Suncoast Web Solutions

Hire A Web Designer From The Sunshine Coast or Other Regional Areas

When hiring a web designer from the Sunshine Coast, or any regional area it is important you understand the difference between a graphic designer and a web designer. There are a few things you really need to consider before you do. Engaging the services of a professional website designer can make the world of a difference. A lot of small business owners and business groups on social media will try and tell you otherwise. This is one of the most costly mistakes they will make. Moreover, it is usually because they have never experienced a successful website themselves. We will share with you the reasons why hiring a web designer is important to your website and its success.


What Do You Need To Know Before You Hire A Web Designer?

Building an up-to-date, mobile-friendly website, with engaging content, will help to no end. It will also provide you with a higher quality of leads, compared to almost any other channel. Since your new website could be one of your most important business investments. You really need to make sure you are going to hire a good web designer. Don’t just go for anyone who says they are a website designer either. You need proof of their ability, you need to understand what experience they have. In other words, what runs do they have on the board?

How Do You Find A Great Website Designer?

  • Set a budget for your Website Design, and a separate budget for your ongoings, including marketing your website.
  • Check out the portfolio of different web designers in your area, if they are in a city, look to nearby regional areas, it can save some money.
  • The location of your website designer or digital media agency is not so important these days.
  • Make sure that each design of their past work is not the same, especially if you want to stand out in the crowd. There are a lot of Graphic Designers claiming to be Website Designers.
  • Ensure that the Website Designer or Agency can provide additional services including SEO and/or General Internet Marketing. (If they do it on the cheap e.g. sub $700 per month don’t do it. Read our article on How To Hire A SEO Expert)
  • Ask a lot of questions about the web designers process.
  • Request examples of how their method has worked well for other clients.
  • Search Web Designers on the Sunshine Coast and compare with multiple different ones to find out how they all compare

How Do You Measure The Skills Of Each Web Designer or Digital Media Agency Before Hiring One?

When it comes to website design, you must get a website designer who focuses on design. Their job is to create a functional design and layout of a website. They do not know how to layout a printed brochure or do graphic design for printing. There is a very distinct difference between designing for the screen versus for print. Next, you want to make sure that there is a web developer involved. In the ideal world, they will focus on web development. A good web developer will have the technical knowledge needed to get the website built.

Does this mean that you need more of an agency rather than a single person? 100%, you bet, it means you need more of an agency. On the Sunshine Coast, for example, there are quite a large number of firms that claim to be web designers. This issue is a global one, but we cannot stress enough how important of a difference a true digital media agency will make. Designers or design firms who use prebuilt themes like Envato, Imprezza or Divi do not know have the technical know-how on how to code a website. There is a market for these types of sites but for serious websites you need to invest time and money. Get professionals in each specific area to build the website properly.

Here Is A Shortlist Of Skillsets Required To Help You To Hire A Professional Website Designer, Web Design Company or Digital Media Agency:
  • Principles of Design: When looking for a talented website designer, you need to make sure they can create a visually appealing design. The ideal web designer should have an eye for web design, and user interface design skills.
  • Scope of Work & Communication: Understanding the scope of work is a key factor in the success of your project. You need to take this opportunity to clearly outline what you are hoping to achieve with your website. How the website should function and what features you need it to have. It is just as important that they can display a good understanding of the project.
  • User Experience (UX): UX is short for User Experience. This is a technique where the website designs addressed from a user-first perspective. It involves a process where the design will help users get from point A to point B as easily as possible. A great UX can be measured very easily. A good website designer can improve a design constantly to help improve user experience and in turn generate more conversions.
  • User Interface (UI): UX is more focused on how design affects someone, UI differs greatly. It focuses on the page layout, buttons and combinations of colour to help encourage the user to click on particular buttons or links.
  • Responsive Design: Creating a design that works on mobile and desktop devices should now be done out of the box these days. A website designer will know the difference, those who don’t understand the differences will be vague in their response. In short, responsive website design means that a website layout will fit the screen no matter what the size of the screen is.

If  You Are Looking For A Web Design Firm On The Sunshine Coast, Take A Look At Our Web Design Services.

How Do You Choose A Web Designer?

When working out who you are going to work with, you need to consider what’s going to work for you. Is your preference that they work locally, say, on the Sunshine Coast? Or are you happy for them to work remotely in other locations? Either way, you need to have a clear list of things you need the new website designer or digital media agency to have, to meet your requirements.

If this is the first time you have thought about this, we have put together a list of things you should probably ask yourself before hiring a website designer or digital media agency. This list includes the following things:

  • Did the individual or company you approach ask you much about your business?
  • Have you seen their past work? Do they have a portfolio on their website?
  • Do they have separate website designers and graphic designers?
  • How big is their team? Size is an issue for everyone. If they are too big, they may not be able to cater to your business needs as well. If they are too small, they may not be able to allocate enough time for your business needs.
  • What structure and planning processes do they employ in their business. Are you able to communicate with the team working on your project? While this is not crucial, some people do feel better knowing that they can if they want to.
  • Ask them what happens after the website is built. Is there a strategy that they work with? Do they have internet marketing options for your new website? If they don’t maybe you should consider looking elsewhere.
  • If you want to be able to maintain the website yourself, do not forget to ask what they are going to build your website in.

The Legal You Probably Want To Be Covered Off

There are always some things that no one likes to talk about. This is one of them and it isn’t always easy to bring up. Treat it just like a bandaid, rip it off hard and fast. You want to make sure you understand what you are getting.

The first question you really need to ask is about copyrights. Who owns images, text, graphics etc. You also should ask about the ownership of the code behind the site. The good ones will typically say to you that the code, design and text are owned by you. They will also let you know that they will be using stock images from stock libraries. This is all fairly standard. The code can be a little tricky though.

Some website designers, digital media agencies and alike will try to claim ownership over the code. They cannot claim ownership over code that is not produced by them though. This means the likes of WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or any other system and the respective third-party plugins are not owned by the given agency. The only thing they may claim (which is rare for most as they cannot code anyway) is the design and code of the theme/template used to build your website.

Ownership of domain names is the second big one. Some organisations have been known to register the domain on behalf of a client but put it under their own name. It can be a legal nightmare. Technically, they can do this. Morally, Ethically and everything else that is honest and fair, says that they should put it in your name. Either way, to avoid this issue, make sure that you have the domain under entity or personal name.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Web Designer To Make My Website?

To build a website properly, avoiding the worst of the issues that plague this great digital industry, requires a good investment. It should be correctly and accurately calculated out. What do we mean by this? Well ultimately, the cheaper the site cost, the worst it is going to be. On average, small to medium businesses should budget between $4,000 to $6,500 for a reasonably built website that is not e-commerce enabled. A reasonable cost for an e-commerce enabled website should start at approximately $10,000 to $12,000.

This may sound like a huge amount to be spending on a website. Surely there is a cheaper option, right? Well, yes, it is true we can build a website for far less. In fact, if we don’t have to create the content and the client is happy with a prebuilt template (that we have coded). We can supply such a site for approximately $2,500 to $3,600. There is far less work that will go into a site at that price range. Keeping all of this in mind, let us break down the costs into smaller chunks based on a full service.

Website Design Cost Calculations

Almost 95% of web design and development costs are labour based. There is, of course, a few licenses, royalties etc you have as fixed costs. To make a website successful, it needs more work post-build. Below is a good way for you to calculate your budget and how much it is really going to cost to build a website, in both hours and financial costs. We are going to assume that everything in this example is being done by the digital media agency and not by a graphic designer claiming to be a website designer. In other words, everything is done by an expert in their own field. Initially, we will just focus on the time required, and base it off on a simple 7-page website.

1. Website Design

It is going to take at least 20-30 hours for an experienced website designer to design the front page of your new website. This is something people will argue is rubbish. The fact is, doing it properly and making it look great just takes time. This doesn’t cater for revisions or modifications. This is just the initial website design.

2. Converting the Front Page Structure and Layout into Code that Your Website Software Will Understand

This is going to take at least another 30-40 hours to complete. This includes making the design work on mobile, tablet and desktop.

3. Internal Page Design

An experienced website designer will take about 1-2 hours to design up each internal page for a new website.

4. Converting Internal Pages From Pictures into Editable, Functional Pages Your Website Visitors Will Love

Once again this is going to take a good chunk of time to get through each page. On average you should expect it will take 3-4 hours, depending on length. Some pages will be a lot shorter, some will be longer.

5. Keyword Research

When building a website from the ground up, you need to understand what the ‘average joe’ is going to be doing to find your business. On average it can take up to 1 hour per page to come up with a good keyword list to target.

6. Development of Text Content

This will vary depending on the industry, who is developing the content and who it is targetting. On average to put a 500-700 word page will take a few hours to complete each page. To be specific, we will assume in this example, there are approximately 2 hours per page.

7. Image and 3rd Party Plugin Licensing

The costs for images and 3rd party plugins are going to vary depending on how many pictures and plugins are needed. On average though, the budget for images across the entire website will probably be around $150-$200 for basic licensing, catering for a couple of images per page. It can take a long time though to find suitable images to use. The same can be said about 3rd party plugins. Particularly if the scope is not 100% in line with specific plugins that are available. For images, we will assume that it takes 3 hours to find all of the suitable images needed for the new website.

8. Testing and Deployment

Testing and deployment are important to get it done thoroughly. Looking for simple mistakes and issues does take time. Making sure that there is nothing overlooked from a design and development standpoint, can ensure when you as the client see the website, you are not disappointed. The average time for this can be 5-10 hours by itself.

9. Project Management and Communications

This is one area that will vary from customer to customer. While most companies will try to keep communication to a minimum, or in a lot of cases, zero during development phases. It is not due to them not wanting to communicate, it is purely about getting through the work. If there are questions or queries, then yes, typically emails or messages through project management systems will flow through. Project management and general communications, is going to take anywhere between 4 and 10 hours for each client during the entire process.

Wow, when you look at this information it is impressive to see where time really goes. When you put all of these numbers together, it is very easy to see why a website is built correctly, does take a fair bit of time. Based on the information we have presented in the above example, there are approximately 139 hours. We still have not catered for training, consultation on different functions or feedback on the initial website build. Even based on this information alone, it is a very time-consuming task to build a website properly.


What About The Capital Side Of Things!


How Much Cash Is This Going To Cost?

Now for the financial obligation side of things. For your digital media agency to stay afloat for the long term, they all have costs. In the example we have used above, to avoid cutting corners, and to assume we are not all ‘Jack of all trades’ people. It is really going to require at least 4-6 people to work on this project. From all of this information you can quickly see that even based on $6,500 as a starting point, the project hourly rate is approximately $46.76. This is a very low rate for a digital media agency. Most agencies try to get at least double that per hour. Stiff competition in the marketplace prevents them from achieving this a lot of the time. The biggest issue is because competitors trying to break into the market are charging a quarter of the price.

How Valuable Is Your Website?

The success of your website should really be seen as being tied to the level of success in your business. Doing extensive research on potential website designers, and planning your website in detail adds value to the project. It also helps us decide on who is going to work on your website a lot easier. If your website portraits your brand well, explains exactly what your brand does and people resonate with its message, then your site will convert.

For some business owners, it is not going to make them money and is more of an afterthought. For the serious players who want to be relevant in the future, they will place huge value on a well-built website that converts well. The most valuable thing about your website is its reach. It will reach your market globally once it gets recognition and promoted.

If you have got any questions about Professional Web Design Costs for your business specifically, contact Suncoast Web Solutions today!


Are You Looking For A Series Of Good Questions To Ask Your Website Designer? Here Are Some Questions You Should Probably Ask:

  1. ✅ What kind of research will you do in my business?

    Good branding and website design require not only research on your business. It also requires research on your industry. A digital agency or even an experienced website designer will spend a few hours researching your marketplace.

  2. ✅ Do you have a portfolio you can share with us?

    One of the most important things you need to do when hiring a website designer is to ask them for a portfolio of past work. If their work looks similar across the board then you need to find out why this is the case. Ask the question, “are you using pre-existing themes?”

  3. ✅ Is there a particular market you specialise in?

    Some website designers like to target a particular market as it suits their style of doing business. Others, want to be great in a specific industry. Asking this can act as a double-edged sword for some business owners. It means that they are also working for your competitors. Loyalties can then come down to who has the deepest pocket.

  4. ✅ Do you offer other services outside of website design?

    Single or dual operator website design businesses may offer a couple of services but the important one outside of website design is Internet Marketing. If they don’t then you may want to reconsider the company or individual in question.

  5. ✅ Will I have access to a project manager?

    While this specific question is going to go either with a yes or no, working with a project manager can be better than working with the developer or designer directly. There is a central point of contact. This means that a good understanding of your business and project can be formed.

  6. ✅ What is your website design and development process?

    This can be a great prequalified for you. If the response seems jumbled, chances are there is no real structure. If there is talk of a project management system and a set process then you are on to a winner in the processes side of things. Most smaller organisations won’t have any of these things in place.

  7. ✅ What do you need from me before we start on the project?

    Asking this question up front will hopefully set expectations of what is needed from you. Some will not say much. This is generally not a great sign. The more they expect or the more specific the list, the better.

  8. ✅ With your websites, do you custom build your sites and their designs or do you use website templates?

    To get a better quality site, the website designer should be custom-designing the site template. If you are on a budget, ask a bit more about the templates. A lot of them are under $100AUD and have 12-month support agreements. This means you are up for more money each year as an ongoing. It can also be a great target from a hacking standpoint. If it is a custom-designed site it does mean there is some added security in place, due to only a limited number of people seeing the actual code running the site.

  9. ✅ Do you follow SEO Best Practices when building and designing the website?

    Most website designers will leverage what comes with the content management system they use. Most of the market-leading systems are quite good with being Search Engine Friendly these days. The let down is usually what the designer and developer know is best practices. If they have team members that are SEO experts then confirm if they get involved with the initial development of the website. Some will, some won’t. If the reason is about ongoing marketing after site launch, then it is probably not a huge deal. Knowing where you will stand from an SEO standpoint is the important thing. In this instance, additional costs can be a great thing.

Building a website from the ground up is always going to be time-consuming. It will require a lot of patience and effort. The rewards though can be amazing, providing you are willing to work on it. Finding the right team to work on the website is one of the biggest hurdles. If you are looking for a real working solution then avoid the buy now, pay later (and we mean really pay later) solutions. They are not the way for you to go. If you have no issue with spending money on getting a quality website design and ongoing marketing (SEO or Pay Per Click/Adwords) then the things covered in this article will help you get to where you want to go.

If you are just starting, don’t have a big budget, save yourself some cash. Consider building up a social media presence first. If you are really wanting a website but don’t have the budget at all,  consider a cheaper website option, like Wix or Shopify. Once you have got a few sales and can justify the expense then consider looking to Hire Professional Website Designers like us.


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