This article will cover most IMPORTANT questions you may have about hiring a design company to build your new website and we’ll show you how we build a website.
How do you measure what is a good website?
How much should a small business website cost?
Is the web design company reputable?
How do I know I'm not being ripped off?
How can the Design Company prove the design quality?
Will my website be found in Google or Bing search results?
Without fear of being proved wrong, we can say that Beetlebox is one of the BEST WordPress template web design companies in South Africa.
You may think that it is a bold statement but it’s unashamedly true. We build really great websites and our designs are best value for money. Here is how!
At BeetleBox we focus is small to medium businesses and start-ups. Just as we try to succeed in our business, we want our clients to succeed in theirs. It is our responsibility to give our clients the best services we can. We pride ourselves on the best technical build quality and creative aesthetics of our designs.
You are going to be spending a few thousand rand on your new website so do yourself a favour and read this before you make an informed decision as to who you will engage to build this valuable business tool for your company!
One of the most popular, versatile yet simple Content Management Systems (CMS) which has become the industry-standard and represents the future of website design is WordPress, our software of choice.
“Considering that the number of total active websites is estimated at over 1.3 billion according to a survey published by Netcraft, that means that around 455,000,000 websites are using WordPress right now, about 35%. That means around 20% of all self-hosted websites use WordPress.”
But believe me when I tell you that there is a lot more to building a website than you may think. I’m going to give you an idea of what must be considered when designing a website.
In a nutshell. A GREAT website: has clean responsive code, is search engine optimised, is easy to use and has a beautiful and engaging aesthetic design.
- Simplicity is best. Simplicity works well because it’s clean and fresh, uncluttered and easy to navigate. It also goes a long way to making your site easy to understand and as fast as possible.
- Consistency in website pages design makes a lot of difference. Using the same fonts and sizes as well as colour pallets buttons and text throughout the site will give the user a good experience (UX).
- Typography & Readability. No matter how good your design is content still rules the website. It provides users with the desired information which must be visually appealing and readable for visitors. We implement the use of easily readable fonts in conjunction with the appropriate H1 – H6 headings which can successfully carry your message to the reader.
- Colour palette and imagery. A perfect colour combination will attract users while a poor combination may distract the user. Enhance users experience by selecting complementary colour palette to give a balanced-look to your website design. The same goes for images. We focus your ideas with imagery but without overdoing it which may be distracting and confusing.
- Fast loading. As I mentioned previously, fast load time or the speed of a website is critical to the user experience. As great as WordPress is and easy to use this modular CMS, it’s a jack of all trades and master of none. By that I mean its code is not cut to the bone for speed. Today people expect virtually instant response from a web site or they move to the next one. But there are ways to compensate for WordPress tardiness and we utilise all the tools at our disposal making WordPress an effective all round web design tool.
- Easy Navigation. That is as easy to achieve as it sounds. We don’t hide the information away by bulky and intricate design. Access to information is easy by using the “three click rule”. Visitors can find information with a maximum of three clicks.
- Mobile friendly (responsive). The amount of users accessing the internet using a cell phone or tablet is surpassing desktop access. No wonder when Google crawls your website for discovery and customer experience ability, it usually does so as a mobile interface. We make sure our designs are responsive to mobile devices and in some cases we redesign or remove aspects of the web site to fit the various screen sizes. Before handover to the customer, the website is tested against 15 or more device types and sizes to ensure mobile compatibility.
- Search engine optimisation or SEO. SEO is relevant to most of the previous points I have mentioned and most web components are designed with SEO in mind. Think of it as the skeleton of your website. It binds the web components together in a synergy of inter-connectivity while supporting the various functions. Ultimately it is the most important component of web design because without it your website will never be visited! We focus on SEO through the entire build process making our designs one of the best designs you can buy.
A website should always be engaging and never boring. Quality is everything, but a quality website design is much more than aesthetics. It’s the ease of use, information text and graphic is placed with headings and links appropriately and logically on each page to ensure the viewer understands the message you are trying to convey and therefore should be well written and page content SEO optimised.
Our design principles focus on all aspects of a build like On-page SEO, Technical SEO, SEO for local businesses and Keyword research. This jargon may not mean a lot to you but it’s a critical set of design rules on which a successful website must be built.
Google, Bing and Yahoo etc. are in the business of customer service. They will only offer up the best quality websites to their customers. Unless your website ticks the boxes, dots the I’s and crosses the t’s, no one will ever find your website. That should be a sobering thought because your website may just be an expensive digital paperweight if you choose the wrong design company!!! The sad part is you may never know or find out that your website is not doing what it is supposed to do with only a few visitors trickling over it from time to time!
But as a customer you are not powerless. There are a few things you should do and insist on before and after you engage a web design company.
- Review the company’s website. Look for accolades and testimonials.
- Type the companies name into the Google search bar and take a brief look at the results keeping an eye out for any positive or negative customer feedback.
- For something a little more tangible and accurate run this simple test. You don’t need to be a guru to understand the results it’s fairly intuitive. Insert (copy and paste) the company url (e.g. https://www.beetlebox.co.za/ ) into this excellent SEO online test tool called Seobility, https://www.seobility.net/en/seocheck/ If the results are good, anything above 80% then you can be confident the design company knows how to build a website and your website will most likely follow in its footsteps. You can even try it out on their customer’s websites which may yield better results. Ask you designer to give you the results of a Seobility test after your website is complete, or do it yourself.
- Look at the cost of a new website. If the designer’s price is anything around or under R2000, for a standard five page business website you will be getting a lemon. You would have wasted your money. Any company or designer worth his salt should charge from R3000 – R6000 for a website. I will show you why in the next section.
We take all the above design principles into consideration. We add your unique brand to enhance the look and feel of your website. Now that we have the overall design overview out of the way, we can concentrate on the step by step design process, what it involves and how we justify our design costs. Follow the process with a list of items we go through to build a website for a customer.
SCOPE & RESEARCH STAGE (6 – 8 hours)
- BeetleBox receives a request to build a website.
- After the initial discussion with the client about the look and feel (page layout, colours, font) of the new website as well as the purpose the website and the client’s expectations, the work begins by collating this information into a design document. This is the blueprint of the website and is used throughout its design.
- A decision is them made with the client whether to purchase a WordPress template or theme, or whether to use a free WordPress theme, or whether to build website using a blank theme. All the basic information can be changed or manipulated to design a unique website.
- A colour pallet is then generated using the clients logo colours or branding or a specific group of colours determined by the client.
- A list of the client’s competitors, up to maximum of five is received and a full SEO audit is done on each client.
- Using this information, a search is done through Google to determine the TOP 5 companies on the first page of Google who fall into the same business group, product or service.
- A full SEO audit is then completed on these TOP 5 competitors.
- The 10 audits are then collated while applying our own formula and a list of information is produced related to short and long tail keywords that provide the best ranking in SERP’s, as well as a list of all the competitors backlinks.
DESIGN STAGE (10 – 16 HOURS)
- Service provisioning is requested and setup with the hosting company including the domain name requisition.
- The customer requested email addresses are setup on the host domain.
- A default version of WordPress is installed on the client’s provisioned server.
- WordPress is then setup with the client specific information.
- A standard set of plugins is then installed on the blank WordPress website. These plugins include security, SEO, cache, image compression, backup and contact form software plus any plugins related to the type of business or service.
- The agreed upon theme is installed and setup with the client information including the common header and footer of the website.
- The agreed upon web pages are then setup in a blank state.
- Menus and sub-menus are setup based on the pages to be designed for the new website.
- Content is then arranged and added to each page while researching more relevant information and images pertaining to the type of service or product.
- The client is then given access to the website to indicate his or her acceptance of the current design look and feel.
- All images are resized manipulated and compressed before being uploaded to the new website for insertion.
- ALT attributes is then added to each image to aid in the search results. The required alt attribute specifies an alternate text for an image, if the image cannot be displayed.
- Each page is then completed and the functionality of the website as a whole is tested.
SEO SETUP, TESTING & SUBMISSION STAGE (3 – 5 hours)
- Test all pages for mobile responsiveness.
- Link all social media platforms to website.
- Setup security software to protect against hackers.
- Setup an additional automated of site backup facility for redundancy to protect against, viruses or software updates that may break the website.
- SEO setup using RankMath.
- Setup and test cache software to speed up website.
- Website submission to Google search console and Bing.
- Add the website to various directory services
FINAL TESTING AND HAND OVER TO CLIENT (2 hours)
- Run the following performance tests using Pingdom, Seobility and GTmetrix. Save results for handover to client.
- Confer with the client for approval of the completed design and any last minute changes to be made.
- Setup client user accounts and train the client on WordPress CMS changes, updates and blog posting.
- Handover to client.
You would have noticed I put an approximate time next to each stage of the process. This is the time it takes to complete each stage. Doing a quick calculation, the minimum time spent was 19 hours. Multiply that by a very reasonable hourly rate of R400 and you get R5700. Taking the maximum amount of time that may be spent works out to R12400.
That is what your new website should cost, between R7000 and R12 000!
So why do I charge only half of that, about R3600, when my project time is approximately R8000?
The answer is simple. Many small business customers are uneducated about the complexity of web design so as long as they can pay half or a third of the price comparatively for something that looks good on the outside, they think must be good on the inside. WRONG!!!
There are many unscrupulous and uneducated web designers out there that will use a free WordPress template, simply copy and paste your content into the template and give you a bill for around R1500 to R2500. Your new website is only a digital paperweight, and quite useless. Don’t fool yourself because you saved R2000. It is impossible to build a web site for that price,… unless the designer is a Non Profit Organisation.
The sad truth is, in order to be competitive in an uneducated market, we have to slash our prices. The only reason we survive is not having large overheads. We work from our places of residence and collaborate via email and telephone.
DO YOU WANT YOUR WEBSITE BUILT RIGHT, OR DO YOU WANT TO SAVE MONEY?
Will your BeetleBox designed website be the best build quality, grow organically through the Google ranks and make the grade?
WE GUARANTEE IT WILL.
To further prove the SEO build quality of our designs, we take it through over a 40 point checklist. Most of the points are crucial to the completion of the website before handover to the client!
The Ultimate SEO Checklist – reliablesoft.net