Talk to butchers and they will tell you how great meat is. Talking to vegans, the conversation will go in the exact opposite direction.
Everybody wants to sell you what she or he believes is best. Sometimes for you, and sometimes for them.
Like most professions, web designers also have their fair trade of secrets that they often prefer to hide from you. Not because they are bad people, but because most of them just follow the rules of the industry and blindly copy their competition.
In this article, I want to bust some of the myths and beliefs about web design and give you another perspective to approach your next website redesign.
I hope it will help you make a better decision when outsourcing your next website project and even negotiate a better contract.
What Most People Don’t Know About the Web Design Industry but Should
Of course, there is no need to become an industry expert before engaging a web design agency for your company.
However, in times when more people make most of their buying decisions online, having a website that supports your business growth is vital.
Here are seven secrets that should actually be well-known web design facts, but most business owners are unaware of.
Secret #1: You Don’t Always Need a Complete Website Redesign
Depending on the technology you used to develop your current website, a complete website redesign might be highly recommended.
There might be many reasons why you want to redesign your website in the first place. Make sure you do it for the right reasons though.
For example, if your website was built on a flexible WordPress theme like Elementor, Divi, and others and already generates leads and sales, you might want to consider just a design revamp.
It might be totally fine to use your current website template and refresh it with new images and illustrations or change the structure.
A lot of web designers insist on creating something new from scratch because it is mostly a bigger work engagement than just website updates.
But why would you want to burn down the whole house instead of painting it in a new color?
One of the main reasons why your web designer recommends rebuilding your complete website is that she or he is just a one-trick pony.
Most designers want to use the same template for all customers and couldn’t care to learn how to use another theme.
Of course, they will never tell you this so make sure that you get a second or third opinion.
WEBSITE CONVERSION QUIZ
Do You Know Your Website’s Hidden Growth Potential?
Secret #2: Pretty Is Not the Most Important Aspect of a Website
Ok, you have decided that you need a new website.
The second step leads you usually to Google, where you search for “web design inspiration” and up on sites like awwwards.com.
There you find a bunch of fancy websites that look innovative but are terrible if you try to find information on them.
What I’m talking about is the user experience (UX) that determines how people use your website and what actions they take on it.
Most of these extremely pretty websites ignore the fact that we are all used to use sites in a certain way.
This might seem to be boring for some people but will help the user get the information she needs quicker, which is ultimately the reason why she is on your website anyway.
Your website is for your prospects and should provide them with the information to move the relationship to the next level and turn them into qualified leads and customers.
Nobody calls you up to do business with you because of the fancy animations on your website.
You want to look professional and modern but it shouldn’t cost you leads and sales.
Secret #3: A Website Is Never a One-Off Project, But Always a Work In Progress
Most agencies like to charge $10k-$50k for one website redesign.
They love it because it floods the business with cash.
That doesn’t make sense considering that a website is always a work in progress and never finished.
Why would you pay for an unfinished product? Instead, you should pay a monthly flat-rate and improve the website over time.
But before you feel overwhelmed by the thought of having an additional part-time job, updating your website design doesn’t have to take long.
Sometimes it is just a new headline that might improve your signup rate; on another day, it is new site content that addresses your visitor’s objections.
Don’t fall for the misconception that the website project is complete when the site looks pretty.
A “good” website is a website that helps your business to grow by generating new leads and sales every month.
WEBSITE CONVERSION QUIZ
Do You Know Your Website’s Hidden Growth Potential?
Secret #4: It Doesn’t Take 3 Weeks to Make a Small Website Update
Agencies and web designers are notorious for making you wait for ages to make even the most minor changes to a website sound like big tasks.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is.
I also experienced customers who thought that making their 10-year-old website mobile responsive, is just a switch of a button.
However, for tasks that require only a few minutes of work for an experienced web developer, some agencies charge $50 to $150 for it.
If you want to improve your website over time and require regular updates, this can be quite expensive very quickly.
For that reason, you should negotiate with your agency a flat-rate plan that allows you to request unlimited website updates per month (when you need them).
Secret #5: You Don’t Need a Website, You Need a Web Ecosystem
If your web designer stops the work when the website is designed, then she hasn’t finished the job yet.
Your website is just one part of a whole system of different marketing tools that need to work in sync.
E.g. lead generation tools, conversion tracking tools, website personalization tools, etc.
Most importantly, you need functional metrics tools and the flexibility to make changes based on those metrics.
14 Web Design Best Practices (+Templates)
Some of the pieces of this ecosystem will be inside your site, and some will be outside of it.
Still, these integrated yet disparate tools in your toolbox need to work together, move in lockstep, guide each other, and change each other.
In other words, if you get a website- wrapped up in a bow- and presented to you as a standalone finished product — you’re probably working with someone who doesn’t understand the full job of a web developer.
Secret #6: If It Doesn’t Help You Grow Your Business, You’re Wasting Money
Your website has to be conversion-optimized.
Remember what we said before about your key performance indicators.
The point of your online business, whatever business model it follows, is to make sales, grow your business, boost your brand exposure, and bring paying customers to your business.
To fully understand the impact of a higher conversion rate, you can download and play around with our website redesign ROI calculator here.
This is yet another reason, you need a web dev who is at least familiar with the ins and out of online marketing.
If they are experienced in building sites for people who run businesses, this should not be a problem.
These days, we expect marketers to be T-shaped, a concept Brian Balfour developed to describe the necessary skillset of customer acquisition experts.
It means that you have in-depth knowledge of one or two areas of marketing but also a basic understanding of other topics that are connected to your area of expertise.
What is essential for digital marketers, is true for web designers and developers too.
If your agency only helps you with the design and development of your site, without taking your business and conversion optimization best practices into account, you will be disappointed with the results.
Secret #7: You Probably Don’t Need a Custom Coded Website
Do you remember what computer screens looked like in the early 80s?
You had lines of code for everything, no icons, no graphics, and you had to know the right commands to make even the simplest thing run.
Around the middle to late part of the decade, they started making things more user-friendly.
Today, user-friendly is the norm- so much so that you hardly use the term anymore.
The same is true about a properly built website. You should be able to run it yourself, make updates, and even change a lot of the fundamentals using the graphical interface.
If you have some code-crazy web dev trying to keep you on the hook for every little change, tweak, and adjustment- you’re working with the wrong people.
I didn’t write this article to criticize other web design provider, but I hope it makes you a bit more aware of the kind of service you need for your particular project.
Most web design companies do good work, but it is still essential that you are informed when deciding to hire a freelancer or agency.