It's almost impossible today to have any real success in the business world without a dedicated web presence.
And while the tools to knock out a web design have become more accessible – and more affordable – than ever before, the importance of having professional web design companies handle the heavy lifting for you is off the charts.
Sure, almost anyone could boot up a "WYSIWYG" web designer or a CMS, combine that with a cheap or free web design template, and cobble something that looks halfway decent up in a couple of hours.
But when you're talking about one of the most valuable assets in the world of business today – often the only thing that interacts with your customers – you can't slap something together and hope for the best.
No, you need your website to be dialed in – and that means leaning on legitimate web design professionals that understand not only how to build fast and functional websites that are stunning from a visual standpoint, but also understand how to tackle web development that rings the register.
And that's why we've put together this detailed guide.
We cover the value of having a great website built for you, why working with top web designers is such an important piece of leverage, and then run through the kinds of things you need to consider when finding the right engaging web design experts to bring your site online.
Ready to jump right in?
Let's do this!
The Importance of a Great Website Today
Make no mistake about it, we live in the middle of the most competitive business environment that has ever existed.
More money is spent on digital marketing today than at any other time in history – we are talking about billions and billions of dollars annually – and things are only going to get even more competitive as time goes on.
It used to be that you could still do pretty well in business without having to focus on the internet at all.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of websites in the past were nothing more than digital business cards – anything but focused on digital marketing, driving revenue, and turning complete and total strangers into paying customers.
Today, though, nothing could be further from the truth!
If you try to get away with that bare-bones attempt at web design that worked 15 or 20 years ago you'll end up getting crushed by competitors that spend just a little bit of money on professional web development services – and totally wiped out by those that take their website very seriously.
As we highlighted a moment ago, even if you aren't selling things directly through your website (but are instead just doing a little bit of online marketing to drive in person sales, even locally) your website is often the first – and sometimes the only – contact that customers have with your business.
It has to be dialed in. Graphic design, Software development, website design, social media marketing, search engine optimization... These are all things that need to be considered when building a new website.
Why Working with a Top New Jersey Web Design Company is Key
Yes, it is (in some ways) a whole lot easier to become a web developer these days than even just a decade ago.
20 years ago (maybe 25, even) you would have had to understand HTML, you would have had to understand CSS, and you would have had to master a couple of other programming languages – like PHP, for example – just to get a website up and running online.
Today, though, there are more tools available to build a website from scratch without having to touch ANY code at all. And many of them are capable of producing halfway decent design websites, too.
The missing link, here, though, is that all of those tools are going to be hindered by the rigidity of the themes, templates, and other preloaded assets they run right out-of-the-box.
You'll always end up with a semi custom web development project, one that looks a little bit different than all the others that these tools produce – but not really all that different when you look a little closer.
Even worse, though, is that these custom websites (if you can you call them that) really only focus on the aesthetics of your site and nothing else.
Some of them might be really visually interesting, showing off the latest and greatest fads in the web design world today.
But they aren't going to be built with the most efficient code possible, to run as quickly or as securely as possible, and they certainly aren't going to be built with business purposes in mind.
That's why it's so valuable to work with legitimate web design and development experts that actually know what they're doing – not only when it comes to producing gorgeous websites, but when it comes to building websites that can build your business.
We are talking about working with a development company that can turn your website into a 24/7 salesperson that you don't have to pay a salary.
This is a game changer, especially if you are a small to midsized business looking to capitalize on the leverage and power the internet brings to the table.
Best of all, top-notch web design services are going to be able to build your website for you whole lot faster than you would have been able to (even if you were using the DIY tools we mentioned a moment ago).
They know how to focus their attention, they know how to leverage powerful tools to develop and build websites (as well as other "extras" like mobile apps, for example), and they have a deep reservoir of experience, knowledge, and special skills to draw from.
If you're serious about building a business (or even if you're just looking to do some digital marketing to grow a brick and mortar operation), you want to turn to expert web development professionals that can help bring your site online for you.
Finding that web design company, though, can be a bit of an uphill battle.
Unless you're armed with the tips and tricks we highlight below, of course!
Important Tips for Hiring a Web Design Company
Working with legitimate digital marketing and web design companies will always require a decent investment – not just of your money, but of your time as well – and that's why you want to be sure that you hire the right professionals right out of the gate.
Obviously, there are a whole bunch of things you need to consider before moving forward with any web designers and with any digital marketing services.
The tips and tricks below, though, will give you a great head start in finding the right specialists to assist you with your web development project.
Square these things away and you'll be good to go!
Get Crystal Clear About Your Goals
Straight out of the gate you need to get as crystal clear about your digital marketing and web development goals as possible.
You wouldn't start a cross-country journey without knowing your ultimate destination, giving you a goal to work towards – as well as a goal to reverse engineer so you that you could determine every turn you needed to take.
Well, the same is true of tackling a project as big and as important as web development.
You want to get just as crystal clear about your web design and development goals as possible.
Write down the kind of functionality that you want your website feature, down to the most granular thing possible.
Write down the kind of content you want your website to display, content that is going to act as the foundation for this digital world you're having created for you.
Go online and search for websites you really like from an aesthetic standpoint. Share those links with the people you want to create websites for you so that they can have a better idea of what you're shooting for visually.
At the end of the day, going to a design firm and telling them you want them to build you a custom web design site without any goals – and without any real specificity – will turn this project into a nightmare faster than anything else.
Get clarity about what you want your website to do, what you want it to be capable of, and what you want it to look like before searching for website designers and you'll be a whole lot happier with the end result.
Work with Established Pros
Secondly, commit to working with professional web design services and design companies that have been around for a while.
It's true that every web design agency started off as a brand-new entity without any customers, without any clients, and without any web design project under their belt.
It's also true that engaging web design isn't exclusively a result of years of experience, knowledge, and previous work history under your belt.
There are some really talented web design and development "newbies" out there running brand-new design companies, producing amazing websites and offering fantastic development services.
But when you work with rookies you run the risk of being the project they make all of their first mistakes on.
That's not a position you want to be in running a small business, especially when the cost to build websites can set you back a few thousand dollars – or more.
Remember, we are (once again) talking about one of the most important assets your small business is going to have.
Your website is a huge piece of the success puzzle today.
If you wouldn't toss the keys to your business to a brand-new manager without any experience under their belt already you probably wouldn't want to do the same when shopping for the best web design company in New Jersey (or anywhere else, for that matter).
Look for web design companies that have a couple of years of work under their belt, portfolios that you can have a look at to see what kind of work they've done in the past, and (ideally) history building the kind of website you want built, too.
Confirm Who’s Doing the Work
Of course, just because you are working with a design firm or design company that has years and years of work under their belt already doesn't mean that they aren't going to farm your work out to freelancers that might not.
This is something you absolutely have to ask about.
Make sure that the web developers you are working with are actually going to be the web developers responsible for bringing your site together.
If a company does work with freelancers, or if they outsource some work, make sure that you get these design companies to vouch for those outside developers – but also make sure that you get them to guarantee that their work will be up to standard, too.
It isn't at all unusual for modern web design agency outfits to outsource at least some of their work.
Be prepared for them to tell you that some of your website design project will be going out of house. But get them to tell you about those freelancers, get them to tell you about what they will be responsible for, and get them to guarantee that level of quality we mentioned a second ago.
Get a Full Walkthrough of the Process
In fact, it's not a bad idea to talk to anyone about the digital marketing services and web design work you're having done to walk you through the process from start to finish.
The process development services go through is unique from outfit to outfit, but they should be able to walk you through how a sites from scratch – even if only from a more generalist overview perspective.
Asking about this process isn't just going to put your mind at ease and help you understand that you are in fact working with a legitimate web designer, either.
You'll be better informed about the web design project timeline you're looking at. You'll have a better idea of the major milestones coming up ahead and what to expect.
But you'll also get a better look at how this whole thing comes together from start to finish – giving you a better appreciation for all that these web design companies are really doing for you.
On top of all of that, you'll confirm that you really are working with the best New Jersey web design company around.
Professional development company operations will have a pretty streamlined development process that they can walk you through, whereas more fly-by-night operations may not.
Go with the website development company that has a system in place.
You'll know this kind of design company as much better organized, much more efficient, and a lot more likely to deliver the kind of website development results you were hoping for than a design company that sort of "wings it".
Insist Your Site is Built to Be “Future Proof”
While you could certainly still get away with a custom website built on the back of HTML, the overwhelming majority of new websites today are built using Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress.
These systems essentially "future proof" your website, allowing you to swap out different designs, different web elements, add and remove content, and basically shake up your site from top to bottom without having to recode and redevelop the site every single time changes need to be made.
Instead, almost all of these elements are 100% modular and kept separate from one another – especially when it comes to separating the code and "architecture" of your website, the content, and the actual design and aesthetic.
Be sure that you are working with website designers that are going to help you take advantage of CMS platforms, "future proofing" your site not just for tomorrow – but for years and years into the future.
On top of that, it's essential that you verify your website is being built with responsive design principles in mind as well.
More and more people are interfacing with the website through their phones primarily, and you need to be able to reach this target audience (and these new customers) where they are on their phones.
Responsive websites built by a legitimate design company are able to scale and modify your site to fit these smaller screens perfectly, without losing anything in translation.
The best design companies in NJ (the best design firm operations around the country, the world even) always build new websites with responsive design principles as a foundation.
All the same, it's not a bad idea to confirm that your web design company is going to do the same.
Agree on Milestone Payments
When it comes to payment, different web design operations and digital marketing companies are going to have different setups and structures in place.
Some are going to want you to pay an initial deposit down and maybe the rest upon delivery.
Some are going to want you to pay the whole cost of your web design project upfront.
Others still are going to go with a sort of "pay-as-you-go" kind of approach that local businesses may be old bit more comfortable with, basically renting the website design project to small businesses as long as they keep paying their bill.
If you really want to feel confident and comfortable forking over thousands of dollars to website design companies for this kind of work you should insist (and get them to agree on) milestone payments.
Legitimate website design companies are going to understand this kind of payment structure for sure. Many of them are going to operate this way already, but it's still not a bad thing to insist upon.
The idea here is that you pay a chunk of money upfront to get the design companies in NJ rocking and rolling on your project.
After initial milestones are hit (maybe a design mockup of the new website or something similar) you fund another chunk of the total project price.
From there as different milestones are hit – demo version of the website goes up, content gets added, app development begins, links are submitted to search engines, etc. – you continue to release chunks of the total project price until everything gets finished.
This approach guarantees that steady work is done, that the creative process doesn't bog down because the design companies in NJ you decided to work with have taken up new e-commerce development projects or app development projects that excite them, and that your site is delivered on schedule.
It's a nice, fair, reliable compensation set up a professional design and digital marketing firm won't ever balk at.
SEO Focus is a Big Piece of the Success Puzzle, Too!
Web design (and the development of your site) is only one small piece of what it takes to succeed online today.
A gorgeous website definitely helps – but you sort of have a Field of Dreams problem on your hands here if you're not able to drive a flood of targeted traffic to that website.
"If you build it, they will come" doesn't quite work in the world of web design.
No, you need a rock solid online marketing strategy – locally targeted if you run local businesses, nationally (or globally) targeted if you're shooting for a much broader audience – that can reliably push traffic to your website.
This is why working with top web design companies that also have a full grasp on internet marketing, effective marketing strategies, and how to deliver for all your digital marketing needs is so important.
Building that beautiful website is the start of everything – you need marketing efforts (NJ search engine optimization, email marketing campaigns, paid advertising, etc.) – to transform that beautiful website into a sales generating powerhouse.
Always – ALWAYS – be sure that you are working with a web design firm that understands the value of search engine marketing strategies. It'll make a world of difference.
Confirm Total Ownership!
Finally (and this isn't always that obvious) you need to confirm that you have total ownership of the finished "work product" and that you aren't licensing the design, the code, or any other part of the web project from your web design firm.
Believe it or not, there are a lot of digital marketing agencies out there that build some custom websites for business owners and then license them out to them – giving them permission to use those web design elements as long as they keep paying their monthly or annual bill.
Once a business wants to go in a different direction or work with a different web design operation that relationship is severed completely, the web design assets revert ownership back to the web design company, and business owners have to start from scratch all over again.
That's not a place you want to find yourself.
Confirm – in writing – that every bit of your web design project (and all the work related to that project) is going to belong to you and your business when the final bill has been paid.
Steer Clear of These Major Mistakes
Now that we've gone over a couple of the things you want to do when shopping around for the best web design operation in New Jersey, let's briefly touch on some of the major mistakes you want to avoid.
Beware of Cut Rate Web Design “Pros”
Getting a good deal on your web design project is never a bad thing, but there comes a point where cut rate fees for web design (or search engine optimization, internet marketing in general, or anything else) become a major red flag.
It's not unusual for an NJ web design company that competes exclusively on price to be unable to deliver quite as high quality a site as a full-service advertising agency with dedicated web development, design, and marketing experts on board.
Try not to overpay for your website to be built – but recognize that you're going to have to pony up a bit of a premium for personalized service that actually makes a difference.
Steer Clear of Full Payment Upfront Plans
Not every one of the web and app development companies out there that ask for full payment upfront are less than legitimate operators looking to leave you holding the bag while they cash your check – but too many of them are and that's why you want to steer clear of these kind of "payment plans".
Insist on something like the milestone payment release land we highlighted above and you'll be able to rest a lot easier.
What Else Can Your Web Design Team Bring to the Table?
It's really important to hammer this home, even if we have discussed it at length already, but there's real value in making sure that your web design company is full feature and full-service from top to bottom.
Look for a web design company in New Jersey that offers graphic design work on top of website design work, can do a little bit of software development or app development for you, has corporate branding experience, maybe even animated video production capabilities – any extra value add possible.
As always, look for search engine optimization experts that can help you rank higher in the major search platforms, too.
Web developers that know how to help you get traffic with top search engines (and other sources of organic or paid traffic) are worth their weight in gold.
Try to steer clear of pure web design experts that don't bring anything else to the mix.
Avoid Non-CMS Projects Entirely
Finally, try to be sure that the web design project you have built uses a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress as its foundation.
43% of all web design work online today is built on the back of the WordPress CMS, and for good reason.
Well-designed, intelligently developed, 100% open source, and with more features and functionality than most people would ever know what to do with, WordPress gives you as future proof a website as can be.
Any CMS web design project, though, allows you to update, modify, or even completely overhaul your website in the future without having to start from scratch.
All legitimate New Jersey web design experts are going to recommend a CMS. Make sure that your site makes the most of that technology!
Please reach out today if you're ready to create a new website or ecommerce website for your business. We build websites with high performance SEO in mind that result in a strong internet presence and convert visitors. We're also a New Jersey SEO company.
Request a Quote
We are ready to help you. Get in touch today!
Speak with one of our digital agency specialists about your project. We will get back to you within 24 hours.
Thank you! Your message has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
The battle to conquer search engine algorithms and keep your content and website visible and easy to find is one that never seems to end. SEO rankings and how to boost them change regularly, but one thing remains an all-important factor: keyword optimization.