Website Design FAQs
Answering Your Questions
If you have a small business and your website is not actively helping you attract and serve your customers, then it may be time to invest in a new one. The best small business websites are designed to not only look great but to also help grow your business.
If you are not looking to grow your business or you rely strictly on word of mouth growth, then you may be able to get by with an underperforming website. Otherwise, it is probably time for you to invest in a new website. If done right, you should see a nice return on your investment.
If you are starting a new business, you should do your logo first, website second, and marketing third. Your logo will help shape your website design styling (i.e. colors, fonts, design elements) and your marketing is largely in vain until you have a high-performance website in place. For those reasons, we suggest sandwiching your new website between your logo design and marketing.
If you have an established business, you can redesign your website at any time. Some indicators that you may need a new website include declining sales, customer complaints, poor search engine rankings from Google (i.e., people can’t find you), difficulty making basic updates, recurring website glitches (e.g., broken forms, poor mobile display), old company information, and dated design styling. Your website is often the first impression of your business for potential customers or clients. You want to make sure it reflects you and your business well.
Effectiveness. The best website designs help grow your bottom line. Specifically, they are clear, engaging, and accessible. Your website organization, visual design, and written content should all help tell a clear story about who you are and how you help people. Next, an effective website makes it very easy for people to do business with you (aka engaging). Do you want people to call, email, fill out a form, or book a service? Your website should make it very easy for people to respond to your call to action (CTA). Finally, effective websites are accessible – meaning people can find them. The best-looking website is completely useless if nobody can find it. A well-organized website with intentional search engine optimization (SEO) will make it easy for people to find you.
Most websites fall into one of two categories: informational or e-commerce. Informational websites are designed to let people know who you are, how you can help them, and how they can use your services. If you are a professional service provider such as a law firm, medical practice, accounting office, insurance agency, or home service provider, you probably need an informational website. While these websites should be designed to help grow your business, they don’t specifically sell a product or service directly on the website.
E-commerce websites, on the other hand, are designed to sell products or services online. If you have a product company, you probably want an e-commerce website to vastly expand your customer base well beyond your physical location. E-commerce websites can also help improve your customer experience by providing convenient online ordering options for local customers if you’re in the food industry, for example.
The website design process includes a business consultation, home page design, full website design, final review, and launch. We use the initial consultation to get to know you, your business, your industry, and your local market. Before starting your website design, it is essential to clearly understand who your website is for and how you want it to work for your business. Starting with a consultation helps ensure the website will align nicely with your goals as the business owner. From there, we design just the home page for your review. Once you’ve had an opportunity to share your feedback, we update the home page design as needed to ensure the website has the right look and feel for your business. Next, we design the rest of the website complete with written content, photos, and design styling to match your brand. Once you’ve had an opportunity to review your full website, we wrap up any design details or loose ends to make sure the website is launch-ready. After your final review and approval of the website, we launch it for the world to see. For good measure, we observe a 48-hour watch window to make sure everything works just like it should. We also present you with an Owners Guide so you know how to log in and make basic updates to your website. The total website design process usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks from start to finish, but can go more quickly or slowly depending on your availability to provide timely feedback throughout the process.
While there are many capable website design companies, the best ones have three things in common. They take time to understand your business, they mind the details, and they look out for your long-term best interests.
A good website design company knows that creating a good-looking website is only the tip of the iceberg. Every detail of your website should be carefully planned to help grow your business. Your navigation menu, page layouts, messaging, photos, and calls to action each require intentional thought to ensure they align nicely with your business goals. Taking the time upfront to get to know you and your business is key to designing a website that truly works for you and your business so you see a good return on your investment.
Next, the best website design companies mind the details. They see around corners for you, they anticipate and prevent roadblocks, they proactively account for the details that novice web developers miss. A few of these often-forgotten details include copy editing, stock image licensing, brand alignment, user journeys, mobile optimization, contact form integrations, Google Analytics setup, and sitemap submission for SEO. The best website design companies anticipate these details for you, so you don’t have to worry about them.
Finally, the best website design companies truly care about your long-term best interests. They don’t cut corners on the invisible parts of your website development to pad their margins. Instead, they treat your website like their own. They design for flexibility so your website can easily evolve with your business because that’s what they would want. They make you aware of any ongoing costs to maintain your website (e.g., domain name renewals, website hosting, plugin costs, etc.) to avoid surprises. Instead of cutting corners and pushing annoying upsells, they are mindful of your long-term best interests.
The best website packages cover your design and functionality bases. On the design side of things, they account for things like brand alignment, photography, messaging, page layouts, first impressions, and user experience. On the functionality side of things, they account for things like mobile optimization, website speed, search engine optimization (SEO), and third-party integrations (e.g., scheduling, payment processing, email list management).
The best website design companies will typically include these items in their standard website design package. However, many of the discount web design companies cut corners that limit your website design, functionality, or both.
Website design costs can range from low-cost DIY options to tens of thousands of dollars. This broad range of pricing can make it very difficult to know how much you need to budget for your small business website.
While low-cost DIY website platforms like Wix and Squarespace can be a great place to start if you’re on a shoestring budget or just have a hobby business, they have their limitations. On the other hand, high-priced custom web development companies are overkill for most small businesses. We’ve found very few small businesses that need to spend over $10,000 on their website. If someone quotes over $10,000 for your website, you should probably get pricing from a few other companies to make sure you aren’t overpaying.
After working with hundreds of small businesses across the country, we’ve found the average website cost ranges from $2,000 to $8,000. Most websites fall toward the middle of that range, but pricing varies depending on your needs.
A good website design company takes time to understand your needs so you just pay for the website you need – no more or no less. Don’t let anyone lock you into a low-cost, limiting web platform or an over-priced custom web development package you may not need.
When looking for an affordable website design, it is so important to consider the full cost of your website. So many “discount” website providers bait people in with free or cheap set-up costs only to lock them into unnecessary long-term monthly payments that cost much more in the long run. Many freelance web developers also offer relatively affordable web design, but not without a cost. It is rare to find a freelance web developer who can supply long-term, reliable, and affordable website maintenance. The freelance web design route often results in a website that is expensive or impossible to maintain.
A cheap website design is almost always more expensive in the long run. You are better off budgeting for a website you may not be able to afford today than to settle for the lowest cost option that leaves you feeling locked into a website with unnecessary ongoing costs that end up costing you more in the long run. A truly affordable website design company will probably not be the cheapest option today – but they will be the most cost-effective option for you over the long haul.
If you have a hobby business or are just starting out on a tight budget, a DIY website builder like WIX or Squarespace may be a good place for you to start. However, DIY website builders often come with limitations or ongoing costs that leave you feeling locked into a less than ideal website situation.
If you’re on a tight budget and can afford to wait for a little while, we recommend budgeting and saving for a quality website that will serve you and your business well for years to come. Doing your website right the first time around may cost less than you expect and will almost always be your most cost-effective option in the long run.
With so many well-known website platforms like Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, WordPress, and others, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. However, after working with hundreds of small business owners to build websites on several different platforms, one continues to rise to the top – WordPress.
Today, WordPress powers over a third of the web and is the most widely-used web platform. Its unparalleled versatility makes it the favorite go-to platform for businesses of all sizes. Because of that, many of the best website design companies use WordPress as their preferred website platform.
Many small businesses just need a simple website design with basic website functionality. These websites are usually one to three pages designed to inform people about who you are, what you do, and how they can contact you. Basic informational websites usually cost a fraction of large, complex, or e-commerce websites.
If you just need a simple website design, it is important to find a website design company who will take the time to understand your needs and will resist the urge to sell you more than you need. A good website design company will build you a simple website designed for today’s needs that can easily evolve with your business as you grow along the way.
A one-page website, single-page website, or landing page website, has all of your website content on one, long, scrolling page. One-page websites are a great place to start if a full website is not in your budget quite yet. This affordable website design fits almost any budget.
The biggest drawback of a one-page website is limited search engine optimization (SEO) potential. Google likes to see a well-organized website hierarchy when ranking your website for search engine results. A one-page website appears “flat” to Google because all of your information is on one page instead of multiple pages neatly organized in a clear hierarchy. This limitation is the biggest reason why we recommend a one-page website as a great place to start, but not as your best long-term solution.
When designing a one-page website, it is best to view it as a great “stepping-stone” on the way to a full website when your budget allows. The best one-page websites are designed to easily expand into a full website when you’re ready to take that step. When doing a one-page website, just be sure to find a good website design company that will help you design with the end in mind to avoid any throw-away work when you transition to a full website down the road.
The average website takes 6 to 8 weeks from start to finish. However, your project can go more quickly or slowly depending on your availability to provide timely feedback throughout the process.
Your website is the “umbrella” that houses the individual pages of your website. More specifically, your website includes all of the webpages that start with “www.yourdomainname.com”. The individual pages are usually indicated by “/page-name” after your domain name.
Your website design company should help you think through the pages you need on your website and the most effective way to organize them for search engine optimization (SEO).
A custom website design uses custom code to design and develop your website. Custom website designs often look beautiful and very unique, but they are not without their drawbacks. Because they require a skilled web developer for the most basic updates, custom website designs are often more expensive to build and maintain than template website designs. While some small businesses truly need a custom website design, most are best served by a template website design. Template website designs are more cost-effective to build and maintain while looking just as good as custom website designs.
Template website designs are the best fit for most small businesses. Unlike custom website designs, they are cost-effective to build and maintain. Best yet, template website designs can still be customized to the look and feel of your brand. A skilled website design team can effectively use the tools within a given template to tailor your website to the look and feel of your brand – without the long term hassles and costs of custom code.
Responsive web design ensures your website looks great on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. It also takes into account the differences between MAC and PC platforms. In short, responsive web design helps your website respond to the various ways people will see your website so it always represents your business well.
You can find out for free in about 30 seconds. Just enter your web address into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and they’ll let you know after a quick scan of your website.
While there are many mobile-friendly tests available, we recommend using Google’s. They’re the elephant in the room when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), and mobile-friendliness is huge for your SEO these days. It’s best to find out straight from the horse’s mouth if your website makes the cut.
If your test results turn up the dreaded “Page is not mobile-friendly” message, there is hope. Most website design companies today include responsive web design in their standard website packages.
When asking who owns your website, you’re likely asking in the context of “who controls your website” so we’ll address that first. If you have a mortgage on your house, who owns your house, you or the bank? The same principle applies to your website. Most website design agencies will assign full control of your website to you once you have fully paid for it. Typically, this is about the time your website launches. If you work out a flexible payment plan with your website designer to spread out your website cost, they will likely retain control of your website until your final payment is made. This practice is common and understandable as web design companies need a way to hedge against the risk of a bad client walking away with a website without paying for it.
The other aspect of website ownership is in the legal context of actual copyright ownership. The ownership of your website copyright remains with the website designer until a written transfer is made. When choosing a website design company, it is important to know how they handle copyrights so you can be certain you’ll have the ability to control your website and own the copyright. At Daor Design, we make a practice of painlessly transferring your website copyright to you upon request. If you have invested in a new website for your business, we think you should be free to fully control and own it at the end of the day.
There are also some benefits to registering your website with the Copyright Office. We recommend you consult with an attorney to discuss your options.
A good website design company will ensure you have access to log in and make basic updates to your website after it is finished. It is best to avoid web design companies who require you to go through them for all updates to your website. Essentially, that means they control your website and can nickel and dime you on ongoing website updates.
When doing websites for our small business clients, we equip them with an Owner’s Guide so they can update their websites as they wish.
So many people think of their websites as “set-it-and-forget-it” once they launch. Fast forward a little while and those same people wonder why they have broken forms, weird fonts, poor mobile display, 404 errors, and security issues on their website. As the internet, web browsers, and devices evolve, they can impact the way your website looks. Web platforms, like WordPress, are constantly rolling out updates to respond to these changes. The same goes for plugins that power things like your contact forms, or appointment scheduling. Ignoring these updates will slowly erode your website’s functionality until it breaks in a big way (e.g., gets hacked, won’t load right, can’t update). These situations often become expensive emergencies that can cost much more than proactive maintenance.
Proactive website maintenance helps keep your website looking and working like new. It gives you the peace of mind that when an issue does happen, it can quickly be caught and fixed to avoid any disruptions to your business. Proper maintenance can also help boost your search engine optimization (SEO) as Google likes to see a well-maintained website. Last, but not least, website maintenance can help extend the life of your website, which saves you time and money in the long run.
Most website design companies will offer website maintenance services because they’d like to see your new website continue to look and work like new too!
While there are many good hosting providers like Blue Host, GoDaddy, WP Engine, and others, we have a clear favorite – Afterburner Hosting. We’ve launched hundreds of websites for small businesses across the country to several different hosting providers. Afterburner continues to outshine the rest.
A few things that keep us recommending Afterburner time and time again include their comprehensive hosting services, their fast site load times, and their unparalleled customer services. Many discount hosting providers bait people in with low pricing only to nickel and dime them on must-have items like an SSL Certificate. Not Afterburner. They’re not the cheapest option in the lineup, but they include everything you need upfront to avoid surprises down the road. Another big perk of Afterburner is lightning-fast website load times. They don’t overcrowd their servers as some discount hosting providers do. This distinction means your website will load quickly, which is great for your user experience and your search engine optimization (SEO). Finally, Afterburner’s customer service is phenomenal. They are easily accessible and work quickly to resolve any website issues that may arise so your website is working like new in no time.
If you haven’t already registered your domain name, it is best to do it with your hosting provider. The best time to register your domain name is before you start your website, or very early in the website design process.
From a branding perspective, it is usually best to have your domain name match your business name. You’ll want to work with your hosting provider to lock in an exact (or very close) match, if possible. If variations of your business name are already spoken for, you may need to get more creative with your domain name. When doing small business websites for our clients, we help advise them on the best domain name for their business, if needed.
Yes. Your main recurring costs will be your hosting service and domain name renewals. Other recurring costs may include your SSL Certificate for website security, payment processing if you do e-commerce, plugin costs if you have paid integrations, website maintenance to keep your website looking and working like new, and SEO services if you decide to invest in getting your website in front of the right people.
While many of these other recurring costs may not apply to you, it is important to think through your “post-launch plan” before launching your website to avoid any surprises. We offer post-launch planning in our standard web design services for small businesses to help ensure our clients only pay for the recurring costs they absolutely need and/or help further their business goals.
No. Your website is at the center of your online presence but is only part of it. If you have a small business, your online presence includes anywhere people can find you on the internet. Today, that may also include things like your Google My Business listing, Yelp listing, and Facebook page – to name a few.
If you’re like most small businesses, you want a broad online presence to help build your brand awareness. An effective online presence points people to your website where they can most easily engage with your business or contact you.
While Google My Business and other aspects of your online presence may rival your website in terms of effectiveness today, there is one key distinction to remember: the only piece of your online presence you actually own is your website. While Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and others can be very effective tools to help grow your business, you are putting your business at risk if you rely exclusively on these platforms. Your business will be subject to shifting rules, regulations, and algorithm updates. When building your online presence, it is essential to keep your website (where you have the most control) front and center.
When a person types something into Google’s search bar, Google scans the billions, yes billions, of web pages on the internet and lists the most relevant pages first. So, to earn your spot on the coveted first page of Google, Google needs to see your website as relevant to the search at hand. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the tool that can get there. An entire industry has emerged around SEO services because it is so important for small businesses, especially. If you want your website to show up on Google, you need to invest in SEO. There’s no way around it.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the art and science of making your website attractive to Google so it will rank you near the top of search engine results when someone is searching for your products or services in your area. In more practical terms, SEO puts your website in front of people who are searching for your services.
Many discount or overseas SEO agencies promise overnight results for rock-bottom prices that seem too good to be true. They almost always are. It is common for these SEO agencies to use black hat SEO tactics that may give you a quick bump, but open you up to penalties from Google – leaving you worse off than when you started.
If you’re serious about SEO for your website, be prepared to invest a minimum of several hundred dollars a month for at least three to six months to see real results. The best website design companies will account for SEO groundwork in their standard website packages and offer SEO services once your website is finished so you can begin to get it in front of the right people.
When done right, SEO can help you attract relevant clients and, in time, grow your business.
Website Design Projects
for Other Small Businesses
“Daor Design helped me rebrand my business with a new website and logo. They do great work and I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a graphic design team.”
“Daor Design did a phenomenal job creating our website. We started the process right before COVID hit. Even though there was so much uncertainty with some of our core customers closing, Daor Design was very patient and understanding. My husband and I were clueless about website design but we knew what we wanted. I felt truly valued throughout this entire process. They kept us informed and on track every step of the way! They always have a special place in my heart for all their hard work and dedication to my business.”
“Daor has done many design projects for us and we’ve always been blown away at their talent and professionalism. From the early stages of creating a logo and print advertisements to the more intricate processes of website design, I highly recommend Daor for all of your design needs.”
“Working with Daor Design has taken a huge weight off of my shoulders! Marketing and branding is a key component of business planning but one that had also been very ambiguous to me. Daor Design has done a great job of developing a clear strategy and providing regular updates with real results. The Daor team is organized, professional, and effective. If you are looking for help with branding or marketing, I highly recommend
“From start to finish, Daor Design did an amazing job redesigning my law firm’s logo and website. I could not possibly be happier with the new site’s aesthetics. Moreover, throughout the content editing process, they were prompt and thorough in implementing the changes that I requested. Thanks to all of the time and hard work that Daor Design put into developing my firm’s new website, visitors who are interested in retaining my services are more likely to have a very positive first impression of my firm! Thanks, Daor!”
“The Daor team is great! They were patient and worked with me to create a new logo, website and complete branding package that turned out to be spot on with what I envisioned and represents my company perfectly.”
“Daor has been so incredibly helpful when it comes to filling our online needs. They have generated blog posts, made website changes, created graphics, increased our Search Engine Optimization and so much more. The best part about working with Daor is the individual attention our company receives. Daor’s small feel makes me feel important, not like I am one of a hundred clients.”
“We were very selective in choosing a company for our website design and it really paid off. We chose to work with Daor Design because we could tell that their knowledge of design, branding, and attention to detail was unparalleled.
Daor Design brought our vision to life and seamlessly incorporated our brand throughout our entire website. Suffice it to say that we are very pleased with how it turned out. We have since received many compliments from customers and the like.
The entire process, from start to finish, was very well organized and timely. Everything was executed as planned and on schedule. Communication was great and all of the staff were kind.
We look forward to working with Daor Design in the future and would highly recommend them.”
“I highly recommend Daor Design. Their work is always intuitive and aesthetically pleasing. I go to them for any design, marketing or website needs and am always satisfied with what they produce. They are trustworthy, responsive and professional!”
“Extremely happy with the quality of how my website turned out for ketogirlnutritionist.com. They exceeded my expectations with their timely and professional response and design. They helped me rebrand and create my clean, modern logo and website. Love how my marketing and personality show throughout my website. They are the only website design company I will use here on out.”
“We chose Daor Design to update our brand and re-build our website. What an excellent choice we made. With my technology challenged brain Daor saved the day. They listened to our vision and helped us transform it into the beautiful website/logo we have today. They were prompt when we asked for changes or additions and they did it with an incredible amount of patience. I am pleased to add my name to the list of those that have enjoyed the professionalism, creativity and again, much needed patience of Daor Design.”
“Tim and I had been trying to find someone to re-do our website and logo for a very long time… the Daor Design team was worth the wait! They asked us meaningful questions, really listened to our answers, then delivered a concept that captured those discussions. Communication throughout the process was clear and prompt. Even though we are a small business, Daor Design never made us feel like we were inconsequential. They made us feel like our project mattered. They made us feel like our success was their success.”
“I really enjoyed working with Daor Design. They were always very clear and wonderfully helpful with the overall process. Daor Design created a beautiful website for me with lovely touches that made it extra special. They always finished each step of the design process on schedule. I love my website, it is exactly what I was hoping for. I highly recommend Daor Design and look forward to working with them in the future.”
“Daor Design is our one stop shop for web development, content creation, social media coaching and SEO. We owe it to them for expanding our branding and social media footprint.”
“We have worked with Daor Design on multiple fronts. They helped us create a logo and a website, helped setup email marketing campaigns, and also helped with our social media presence, footprint and SEO. Personally I’m a huge seeker of where quality and value intersect, and I feel they come together incredibly well with Daor.”
“Y’all killed it!!! Your input on the brand and your expertise on the website was perfect! And y’all made the process a breeze!!! I’m officially on your bandwagon!!! THANK YOU!”
“Sarah and the Daor Design team did such an amazing job on my website revamp. I had a new vision and mission and wanted my website to reflect that. As the business is evolving in real-time, so did the changes to the website – the entire Daor Design team were exceptionally patient, kind, and understanding; and most importantly, were able to implement the changes in real-time WITH the business needs. I can’t recommend them enough, and THANK YOU.”
“The team is so professional and timely. If you want a great website, this is the best team for the job!”
“The San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation was in need of a major overhaul of our website. The Daor Design Team was recommended to us and thankfully we hired them for the project. We could not be happier with our new brand. We had excellent communication them which continues even though the site is up and running. Their knowledge and expertise provided guidance, ideas and follow up that we needed. We highly recommend this excellent company!”
“I have gotten so many nice compliments on my new website. The team at Daor has been incredible to work with. They have taken what felt like an overwhelming task and made it happen. In addition to my website, they are streamlining my social media presence, it’s been so incredibly helpful. THANK YOU DAOR TEAM…you are so talented and have been a great asset to me!”
“I am extremely happy with my new logo and new website. I didn’t realize how dated my old logo and website had become. Working with Daor design is very easy. I highly recommend them.”
“Daor exceeded our expectations for our new website. Through the whole process they were super professional, responsive, and attentive. They listened to our values and needs and exemplified them perfectly on our website. Highly recommend!”