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When Hiring A Web Design Firm Is A Mistake


We’ve all been there: your leads start to dry up, conference costs increase every year and eventually become cost prohibitive, and your website is sitting out there like a relic from more hopeful days. You begin to question if a new web design will excite your market enough to affect your bottom line.

I hate to break it to you, but it won’t. Not by itself, anyway.

Before you run off to Google to find a “web design firm” to solve your business woes, ask yourself what you’re really looking for. The answer usually lies in what you’re doing to promote your company, and a glossy new website will treat a symptom, not the cause. Consider this: if I wrote this blog post and didn’t know how to promote it, no one would read it. You’re reading it now because of just one of the things a new web design just doesn’t offer – promotion.

The truth is, most firms that just do web design will give you a pretty good looking website, but not much beyond that. Some of the things they won’t provide are:

1. Insights into what the real problem is. Rushing into a new web design is skipping one important element: research. Finding the weak spots in your current website, learning from your current customers what you’re great at (and where you fall short), and a systematic evaluation of your competitive landscape are all critical information you need to make anything successful.

2. A plan – and the resources – to execute real change. Do you have a clear vision of where you want the business to be in a year? Partnering with a company that can help define those goals, compare them to industry trends, and help you put the tools in place to reach those goals is critical when the well is looking dry. If the tools include a new website (this guide will help you determine if that’s the case), then so be it, but it includes the website as part of an overall marketing plan – not as the entire solution.

3. Direction on content. Writing for the web requires a totally different skill set than writing for print. Focus on keyword density, brevity, and online visitor behavior all come into play, so your content needs to be developed with a unique approach. Your page copy, navigational structure and page titles need to be crafted for both an elevated user experience and search engine visibility if they’re going to attract and convert leads.

4. Return on your investment. If I were to send you a proposal for a few thousand dollars to have a handful of people pat you on the back (and maybe one give you business), you’d most definitely turn it down. Anyone would, because it just doesn’t make good business sense. Getting a new website that’s just a beautified version of what you had in the first place will only get you a poor return on your marketing investment because it just doesn’t sync up with a plan. There’s nothing proactively working on attracting, nurturing and converting leads. Without that fundamental activity, you’re not getting the return you should.

Simply put, your old website is only a small piece of the puzzle. For your business to thrive, you need a partner that can understand what’s really going on in and around your business, and can put all the pieces in place for it to grow.


Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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