Which Are The Best UK Website Designers?
Autumn 2018 Review
How To Find The Best Company To Work With?
The UK is filled with website designers. In London alone, there are several hundred companies who claim to offer solutions for all your website requirements. With so many choices available, what exactly makes the difference between the top agencies and the also-rans? Who will make your organisation stand out?
Few start-ups offer a truly unique service. The industry your business is operating within is likely to be a crowded marketplace. This is where an effective website will play a huge role in determining your success. A high-quality site will encourage visitors to both engage with your company, and ultimately spend their money on your products or services.
Because your website is one of the most significant windows into your business your customers have, an effective website is no longer a luxury. Who should you trust with the crucial task of designing and developing it? Have a look at the following considerations, which will explain the most important questions you should ask yourself before consulting an agency.
What Do YOU Want From Your Website?
Whether you are a new start-up or an established organisation, your website should have its own dedicated section in your business plan. This is a great way to spell out and determine the part your website will play in maximising your profits. Who is likely to visit? What will appeal to them? What message do you want to get across?
It may sound obvious, but before you start contacting website developers it pays to know exactly what you need the website to do. Are you best served by a brochure website one that showcases your services and invites communication prior to conversion? Or are you a retail company who needs an ecommerce website or online shop? Or maybe your organisation offers a directory service and will require a more advanced platform.
Whichever type of website you need, its core goal must be to both educate and inform the visitor about you and your services, while encouraging sales at every opportunity. This can be achieved in a variety of ways –attention-getting calls to action, engaging content, and striking images. Professional companies employ highly skilled experts for every aspect of their business, and websites aren’t any different. It’s in your best interests to seek a website specialist’s expert advice on what will and won’t work for your company’s most valuable online asset.
It’s also vital to not be afraid to ask questions of the designers. You may be imagining a dynamic website filled with interactive treats, but ask yourself – will these features make it more likely that a visitor will convert (become a customer)? A specialist won’t be too shy if they need to advise you during your consultation if your ideas would harm the user experience (UX), so take their suggestions seriously.
A Return On Your Investment
Like any industry, the field of website design contains a large variety of agencies with a correspondingly large array of pricing structures. While some offer premium services, and charge to reflect this, others may offer incredibly low costs that seem too good to be true. Bottom line – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. A bargain basement price, in many cases leads to bargain basement services and sadly, end product.
A new website is an investment in the future of your business. Why spend time and money on marketing that will only direct potential customers to an unprofessional, amateur-looking website? Your marketing efforts would be wasted as visitors won’t stick around long enough to consider becoming your customer. Among other valuable qualities, a professional, attractive, clear, and easy to navigate website inspires trust.
Premium services also usually include additional benefits such as search engine optimisation (SEO), analytics reports, and web hosting. These services, on their own, can add up to a significant ongoing outlay of cash, so it can be a good investment to build these costs into your design service.
The question of a mobile app may be raised – and you should honestly ask yourself – is it worth spending extra on an interactive, dynamic app that might not add to monthly profits? It will depend on the business, of course. First focus on essentials that will boost your profits and turn away from luxury vanity projects that might not pay for themselves.
The most essential thing to keep in mind is that price should only be one factor in your overall decision making. A huge saving today may lead to massive costs in six months’ time!
Understanding Your Vision
Once you begin contacting companies to request quotes you will usually experience a variety of responses. It’s well worth noting what they are actually saying to you. Do they seem gimmicky and full of sales jargon while pitching to you? Or are they actively seeking to learn as much as they can about your project, so they can suggest features that will benefit you?
While it’s rare to find a designer that is fully up to speed on your industry when you first contact them, it’s a positive sign when they do research in order to offer relevant solutions. It may be as simple as having them find out which Content Management System (CMS) your direct competitors use or determining whether or not a regularly updated blog will enhance your website.
During the consultation stage, whether you are communicating by email or speaking directly to a prospective company, you are entitled to expect a solution tailor-made for what will work for you and your business. ! Any professional should be willing to go the extra mile.
But wait. That isn’t to say, ‘the customer is always right’. You are the expert in your business, of course – no one knows it better. But the web developer or designer is the expert when it comes to creating websites. Pool your knowledge! Working together, a bespoke solution, unique to the key goals of your organisation, is far easier to achieve.
Communication Is Key
It may be a cliché but, in any project, it holds true – if you don’t have effective communication between project managers, errors will occur. There are many acronyms in this industry (for example, SEO, UI, or CMS) and your industry may be similar. By having open and friendly channels of communication there needn’t be any embarrassment about asking for clarification when jargon or technical terms slip in.
Designers do have a habit of talking in acronyms – UI, for example, stands for the user interface and describes the visible areas of a website that visitors interact with. Don’t be afraid to ask them to tone down the technical terms. If you don’t understand a feature, you won’t be able to use it properly.
We’ve collected a few important questions to ask: Will they consult you with drafts of designs and wireframes once the project is underway? Do they offer unlimited revisions to ensure your final product includes everything listed in the project brief? A quality, reputable firm will have no objections to sharing this information.
We also suggest checking out their portfolio and testimonial sections. Ask them why they included certain tools and functions and how did they add value to that specific customer’s website? And crucially, would those features be beneficial on your website too?
Content Is King
A website can be a visually fantastic – functionally sensational – and have a terrific user journey. But if the content (text, images, or video) isn’t effective your conversion rate will suffer. Most designers also offer a copywriting service; everything from full content creation to a simple proofreading service.
Combining text, images and video on a web page is only part of the process. The actual content itself must be engaging. Having line after line of unbroken text is daunting to any visitor, especially one browsing on a mobile device. Breaking it into manageable chunks can make all the difference. Likewise, titles and headings are helpful to readers in a couple of important ways. First, they give helpful signposts of what to expect in the paragraphs that follow, and they can also help grab their attention. As well as headings, the snippet used in your call to action is another ‘make or break’ element. The snippet found underneath the title on your website’s search result should leave the visitor without doubts of what they will find if they click that link. It’s vitally important to take your time and get this right. Most importantly, work with the professionals. Calls to action play a massive role in a web designer’s work – they know what entices people to click. Use this expertise!
Finally, tailor your content to your target audience. If most of your customers are based in Britain, your content can refer to British cultural touchstones, history, or current events. But if you are trying to attract a foreign market, be careful not to make your content too UK-centric. Market research can be extremely beneficial when you are figuring out your audience and prospective customers. Don’t be shy about asking for a non-Brit’s perspective on this and remember that editing and revising for different audiences can be extremely effective when making your audience feel included.
An Ongoing Process
Your new website is a vehicle that should continuously boost growth. Sorry, but your job isn’t finished on launch day. Your overall business strategy needs to include a plan to continue adding valuable content as you and your business move forward.
For example, if you have an ecommerce site, it makes sense to make sure, while the site is still being developed, that you have the functionality to add additional products, easily edit pricing and add discounts in-house. Most CMS platforms will include these features as standard.
A brochure site should also be updated regularly, with fresh blog articles or recent testimonials. These tasks can be easily handled by yourself or an in-house staff member, and a good designer will offer a tutorial in how to complete them.
Digital marketing, whether it’s through email or social media platforms, is another service that’s regularly offered. These services are designed to drive traffic to your website, providing an opportunity for conversions and sales. This is another area where doing your homework can really pay off. Research your options and assess your rivals’ tactics. Digital marketing, done correctly, can be a strong way to create leads and boost conversion on your site.
Boosting Traffic From Google And Co.
Search Engine Optimisation is the technique used for creating website content that conforms to Google’s search algorithms. Done correctly, it will help your website feature higher up in search rankings when a user enters your keywords into a search engine, and, we hope, higher than your competitors.
The level of traffic coming from search engines to sites ranked highly make the inclusion of SEO in a web design contract essential. Good SEO ensures your website is visible to a massive market of warm leads.
Most agencies will offer SEO-friendly websites as standard, but it’s always worth exploring what exactly this ‘standard’ entails. With such a wide range of algorithms, SEO strategies require long term solutions – always check exactly what level of optimisation is included when you research various companies.
Your Needs Or Their Profits? What’s Important To The Web Designer
We’ve always taken the view that professional responsibility should be front and centre of any website design company’s ethos. A developer should put the needs of your business ahead of their own profits and should not attempt to sell you a website or other products that don’t add value to your business.
A website developer that advises you that an expensive product (for example, a mobile app) is UNLIKELY to provide return on the investment is an ethical developer proving they are making YOUR requirements a priority. Unless they can justify selling you additional services, it’s always a good rule of thumb to ask yourself why they are offering it.
When they offer a hosting package or plugins that link to social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, it’s likely going to be a valuable asset to your new website. But if they offer a complex, interactive feature that’s priced at several thousand pounds, ask yourself if it’s really something you need? Don’t be afraid to question any proposed features they suggest.
If they can’t easily and simply justify the value that those features will add to your business, we suggest moving on and looking for another website design company.
WHAT DO OTHER BUSINESSES THINK ABOUT OUR WEBSITE?
From late January 2018 you can read what other businesses think of our website.
Case Study – North Yorkshire Police
Louise Wood, Head Of Communications, on behalf of the North Yorkshire Police, used WDR’s terrific resources to help find a new website design team. Using our resources is a great help when it comes to the process of finding suitably experienced designers. North Yorkshire Police were looking for UK website design companies to tenders for their new website project in 2017.
The amount of highly detailed and easily accessible information available regarding the different companies is a big help as it make it easier to understand what each of them provided. Having the information in one easy to navigate place saves a considerable amount of time and makes the whole process much smoother.
North Yorkshire Police selected several companies to contact that they believed were of an excellent match and invited them to tender.
Case study about: Louise Wood, Head Of Communications, North Yorkshire Police
How Does Our Quote Process Work?
Please read our handy, three-step process to get a sense of what to expect when you submit your quote information through our website.
Your Quote Submission
By completing our ‘Request Quote’ form you are agreeing to submit your ideas and requirements for a website to our Top 10 Web Design Companies. It’s important that the information you submit is thorough and includes all the features you are looking for.
However, if you wish to discuss specific ideas with the designers before they provide a quote, please feel free to mention this. If you aren’t sure about a certain aspect for the website, please tell them. All 10 companies are experienced specialists who will provide detailed, professional advice when they respond.
We Review Your Submission
Once you submit your requirements, the information you provide will first be reviewed by our team of web experts. We will examine all the information that you have provided and explore which of the 10 companies are best placed to assist you.
We do this by working to understand, based on the information you’ve supplied, exactly what kind of website you are looking for. Next, using the budget that you’ve indicated, we will forward your details and the project specifics to the companies in the Top 10 that align with your requirements.
The Companies Get In Touch
Upon receiving your information, the companies will review the details and formulate ideas for how they can work with you to design and build your website. These companies may contact you by phone or email to confirm details or ask for more information.
The different companies all have their own methods, and our role is simply to introduce you to them. This gives you and your business the best possible chance of securing the most appropriate web design company to create a website that adds significant value to your company.
As well as reviewing web design, SEO and web hosting companies, our team writes articles designed to discuss the various elements of the online world. From guides that advise which features are essential to a website, to explanations of different types of website hosting, to de-mystifying SEO – you’re sure to find all the resources you’ll ever need.
Check out a selection of our blog posts covering the basics of effective web design.
Optimising For Mobile: 10 Tips To Make Your Site As Effective As Possible
Mobile is now the primary method amongst consumers for surfing the web. Check out our top 10 tips for optimising your website for use by those on mobile devices.
8 Essential Steps You Must Take To Build A Successful Website
Read our guide on 8 vital steps you should consider taking when designing and developing a website. Following these steps is statistically proven to increase conversion rates.
A Beginner’s Guide To: Web Design
Web Design can be an incredibly complex subject with a variety of technical industry language. This isn’t to mention the different types of website, styles of design and development. Our easy to understand, digest guide to web design is written to assist those starting out in the web design industry or those who wish to learn a little more about one of the fastest growing industries in the UK.
8 Questions A Website Visitor Expects The Answer To Straight Away
When visiting a website your average consumer hasn’t got to tine to search for information. They expect answers immediately. We’ve explained what you should answer immediately.
What Are The 6 Principles Of Design And How Do They Work?
The design process of a website can be notoriously complex. However, we’ve broken down 6 principles of website design and provided and explanation of each.
Our collection of blog posts that discuss the key concepts that help ecommerce websites maximise sales.
A Beginner’s Guide To: Ecommerce Websites
An ecommerce website is effectively an online shop or store. We’ve written this beginners guide so anyone can understand what exactly ecommerce websites entail.
20 Tips To Boost Your Ecommerce Conversion
Ecommerce websites primary purpose is to sell to visitors and we’ve put together a guide offering our Top 20 tips on how you can increase conversion rates on your website.
6 Ways To Turn Customers Off Your Ecommerce Site
Ecommerce is a highly competitive market and consumers aren’t easily impressed. We’ve explored just 6 of the common mistakes made on ecommerce sites that negatively affect conversions.
Top 5 Best Online Payment Merchants In 2018
Online payment is one of the central principles of an ecommerce website. We’ve researched the top 5 online payment merchants in the world so you know which will boost conversions.
Marketing & SEO
We’ve broken down the many intricacies of SEO and online marketing in these articles.
A Beginner’s Guide To: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation is the process whereby a website becomes more friendly to search engine’s such as Google and Bing, and is therefore more likely to rank higher in the results when people search a given keyword. As you can imagine, it is a complex field with an array of different factors – so we’ve produced this handy guide which explains the basics, enabling you to gain an insight into what SEO is, and how it can benefit your business.
Debunking 11 Popular Myths About SEO
SEO is an incredibly complex field and over time a whole range of theories on what constitutes good practice for SEO have developed. We’ve explored and debunked some of the leading myths.
10 SEO Mistakes: How To Avoid A Low Ranking On Google
Google and it’s fellow search engines follow very strict criteria when it comes to ranking websites. We’ve explained 10 critical mistakes that will negatively affect your ranking.
A Simple Introduction To SEO: What, Why & How!
A Simple Introduction To SEO: What, Why & How!
We’ve explained what exactly search engine optimisation is in this guide. Moreover, we explore why your business should care about your site’s SEO and how to improve it.
Your Google Ranking: The Reasons To Plan For The Long Haul
The holy grail for any website is ranking on Page One of Google for high volume keywords, thus boosting your visitor numbers. We explain why this achievement doesn’t come overnight and requires a long term strategy.
Discover why your web hosting package is vital with our easy-to-read blogs on what can be a very technical subject.
Where Does My Website Live Online?
Web hosting can be quite a daunting topic with lots of technical language. This article explains the different types of web hosting using the analogy of your home.
What Do I Need Actually To Know About Website Hosting?
We’ve cut through the technical language associated with website hosting and in this guide provide a glossary of the key terms and a breakdown of hosting types.
A Beginner’s Guide To: Web Hosting
Web Hosting is an often overlooked aspect of creating a website. After the excitement of the design stage and bringing the website to life through development, the nitty gritty of making if available on a server through a web hosting company can be, dare we say it, boring. We’ve explained in this simple to read guide exactly what web hosting is and what you need to know to make an informed choice.
Posts From Our Blog
Keep up to date with all things web design, SEO, hosting and funny stuff by visiting our sometimes hilarious and always informative blog. We discuss everything you need to know about running a successful website, often using fun infographics to break down and simplify topics that can sometimes be a bit daunting.