One day you wake up, take a peek at your site, and realize something is not quite right. It could be a structural issue, maybe there is an excessive bounce rate or just isn’t converting views to sales, or maybe you’ve just outgrown or become tired of your design. Whatever the reason, it’s time to contact a boutique web design firm for a redesign. Below are some common web site design mistakes that may cause you to rethink your current boutique design:
1) Your splash page doesn’t pop. Your splash page needs to have a unique message and call to action and needs to mesh with your intended audience his explanation. Discovering the right mix of wording and images along with a unique message to harness the theme associated with your site is usually an even more challenging job than expected. An experienced designer can either create this page for you or give you tips and feedback on how to setup your own page.
2) Your website is not actually working within several browsers. Your website should be cross browser tested and at the very least work in later version of Internet explorer (IE), Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Not testing your website in all the major browsers is a definite no no. When hiring a boutique website design company make sure that you check for cross browser compatibility – a good designer will be able to fix any problems that arise.
3) Your choice of colors is not modern or seems outdated. Website color choice should carefully mirror your intended audience and this may change either as your boutique grows or with the times. Moms shopping for their boys might be turned off by too much pink, so a boutique that caters to boys and girls needs to be careful to reach out to both. Likewise, a site selling both men’s and women’s items probably wants to stay away from a pastel color palette. A good WAHM web design firm (a web design firm catering to Work-At-Home-Moms) should have experience navigating through your color palette options to achieve the perfect color combination.
4) Your website’s navigation is hard to understand. Sometimes your navigation seems obvious to you because you’ve looked at it so many times. But, often, users can’t find key pieces of information on your site, including the checkout button, contact information or FAQ. Your site isn’t working for your customers if they can’t find the checkout or they don’t know where to look if they have a question. Your checkout button and a questions or FAQ link should be in a prominent spot on most pages of your site, and certainly on any shopping pages. Redundancy is absolutely alright here – having links in the header and sidebar just makes it easier for your customers to access.
5) Your site either has no call to action, such as a newsletter signup form, or it is in a bad spot, where most visitors will never see it. It’s essential to place the call to action in the forefront, and also on virtually every web page. If you’d like site visitors to be able to contact you on the telephone, place your telephone number within your header so that it appears on all pages.
Whether you are building a brand new website or updating an existing one, you should be prepared to make an investment for your new boutique website design. Knowing your budget beforehand will help keep your costs manageable. How much you spend depends on the scale and difficulty of the website, the website designer or firm, as well as the caliber of the completed project. Look for a designer who can provide you with a firm fee structure and provide a pricing estimate or quote ahead of time. Make sure to ask questions about revisions and who is responsible for loading content. Get everything in writing and make sure to request a signed agreement letter spelling out the details. While it is acceptable to get a quoted range, you want to make sure that the high end of that range is within your budget.
Take into consideration the size of the firm and how long they have been in business. Pricing among designers can fluctuate widely based on experience and background. Often a boutique website design firm can give you better pricing over a bigger shop, because their overhead is lower. They often have expenses associated with marketing and advertising, administrative, sales, etc. Keep in mind thought that the smaller the firm, the more likely you are to experience some delays. These are usually reasonable however, and worth the cost savings over a larger firm.
Your web designer should be able to assist you in choosing a web hosting solution that fits your needs and budgets. Remember, in terms of free web hosting, or even dirt cheap hosting, you get what you pay for. Realistically, you should be able to get reliable service for $100 – $150 per year, depending on whether an ecommerce cart is included in the pricing. Larger sites, or sites requiring high bandwidth may have to spend more. Finding a solution that includes a content management system (CMS) will make your website easy to maintain and allow you to make edits as needed, without having to rely on paying costly fees for small changes.
Your domain name registration is a smaller expense and should always be handled by you, the client. If you end up switching designers or hosting companies you want to make sure that you retain rights to your domain name. Take care of your own registration or make sure that your designer is registering the domain in your name only and that you have access to the login information necessary to make changes, and you will avoid costly headaches later.