There are many web design and development firms in Brisbane. They can build you a standard website from $1,000 to $10,000+ depending on their expertise, business model and your needs. Like their prices, the quality of their work can also vary greatly.
The Problem with Choosing the Wrong Web Design Firm
Some web design firms use outdated development technology and practices to build websites that:
- Look outdated and unprofessional
- Don’t work well on mobiles and tablets
- Can easily be hacked
- Are slow loading
- Are ranked lower by Google
- Cost you money every time you want to add a page to the website
- Breach copyright laws and exposes you to legal action.
So here are some qualifying questions you should ask to see whether your potential web design firm will deliver a professional grade website.
1. Are your websites mobile friendly?
Mobile friendly website design and development is no longer optional. Even Google cares whether your website is mobile friendly and ranks mobile optimised websites higher on searches performed on mobile devices. For more info, read our article: Is your old website hurting your Google ranking?
That is why Simpler Digital websites are mobile responsive by default. It’s more work on our end but it leads to a better quality website.
2. Do you use licensed images?
Images make a website come alive. They are critical to having a captivating design. But many website designers use images without paying attention to copyright restrictions. This can expose you to copyright violations and potential legal action. Make sure your designer is using licensed images.
Simpler Digital uses only licensed images from reputable stock image websites such as Shutterstock and free images from Unsplash. It increases our cost of production but means that we and our clients are legally protected.
3. Do you provide a custom website design service or a template based website design service?
This is an important question because this affects the cost significantly. Many start-up businesses in Brisbane could use a template based website without a problem. But once you are a looking for something more specific to your business, templates are not recommended as they often restrict the layout of the website, the colour scheme and the imagery used.
Simpler Digital provides a custom website design service. While we use consistent themes and components across websites that ensure the website is following good design practice, each website is designed to ensure it has a personalised layout, colour scheme and imagery.
4. Do your websites feature SEO friendly URLs and auto-populate the title and h1 tags?
Your page URL is an important part of your SEO strategy and Google ranking. Yet many websites do not use SEO friendly URLs. Many website URLs look like: www.mydomain.com/?p=33. In contrast, Google friendly URLs look like: www.mydomain.com/web-design-brisbane
Furthermore, a page’s <Title> and <H1> tags are an important factor in the page’s Google ranking and its usability. Accordingly, these tags should be set for all pages on your website. By default, the website should take the page heading and add it to the page <Title> tag and to the <h1> tag.
Simpler Digital websites feature SEO friendly URLs. Our websites also automatically set the <Title> and <H1> tags based on the page title. These are some of the many small but important technical details we take care of in the background for you.
5. Can I add and edit pages and blog articles easily?
Not all pages can be easily edited, especially the custom designed ones. But you should have the ability to add new pages and blog articles by yourself. If not, you will find yourself paying the web design firm every time you want to add a new article or page to your website.
Simpler Digital websites come with an easy to use website editor that allows you to easily edit and add pages and blog articles.
6. Can I add images, image galleries and embed YouTube videos on my pages?
You should have the ability to add images and image galleries to your website. Also, you should have the ability to easily embed YouTube and Vimeo videos on your website.
Simpler Digital websites come with out of the box features to allow you to add images, image galleries and videos. If you want us to setup the gallery and add the images, we can do so at a fee. But you have the ability to do it yourself for free.
7. Can I link my email newsletter list on my website?
Email marketing is an important part of generating business. Your website should have an email newsletter subscription feature.
Simpler Digital can setup an email newsletter optin feature for a fee.
8. Can I link my social media pages to my website?
You should be able to link your social media accounts on your website.
If applicable, Simpler Digital will add links to your social media accounts on your website.
9. Do you use strong call to actions in your website design?
Strong call-to-actions are important in getting visitors to call, email or visit your business. Yet many websites do not feature clear and strong messages to get site visitors to contact the business.
Simpler Digital websites feature strong call-to-actions to maximise the number of people who contact your business after visiting your website.
10. Do you use secure hosting?
Security is becoming more important as cyber-crime is becoming more prevalent and sophisticated. Yet many websites are hosted on low cost hosting providers that use poor security practices and leave your website exposed to hackers.
To be fair, even the biggest websites have been hacked (PayPal, Facebook, Microsoft – to name a few) and you can never fully guarantee security. However, you can take active measures to reduce the risk of hacking attacks.
Simpler Digital uses premium website hosting that uses best practice security features to reduce chances of your website being hacked.
11. Do you perform regular backups?
Whether your website gets hacked or you accidently break something, you need to be able to have a backup of your website so you can recover it.
Simpler Digital performs weekly backups, some daily, on our websites so that you can recover them if needed.
12. Do you use caching and CDN technology for fast website speed?
Slow websites lose visitors and rankings in Google. So it is important that your website loads fast. Caching along with a content delivery network (CDN) is a powerful way to significantly improve the speed of your website.
Simpler Digital uses caching and CDN technology to make your website load quickly.
13. Do you use premium themes and plugins?
Free WordPress themes and plugins may be free upfront but are often not maintained leading to problems later. Sure there are many well supported free plugins around. However, where possible paid plugins should be used to deliver the best functionality and the most stability.
Simpler Digital uses premium plugins where possible to deliver the best functionality and the most stable website.
14. Do you use child themes?
Many WordPress developers do not use child themes. Instead they make changes to the core theme to customise the look and feel. This creates a problem when you update the theme in the future; all your customisations are lost.
15. How will my project be managed?
Many web designers and developers do not have the best customer service skills. They may not respond to you on time or set clear expectations or deliver the project within an acceptable timeframe.
Simpler Digital will provide you with a dedicated project manager who will be available on email, phone and in person (if the project is in Brisbane). They will keep you in the loop and ensure any queries are promptly answered and that your project is delivered in a timely manner.
The above questions are a good starting point to shortlist firms that use good website design and development practices.
Not all of these features will be in the firm’s basic package. You will have to pay extra for some features. But if the firm can provide clear and confident answers to the questions above, chances are they are using good web design and development practices.