Heather Locke of Hammersmith Support

When it comes to building a custom website, one designer does not fit all. Just like any creative job, some professionals are geared towards different industries, styles, specialties, and so on. Finding the right fit may take a little work, but the results of collaborating with the right website designer means your site will not only look beautiful but will also function well for your business and convert visitors into customers.

So, what kind of questions should you ask when looking for a website designer? Here are a few to get you started:

What Types of Businesses Do They Typically Work With?

This is a two-way street. On one hand, you want to know that a designer has experience in your industry…but at the same time, having experience in other areas is important, too. Having a well-rounded portfolio means that designers can adapt and create something unique for their clients based on their individual business.

A reputable company will be able to produce a portfolio of live websites that they have built. Bonus points if they A. still maintain those sites and B. have a referral from the owner.

Can the Designer Implement the Kind of Functionality That Your Business Site Needs?

Finding a great web designer who can create stunningly gorgeous websites is good, but if the site doesn’t have the functionality that you need, then you’re really just spending money on a pretty piece of art. A website that doesn’t convert visitors into customers utilizing smart functions on the site won’t do you any good.

Are They Telling You What You Already Know?

It’s important to remember that you’re not the expert and there should be things you don’t know about what should go into your website. So if a website designer is telling you only things you already know, beware. As professionals, they should be able to explain all parts of the website and why they’re necessary, even the parts you’re not familiar with.

On the flip side, someone not explaining consistently what is important or not important, and why – is a big red flag as well. A good website designer will be able to explain all aspects of the site build in understandable terms.

Does the Design Include “Behind the Curtain” Necessities?

This is similar to the functionality of the site. A great web designer is going to recommend a lot of things that your site visitors won’t see but that are necessary for site functionality. Things like plugins to improve SEO, loading times, and spam blockers. Security certificates, accessibility functions, mobile optimization and so on. Again, the visual design of the website is as important as the functionality behind the scenes.

Have You Scheduled a Free Consultation with Hammersmith Support?

Looking for even more questions? Click to download “The Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Website Designer“. At Hammersmith Support, we offer free consultations! This is where we can talk through your ideas, needs, and wants for your business website. Click over to our contact page where you can schedule a call directly from our website.

At Hammersmith Support, we value well-designed websites. We also know the importance of maintaining those sites regularly. We’ve posted about what WordPress website maintenance is and why it’s important. But we want to take a deeper look into exactly what on your site requires maintenance and why it matters how frequently maintenance is done.

Platform

The beauty of working with the WordPress platform is that it is always evolving to give users a better product. And that’s what you want as a customer! But with those changes come regular updates. Not staying current with those updates could potentially cause a lot of headaches. An older version of your platform could expose your site to security breaches, slow loading times, and overall poor performance of your website.

Plugins

Aaah, plugins. These awesome little bites of software are great for adding functionality to our sites. An example could be a spam blocker, an SEO booster, or your contact form – there are countless different plugins. While they add so much to a website, plugins need to be updated and tested regularly. You don’t want to find out three months after it happened that your contact form plugin has stopped working and is throwing an error or appearing to work but not sending notifications to you, so potential leads are somewhere in limbo.

Frequency

Annoying as it may be, your website really does need to be updated at least once a month, possibly more if a core update is pushed out (i.e., a security patch). Waiting too long can result in the update causing a plugin conflict and rendering parts of your site (or worse, your entire site) unusable. Just as with tuning up your car, waiting too long or not servicing it regularly can add to your cost in the long run. It’s much less expensive overall to maintain your site than it is to try recovering it or updating two years’ worth of plugins and WordPress versions, fixing all of the pages and forms that are broken in the process.

One More Thought

While a lack of maintenance on your website may not affect your site’s functionality immediately, it will definitely impact it at some point. The impact could be that you have broken graphics or sections of your site that are not displaying correctly. Or it could be that you wake up one morning to an inbox full of emails telling you that your homepage now displays inappropriate material placed there by hackers who were able to gain access through plugins that had not been updated.

Just remember SSP: Security, SEO Ranking, & Performance because without website maintenance, these will deteriorate or be compromised over time.

We’re Here to Help

At Hammersmith Support, we’re here to help make your site as amazing as possible. We can build your site from scratch, redesign your existing site, and update and maintain your site once it’s in tip-top shape so that it’s sure to stay that way. Contact us to talk through what we can do for you.

At Hammersmith Support, we specialize in creating custom-designed websites that are tailored to your business and its individual needs. Our discovery process helps us to understand exactly what our clients’ needs are, which allows us to build a powerful site that is scalable and sustainable for the long run. A custom-built website has a plethora of other benefits as well.

Design

Having a site that is built for precisely what you and your business need means that it will work exactly as you want it to. Everything from blog pages, ecommerce, and downloads to email integration – all of this is built with your individual requirements in mind.

Having a custom-designed site also means that it will look like you want it to. Everything from colors, logos, and images to content will be on-brand for your business.

SEO

Custom-designed websites have built-in SEO. Search engine optimization is incorporated into the site’s design through each page’s content and images. This is important for boosting SEO organically. In addition, code like local schema can be added to help customers find you.

Security

Not only is a lack of security bad news for potentially exposing your customers, it’s also bad for your SEO. Some search engines block websites without an SSL. And if they don’t, they likely will rank your site lower because of the risk. Having a site built just for your business will ensure that A. there is a Secure Socket Layer and B. any additional encryption necessary for your type of business is built right into the design.

Speed

A custom website is built to maximize download speeds for all of the data on your site. It will also include things like a CDN or plugins necessary to have your site running at optimum speed.

Responsiveness

With more than half of the world’s population accessing the internet via a mobile device, having a site that is responsive to any screen it is being viewed on is essential. And Google search loves websites that are built with mobile-first design.

Accessibility

Websites that are individually designed are able to take into account how they are accessed by potential clients. It’s important that every website be accessible to any reader, but this is especially important for businesses that have a differently-abled target market.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

Ready to get your website built? Already have a site that needs some work? Hammersmith Support is here to help. We only design custom, unique websites for our clients and we take great care to understand all of our clients’ needs to build an amazing website for their business. Contact us to talk through what your website can do for you.

We’ve posted quite a bit about different ways to organically boost your SEO. And the one marketing tool that always checks the most boxes is a business blog.

Without a blog, your website has one link to your site, your URL. But if you posted a blog once a week for a year, you would have 52 links pointing back to your website. Fifty-two! That’s fifty-one additional ways that a potential customer could find your site. That’s huge.

In addition to the links back to your site, business blogs are great for a few more reasons. Here’s why.

SEO

Your website is constantly being crawled by search engines to analyze and categorize your site. The easier it is for a crawler to do this, the better chances your site will get returned when someone searches for a related topic. Google uses over 200 factors to analyze and then rank your site, including freshness of content, magnitude of updated information, and quality of content, especially grammar and punctuation. Blogs check off a lot of these Google Ranking Factors, making it an absolute must to include on your site.

Images

Speaking of SEO, having great images in your blogs not only boosts your SEO but it’s also an opportunity for you to share and add new images without having to redesign your website – meaning the images posted in your blog change often without having to update the main images on your site. Keeping a consistent feel across your site is important, but so is displaying new and exciting graphics. A blog is the perfect spot to keep your customers and readers up-to-date on what’s happening while maintaining the look and feel of your site.

Micro Content

Blog topics are a perfect way to feed your micro content (i.e. social media). Blogs are macro content because they are longer, more detailed posts. But those detailed posts can be broken down into bite-sized pieces and used to feed your micro content. For example, this post could be broken down by headings (images, SEO, links) and used for one to 3+ social media posts. The result is a consistent social media presence and cohesive message for your marketing.

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

Do you have a blog tab set up on your site? Let’s talk. Hammersmith Support’s comprehensive monthly maintenance can help get your blog set up, get your site on track, and keep it there with monthly check ups.