Here are 13 expensive and common mistakes you can easily avoid when looking to hire a professional web designer in the USA.
Mistake #1: Shopping on price, instead of price-per-closed-success-metric (i.e. price-per-lead, per sale, per closed deal, per donation – etc.). Usually business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals who are shopping based mostly on price have never had a website that really made them money. Your website isn’t a brochure, it’s an online store, and for most businesses, your website will be the first impression of your business. Just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t hire just any old high school kid to decorate your store, create your signage, and brand your business, nor should you expect that your website should be such a trivial project. These days, the internet has matured so quickly, and there’s so much potential profit to be earned with online marketing, that even one full time experienced professional cannot know everything needed to really maximize revenue; a good professional web designer based anywhere, including the USA, will need to have a team. This team might include a designer, an art director, content writers, search engine professionals, and social media professionals. Other optional professionals that might be involved include landing page optimization, integrated marketing professionals, pay-per-click (PPC) management professionals, and others. The bottom line, is shopping on price will get you what you want to hear – low prices – but the best people in the industry are exactly the people who never underbid their work, because they don’t need to… they make websites that create money, that create business, leads, non-profit donations, church visitation, etc. – whatever your success metric is. Instead, consider shopping for a professional web designer (USA or otherwise) that is metrics-driven and believes in accountability for all marketing investments.
Mistake #2: Getting handcuffed into expensive maintenance contracts. The old days when your site was under lock and key, and any change meant paying (and waiting weeks for, in some cases) any changes. These days, a website is a fluid storefront, and should have a simple, easy to use control panel that allows you to make changes as easily as writing an email. The cold hard fact is that nobody will case about your business as much as you, and few people probably know as much about your business as you. The job of the professional web designer is to make things look good and empower you and/or your team.
Mistake #3: Thinking Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) is some expensive “magic dust” sprinkled on top of your website. The fact is SEO is pretty technical, but isn’t that hard to understand in overview. Basically you need great content, and need a lot of “votes” for that content, i.e. back-links from other sites. To this day some companies oversell this and try to make it seem mystical, to avoid accountability and overcharge you. What matters to you, is you, or someone on your staff, will need to create some great content that humans truly find useful and demonstrates your expertise – like I’m doing here. That can be easily “spun” or rewritten into hundreds of “fish hooks” you’ll “drop into the water” to be found by search engines, which will get people into your storefront (a.k.a. “website”). A professional website designer will need some keyword research done within the USA, if you’re focused on a USA audience, to truly understand the fine details of identifying profitable key-phrases for your business or organization. For more about working with SEO, see our video “SEO vs. PPC – Profit Secrets”.
Mistake #4: Thinking anyone truly cares about anyone except themselves. Ok, that sounds a bit harsh, but all media should be client-centric and based on how you’ll make their life better. It’s easy to get caught up in features, important internal dialogue that is important to the operation of your business, some whiz-bang new amazing thing that happened, or even industry scandal. None of that matters to the client. I hope and expect you’re reading this, and the thought in the back of your mind is “How will this make me more money?”. “More Business” is the benefit we sell, and our professional web designer staff from the USA and overseas create websites, landing pages, banner ads, mass email marketing campaigns, etc. in order to deliver that value to you. At the end of the day, you probably don’t care about our redundant-connection OC-3 servers, except as much as what it means to you, which is constant 100% uptime, fast server performance. Your clients buy your benefits, not your features, and making your media about them will get you more business (or whatever success metric you have i.e. visits to a church / synagogue / mosque, donations of time if you’re with a non-profit, etc.).
Mistake #5: Guessing, not knowing, how your marketing is doing. These days, there’s absolutely no excuse other than laziness or incompetence for having exact figures about the performance of your website in terms of unique human visitors, what they did on your site when they arrived, how long they spent, the best-performing and worst-performing pages on your website. This is really easy to fix, thanks to various free analytics programs and reporting systems.
Mistake #6: Not using mass email and automated followup emails. For more about this, be sure to see our free video “Strategy vs. Tactics: The Right Tools for the Job”. In a few industries, there are exceptions, i.e. bail bonds. You never just want a bail bond, you either need it or you don’t, and I would imagine the buying cycle is pretty short. Some emergency happens, you get a crazy phone call, and need someone out of jail (I presume) – so the best tool to get a bail bondsman more business is being found at time of need, which is about search engine optimization. That said, for the majority of businesses, there’s a bit of a sales cycle (anything that’s not 90% one-call-close has a cycle), and/or multiple products or services you can and should be selling to your clients with “stories of success”. For most businesses, email marketing is the single highest-ROI marketing method, and it’s very easy to implement.
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