you’ve signed up to having your site created, causing a lack of response to requests and long waiting times for alterations or updates.

One last note to watch out for… some national companies can pass on your contact details to other marketing companies eager to get your business [cue the irritating cold calls to your work phone] so make sure you specify that you don’t want this when contacting them.

Approx. Costs: From £299-899 initial costs. Monthly payments from £9.99 - £60 per month.

Your website will be taken offline if payments stop.

  1. Local Web Design Birmingham Agency

Tell me more: You’d be hard pressed NOT to find a local Web Design Birmingham agency to support your business. These smaller businesses set out to serve the Birmingham business community and often provide web development as well as web design skills (meaning you receive websites that are built to look good on the front, but function brilliantly behind the scenes). Web Design Birmingham agencies will offer a range of sites, from small simple websites to large, complex ecommerce sites with tools and log-in features. To find your local agency, simply search online for Web Design Agency Birmingham.

Why it could work for you: If you are a bit of a visionary in regards to your business website requirements and want to stand out from competitors, then a Birmingham web design agency should be able to design a bespoke website to your exact needs. This is because web design Birmingham based agencies have fewer customers and so provide a more flexible, personal service, often encouraging local meetings with designers and regular communication in order to provide your business with a unique web design that meets the goals you are trying to achieve.

With Birmingham web design agencies, you’re paying to own your website design and content, which means once the complete cost is paid, the website is owned by you and your business, not held to ransom or taken down due to a missed payment.

As you will be receiving personalised support from a web design Birmingham agency, be prepared to hear ideas, as well as give them. When you work in partnership with local web design teams, they may also offer the best route to success for getting your website recognised online and ways to rank higher in Google searches. If you’re serious about growing your business, then it’s worth considering these professional opinions if you eventually want the website to pay for itself.

What to watch out for: As with all local web design companies, there are some very good ones, and some very bad ones. So make sure you do your homework before choosing a Web Design Birmingham company, and check their website for case studies, reviews and website examples to assess their capabilities.

As you will be purchasing a fully designed website, the initial cost for your business will be higher than the pay monthly websites (think of the situation around leasing or purchasing a car). So this may not suit very small budgets, and may require some effort to accumulate the right amount of funds for this type of investment. Most good web design agencies in Birmingham offer payment plans to spread the cost of the purchase, but be wary of companies that require total upfront payments and make sure to ask if there will be any additional costs as the project progresses.

Approx. Costs: £1,000 - £3,500: For small business websites. £2,500 – 15,000+ for large complex business websites.

 4. Freelance Web Designers

Tell me more: Much like Birmingham web design agencies, freelance web designers support their local region but tend to specialise in web design for niche industries. You will often find that you can access a tailored service and cost for your business when choosing freelance web designers.

Why it could work for you: It’s interesting to note that quite a few freelance web designers get their work from recommendations, and people that know a friend, who knows a friend… who knows how to build websites. Birmingham businesses that choose freelancers like that one-to-one collaboration and are keen to get a degree of flexibility and individuality, which basically amounts to, an extension to their existing team.

An additional plus side is that freelancers don’t have the overheads of an agency, so they can charge a bit less for your web design.

What to watch out for: Reliability is a key concern for businesses that consider freelance web designers. This is of course understandable considering that designers work alone and unlike an agency, are unable to pass over the project should they get sick, go on their holidays or take on more work then they can complete.  Freelance web designers also lack the wide range of skills available with an agency, for example they may require that you source your own images and write your own search engine optimised content, rather than offer these services.

You may also find that freelancers lack the payment support to help you achieve the website that you need, meaning that you will often pay a high initial down payment, but once the payment is complete you should own the designed site.

Approx. Costs: £500- £6,000 / £20 – £70 per hour.

Making an Informed Decision

Choosing the right web design agency for your business website is an important decision, because ultimately, that site should be designed to expertly represent the professionalism of your business, effectively market your brand and bring in additional customers.

Hopefully by considering each option, you can narrow down your choice of web design agency to find the right fit for your business needs and budget – avoiding any potential disasters and wasted expense.

When choosing your web design agency, it helps to keep clearly in mind the reasons why you need a website and your marketing objectives. Which is why it’s useful to decide on a web design agency that offers additional marketing services; promoting your website across the internet. An idea of these services can be found here.

We hope this advice helped you to avoid the wrong web design agency and make the right choice when it comes to your Birmingham business website.

This article was written by Cocoonfxmedia Ltd.

Visit our website for more advice on web design, including a free downloadable document to help you plan your website.