How To Pick a Website Development Company

After More Than 2 Decades, Websites Have Come Full Circle


How To Pick a Website Development Company

We recently engaged a new client whose website was built in 2017 and hadn’t been updated since.  The thought was that the website just wasn’t that important.  But recently the client realized how many potential leads were being missed, and wanted to do something about it.  Enter our web dev team.

It got us thinking about the evolution of websites over the last 20+ years, and how they’ve gone from a trendy new must-have, to an afterthought, and now full circle back to the critical business-growing platform they’ve become.

The Early Days of Websites

Websites started out as fancy virtual business cards that couldn’t do much else.  And in the days of dial-up speeds, the Internet really couldn’t support much more than that.

Even the most advanced website development company could do little more than display text in colors with beeps and flashes.

Those horse and buggy days advanced rapidly to include graphics and other flashy features, but it wasn’t until the fledgling days of eCommerce that professional marketers really began to understand the potential of the on-line channel.

There Was a Time Conventional Wisdom Was You Didn’t Need a Website at All Anymore

When social media exploded, there was a time when you’d be told your business didn’t need a website; just social media pages.  That was certainly overstating the long-term role of social media, and it was missing the point of websites as a tool that makes you money.

A forward thinking website development company keeps its eye on how your website will make you money.  That doesn’t always mean eCommerce happens directly on your site.  Many of our clients are service-based businesses.  In that case, the site’s ability to generate actionable leads and track them become key to making money.

Today Your Website is the Virtual Personification of Your Brand

Your website is how most prospective customers will encounter your brand for the first time.  It’s like your virtual storefront.  It needs to quickly and effectively convey the essence of your brand story and provide easy ways for customers to make a connection with you.  We call this becoming “actionable leads.”

Is your website development company thinking this way?  Are you thinking this way?  Are your competitors thinking this way?  Find out with our free competitive website analysis.

If not, consider what you need a website development company to accomplish for you:

Form.  Best practices today are mobile-first designs (over 75% of visitors will encounter your site on a phone).  Users tend to stay engaged when they experience bold colors and lots of movement (video).  Consider that most users will leave within 30 seconds unless they find what they’re looking for; so get to the point!

Function.  Visitors tend to favor function over form.  And depending on age, device, and other factors — they want to feel in control of the experience.  They want to choose how to engage you.  So being able to capture leads via text (SMS), email, phone, and form fills — just to name a few — is more and more important.

Tracking.  Today’s websites need to be accountable and carry their weight as growth engines for your business.  You can’t manage what you can’t measure.  So everything needs to be tracked and reported, and testing is a constant.  You can’t optimize conversion (creation of actionable leads) unless you can track what’s happening.

“Today’s best website development companies expect the website to be a primary growth-builder for the business, generating leads and growing sales in ways that can be tracked and optimized on an ongoing basis.”

It’s Not About You, It’s About Them

Getting your potential buyer to the information they want the fastest (with the least friction) is generally the key to winning in any competitive environment today.  Your website isn’t there to glorify you; it’s there to solve problems for your customers.

And you need your website development company to have two distinctly different types of talent working on your project.  Web dev is both an art and a science.  We explore that in greater depth here.

Content is king.  Advertising has evolved from “feature, benefit” statements to making a more emotional connection between your brand and your prospect through content.  People don’t want to “be sold,” they want to discover.  And most so-called professional marketers are getting this wrong.  We talked about that in this recent article about content marketing.

What Most Website Developers Get Wrong

Watch out for these common pitfalls.

Is your website development company just one person?  Is that person a programmer?  A graphic designer?  An SEO tech?  Either way, you’ve only got 1/4 of a team.

Programmers build stable sites that work well. But they tend to be ugly, lack sleek user experience, and Google has no idea they exist.

Graphic designers build beautiful sites.  But they tend to lack stability, often distract from critical lead-generation mechanisms (rather than point toward them), and Google has no idea they exist.

SEO technicians are great at getting Google’s attention for your site, but often fall short on Google’s technical analysis of the site, and visitors don’t find the utility they demand.

Just know you’ll need a balance of all 3 of these skillsets PLUS an analytics ace (so you know what’s working and what’s not).

We recently wrote about our most up-to-date best practices and website development trends here in this article.

Our Web Dev Team is Here to Help

We’re a full-service advertising agency with an in-house website development company.  That means your website design is INTEGRATED with everything else you’re planning to do to grow your business.

We invest in our clients long before they ever invest in us.  So let us help you assess your starting point with a free competitive website analysis.  Know how you’re doing against your competitors so you can start planning where you want to go next.

Or just schedule a free initial marketing consultation to talk through your questions with our team of experts.  We’re always willing to do that.

Not ready for that yet?  That’s OK.  Just sign up for our free e-mail newsletter about local marketing so you can keep in touch and get notified when we publish more articles like this one.




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After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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