Which Are Our Best Website Designers In The UK?
Winter 2019 Review
The UK is home to thousands of web design agencies, with London widely regarded as Europe’s answer to Silicon Valley. So we’ve reviewed the leading agencies across the country, and published our findings that show our best affiliated web designers in the country as a whole.
How To Find The Best Team To Work With?
The UK is filled with website designers. In London alone, there are several hundred agencies 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 business, 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 Does Your Website Need to Achieve for You?
First and foremost, you need to know what you want your website to achieve. Your website should have its own dedicated section in your business plan. It really is that important. Outlining your goals and objectives is vital to having a website that spearheads the success of your business.
You have to know these things before you begin the process of selecting a web designer. If you don’t know what your website needs to do for you, then you’re going to end up with a website that doesn’t really help your business at all.
Part of outlining your goals and objectives is to narrow down your target audience (or customer persona). What does your website need to look like or do in order to appeal to them? What do you want them to do once they’re on your site?
Do you need your website to showcase your services? Do you need your customers to be able to interact with you via chat? Is the goal of your website to sell products in an e-commerce shop?
All of these questions are ones that you need to consider. Ultimately, the goal of your website should be to reach your target audience in the most effective way, communicate what you can offer, and encourage sales. Knowing the specific details within these broader categories helps you to discuss with your web designer the features that your website needs.
Web designers need to know your goals in order to advise the best means of achieving them. Sometimes, you might have ideas for your website that your designer doesn’t think will work well in achieving your goals. Being open to expert advice is important.
What Kind of Return on Investment Can You Expect?
Within the realm of website design, you’ll find a huge range of agencies with wildly varying pricing structures. Premium services generally attract a much higher price tag – but can often offer a good ROI in the long run. Other agencies charge bargain basement prices that may seem too good to be true.
When it comes to a return on investment, you’ve got to weigh up whether the lowest prices are going to give you great returns. Often, they’re not. That old adage applies – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful of going for the lowest prices – it may cost you in revenue further down the line. Do your research before going for the lowest prices.
What you need to realise is that your website is an investment in the future of your business. You need a website that’s going to look professional, inspire trust, and generate sales. It’s worth paying more for a web designer who can deliver these things. The initial outlay will be worth it when you consider the increased revenue further down the line.
Premium services often include search engine optimisation (SEO), analytics and hosting. When you consider how much these would cost separately, you can start to see the value of investing in a high-quality web designer rather than a bargain basement offer. You can’t afford to cut corners with your web design package if you want your business to succeed online.
Looking at ROI means considering the future benefits of what you’re paying out. What can a web design agency offer you that will be beneficial for your website and your revenue? Things like SEO and analytics might seem like luxuries that just add to the cost – but you need them. They’re not luxuries, but rather essentials that you need for your overall success.
Analytics helps you to understand where your traffic is coming from and what your visitors are doing on your website. Without this kind of information, you can’t make changes to improve things like bounce rate and cart abandonment. Similarly, SEO ensures that your audience find your website in the first place. You can’t build a business online without it.
There are some features that you may think you need, however, that aren’t necessarily going to be a good investment. Mobile apps with lots of bells and whistles might seem like a great idea – but if you’re just starting out, do you really need it? You have to question whether it’s going to increase your profits or not. It’s better to focus on the features that will give you a good ROI from the outset, rather than wasting money on things that aren’t going to boost your business – yet.
Be aware that making big savings in the short term can mean big outlays in the future. The last thing you want is to have to start again with a new web designer when your initial choice builds a website that doesn’t give you a good ROI!
Identifying & Enhancing Your Brand Image?
The way that your website looks is going to be important to your visitors – therefore, it needs to be important to you. Your website is the equivalent of a shop window on the high street. It has to be visually appealing to your visitors. When a person clicks a link to your site, you have a very short period of time in which to make a good impression.
In fact, some claim that it only takes 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for someone to decide whether they like the look of your website. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration – including structure, colours, spacing, typography, and amount of text. When embarking on your website development, you should have a clear idea of how you want to create visual appeal.
Some of the things that you need to think about are:
Your logo – what do you want your logo to convey to your visitor? Professionalism? Playfulness? Passion? It depends on your business and your target audience. You’ll need a web design agency who can design the perfect logo for your branding.
Colour scheme – what are your brand colours? How will they work together to be visually appealing and engaging for your users? Different colours create different impressions. Therefore, it can help to understand some elements of colour psychology. For example, yellow is associated with optimism; blue inspires trust; green is peaceful; orange is friendly. What message are you trying to convey, and how can your colour scheme achieve that for you?
Images – how are you going to use images on your website? There’s a growing trend for bigger, bolder images on websites to create a stunning first impression and grab attention.
Layout and navigation – do you want something minimalistic or more complex? Minimalistic sites are more popular, but it all depends on your business and your users.
Image is about more than just visual appeal, however. Your brand image is what makes you stand out amongst your competitors. Consistency in terms of logo, colour scheme and typography not only on your website but across social media and marketing is important. It inspires trust in your business and increases authority in Google’s eyes.
The image that your website conveys to your visitors is a representation of your business. Having a strong online brand is important to boost your business’ profile and credibility. Whilst you need to have a clear idea of the image you want to convey, you need an experienced web designer to bring it to reality.
The best web designer for your business will be one who’s skilled in taking your vision and making it happen. You want to find a designer who understands the importance of visual appeal and brand building. Like we’ve said before, not all web designers are equal. It’s a good idea to take a look at designers’ previous work to see whether they can create the image you want.
How Are You Going to Give a Great User Experience (UX)?
More so than ever before, giving a great user experience (UX) is a vital part of the success of your website. Get this one wrong, and you’re going to lose out. You need to consider UX before you contact a single web designer. You need to understand the ingredients of a positive UX and have some idea about how you’re going to create it.
Firstly, you need to consider who your users are. Of course, you’ve already looked at your target audience, so this should be easy, right? Well, yes and no. When you’re starting out, it makes sense to focus on prospective customers, for example. That will work fine – to start with. But your website is going to be around for a long time (hopefully), so you need to think ahead, too.
A big mistake start-ups make is that they focus their UX on appealing to new customers. They haven’t got existing customers, so it seems like a good approach. Doing that, however, means that when you have generated sales and earned loyal customers, you have a problem.
Your site focuses solely on new customers, leaving loyal customers with a less positive UX. When considering your UX, you need to think beyond the first few months of your website. Think about all the possible users of your site and list them.
You can’t appeal to all possible users of your site, so you need to decide on some priorities. You might want to select your primary and secondary priorities and build your UX around both of these. It widens the net and is better for your business in the long run. You’ll need to be able to convey your UX priorities to your web designer so that they can build your site around these.
How your UX is build will depend on your business, but most web designers have a UX expert on hand who knows how to put together your site for the best UX. They have the experience needed to create a site that has the right balance in layout, navigation and content.
Users, regardless of age, gender and other demographic considerations, want a site that’s easy to use. Usability isn’t the whole of UX, but it’s a huge part. When considering usability, you need to think in terms of streamlining your website. Make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for.
UX encompasses such a lot of elements, it can seem overwhelming when you’re still in the development stage. It’s important that you find a web designer who has experience in creating sites that deliver the kind of UX that’s best for your business. From structure to navigation, typography to accessibility, they can build the right elements into your web design from the outset.
It’s important that you get the UX right from the start, so invest time in researching what your competitors are doing. This can give valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t.
What Kind of Content Do Your Target Audience Want?
Back in 1996, Bill Gates famously declared that content would be the biggest source of income online. He was right – but it takes a certain kind of content to convert visitors into customers. You can have a flashy, visually appealing site that gives a great user experience – but if the content isn’t right, you’re going to lose out. The majority of web design agencies have an in-house copywriting service that can range from complete content creation to simple proofreading.
Content includes text, images and videos, and the way that these are combined creates the user experience. Whatever the type of content, it has to be engaging. Long paragraphs of unbroken text can be daunting – especially on mobile devices. Simply breaking up the text can have a big impact.
Using titles and headings is another great way of improving engagement level. These act like signposts so that visitors know what the content is about in that section. Using short, punchy headings can also grab attention – and increase the likelihood of continuing to read.
Another content element that you need to think about is called ‘call to action’. These don’t just appear on the page. Calls to action are used in the snippets that shows up in search engine results. Don’t forget about these! They help your target audience to decide whether to visit your site – so you have to understand what makes your target audience tick.
Web designers know how to place text, images and videos for maximum engagement. They’re also experts in making sure that your search result snippet is going to attract the right people onto your site. Working with a web designer to get the content right on your website is really important. They have the experience in creating content that converts, so capitalise on their experience.
It’s vital that your content is tailored to your target audience. To target effectively, you need to understand them inside and out. What problem do they have that your product or service can solve? What kind of language do they use and respond well to? What sorts of images are going to be the most appealing?
Other aspects of target audience tailoring involve thinking about where your targets are located. If you’re catering to a mostly British audience, then it’s fine to use British spelling, cultural references and current events. If you’re wanting to reach a more global audience, however, you need to be more careful about your content.
If your audience isn’t going to understand British cultural references, then don’t use them. It can be more difficult to create content for a global audience, so asking the advice of your web designer is important. Market research can help to understand your global audience better, too. Ask for a non-Brit’s perspective about your content so that you can make the changes that will increase engagement and conversion from your foreign visitors.
What’s Your Strategy For The Future?
Don’t allow yourself to fall into a false sense of security about your website. Many people assume that once their website is launched, that’s it – they can just let it do its job and watch the profits roll in. If you thought that, then you’re in for a shock.
Your website strategy doesn’t end with the launch of your site. In fact, that’s really just the beginning. You need to have a plan to keep adding valuable and regular content to your website. You also need to plan for digital marketing so that people can find your website in the first place! It’s important to have this plan in place before your site goes live – make it part of your business plan.
What kinds of content does your audience value? What marketing strategy is going to work best for your business? How frequently do you need to add content to your site? These questions are just the start of a good strategy for your website. You need to know the answers before your website is built, so that your site can be set up in the best way.
Take an e-commerce site, for example. You’re going to need to be able to add new products when they’re launched. The ability to do that in the easiest possible way needs to be built into the architecture of your website.
Other considerations might be how frequently you have discounts and sales, and whether your prices are going to change. Make sure that you’re clear with your web designer about what kind of features you need. It can be expensive if you decide later that you need them, and your site has to be redeveloped.
It’s not just e-commerce sites that need to have a strategy, however. Whatever your business, you need to keep adding regular content – such as blog posts, for example. Most websites will have a blog feature, but it’s best to be clear about this. You’ll also need to decide whether you want to handle writing and posting blogs yourself or if you’d rather pass that on to a copywriter. If you’re doing it yourself, your web designer will be able to give you a tutorial on how to do that – as long as you ask.
When it comes to digital marketing strategy, most web design agencies will be able to help. It can be bewildering trying to figure out how to market effectively, so it’s a good idea to choose a web designer that offer this. Digital marketing is crucial for driving traffic to your website and increasing sales, so have a plan before your site goes live.
If you want to handle your digital marketing yourself, you’ll need a comprehensive strategy in place. Research your competitors, assess their tactics, and know in advance the types of content you’re going to need for your strategy. This is one thing that cannot be left to the last minute – not if you want your business to succeed, anyway.
The Importance of A Website Built With SEO In Mind
Search Engine Optimisation is crucial to your success as a business operating online. SEO is the means by which your site conforms to rules (algorithms) that Google and other search engines use when displaying search results. Since you want people to be able to find your site easily, SEO can’t be ignored.
You really can’t afford to have a poorly optimised website. When you’re considering what to look for in a web designer, SEO is one thing you need to investigate well.
The majority of web design agencies will offer SEO-friendly websites ‘as standard’. However, you shouldn’t take these claims at face value. There’s often a difference in what agencies class as ‘standard’. You want a web designer that gives you the best possible SEO as part of their service.
Not all web designers are created equal, so when you’re in the consideration stage, it helps to understand what you’re looking for in terms of SEO. This can help you identify the better-quality web designers in terms of SEO site development.
The things that you should be looking for in terms of SEO from your web designer include keyword optimisation, mobile-first optimisation, technical SEO, backlinks, on-page optimisation, and analytics.
Keyword research enables you to understand the keywords your competitors are targeting. It also identifies areas that you can capitalise on. Mobile-first optimisation is all about making your website accessible for people using mobile devices – smartphones and tablets. With more traffic coming from smartphones than desktops, you can’t afford for your site not be mobile optimised.
Technical SEO involves all the behind-the-scenes aspects of optimisation. It takes an SEO expert to maximise the effectiveness of technical SEO. On-page optimisation is exactly what it sounds like. Backlinks are a means of increasing your site’s authority in Google’s eyes. Finally, analytics give you insights that can improve your overall site strategy.
A good web designer will be up to date with all the latest trends and changes in Google’s algorithms. Google are always changing the goal-posts, complicating SEO. It is possible to handle your own SEO, but to do that you need to have a comprehensive grasp of all the techniques.
It’s worth paying more for a web designer who has a good reputation for effective SEO strategy. SEO complicated and for the success of your business, you want someone with top-class SEO skills.
Without an effective SEO strategy, your business will suffer. Poor SEO techniques are actually more damaging than having no SEO at all. For example, cutting corners when it comes to backlinks can lead to what’s known as ’spammy backlinks’. Google will penalise you for those.
Effective SEO aims to increase your Google ranking. In search results, page one is where you really want your site to be. To get there, you need a really solid SEO strategy executed by an expert. You need to remember how important ranking is going to be for your business when selecting your web designer. Be certain they can optimise your site fully.
What Do You Want Your Visitors To Do on Your Site?
Putting your business online is all about reaching customers who want to buy your products or services. The process of getting your visitors to complete checkout is called conversion. There are other types of site conversion to think about, too, such as getting people to sign up to your mailing list.
Ultimately, when embarking on a website development project, you need to think about what you want your visitors to do whilst on your site. You’ll need to be able to convey this to your web designer so that they can incorporate your conversion goals into your design.
For your business success online, a website that is optimised for conversions is necessary. A common misconception regarding conversion optimisation is that it’s just a matter of putting big ‘add to cart’ or ‘buy now’ or ‘sign up’ button on the page. A good web designer, however, knows that there’s so much more to conversions than that. They’ll know all the crucial aspects beyond the buy now button.
Those kinds of ‘calls to action’ are a foundational part of conversion optimisation, but to get ahead of your competition, there’s more to consider. You need a website designer who also knows how to balance sales copy with other content that your users will find valuable. This will reassure your visitors that you care about them, rather than just wanting to get them to buy something. That’s important – people hate websites that are all about sales!
Every page of your website should have some kind of conversion goal. Conversion goals can include filling in a form, signing up to a mailing list, registering interest, creating an account, completing checkout, or clicking a link to get more information. When you’re planning your website, you need to bear this in mind. Work with your web designer to create the right strategy. Find a web designer who understands the importance of conversion optimisation.
One important aspect of conversion optimisation that you need to understand is that of making it easy for your visitor. Don’t present them with multiple options. Therefore, you need to have a single conversion goal that each page guides your potential customer towards.
Be clear about what your conversion goals are for your business. It can be helpful to do some market research into your competitors’ strategies. How are they maximising their conversions? Look at things like calls to action, content placement, and how they use layout to increase conversions.
You should do similar research regarding your potential web designer. Find out what experience they have with conversion optimisation. Look at their portfolio to see their work in action. It’s important that you’re able to work with a designer who has the skills necessary to make your website a success. Without conversion optimisation, your business is going to struggle. Knowing what you’re looking for can help you avoid a second-rate web designer.
How Will Your Customers Know They Can Trust You?
Buying a product or service online often feels like a bit of a lottery. How can you be completely sure that the company that you’re buying from is trustworthy? This is the question at the forefront of most website visitor’s mind. Your website can, however, convince visitors that you can be trusted – as long as your designer understands the principles of building trust.
This is one area that you can’t afford to compromise. If your visitors don’t trust you, they won’t stick around on your website. What’s more, they’ll find someone else whose website creates greater levels of trust. So, what do you need to do in order to build trust?
Social proof plays a big role in building trust, and you should plan to have prominent testimonials and reviews on your website as part of this strategy. A good designer will be able to build this into your site’s structure in a way that reassures your customers about your business. Even if you don’t have testimonials yet, you will in the future, so a testimonials section should be part of the design from the start.
If you’re going to be selling your products or services using an e-commerce feature, your website will need to have an SSL certificate (which allows your site to have the padlock symbol in the address bar). Many web designers include SSL certificates in their packages – but not all SSL certificates are equal, so make sure what you’re getting will reassure your customers. You should also ask about having a security seal on your site to ensure that your customers know it’s secure and safe.
The quality of your design is also important in building trust. A well-designed website suggests that you’ve made an investment into your business. Poorly designed websites give the opposite impression. You can see why it’s important to invest in a high-quality web designer if you want your customers to have trust in you.
Another means of building trust through your website is to have a repository of useful information. This might be web pages or downloadable content. Offering free information has been recognised as a means of instantly creating trust. It means you’re not just interested in the sale and want to give your customers value. You can create this content yourself or look for a web designer who has in-house content writing services who can craft high-quality content.
If you have a membership product, you might want to think about offering a free trial to develop trust. Being willing to offer something that comes with no risk to your clients conveys your confidence in your product. Of course, you need a website designer who can build a website with membership functionality and enable the free trial option.
Alternatively, offering a money-back guarantee can inspire trust. Work with your web designer to build this kind of functionality into your website and make the process as simple as possible for your users.
The Benefits Of a High-Quality Website That Stands Out
Your website is a big part of your business, so you want to get it right first time. A high-quality website gives you a strong online presence that will boost your sales and revenue. If your site isn’t well designed, however, you risk giving the wrong impression about your business.
There are several reasons why you need to think carefully before choosing a web designer. A website is an opportunity to reach whole new pools of consumers. Many people spend a considerable amount of time online every day.
Whilst the internet is a competitive marketplace, there are many opportunities for you to increase your reach. A website needs to make you stand out. The best web designer for your business will be one who understands your vision and can make it come to life.
A strong online presence and consistent branding can be a huge boost for your business. Your brand is what’s going to get you noticed through your marketing. Many web designers have teams that have all the skills needed to build the best possible brand presence online. They can often also handle your digital marketing, ensuring that there’s consistency across your website, ads and social media.
You need a web designer who can help you to build a strong reputation through your website. Not all web designers have the ability to do this, and because your reputation is important, you’ll need to choose carefully. Evaluate what each web designer is able to offer you in terms of value for your business.
Over a billion people access the internet every day, so the online market for your business is of huge importance. In the past, you could run a business without an online presence, but to reach the biggest audience, you have to have a high-quality website. The more people who are aware of your business, the higher the likelihood of sales. Additionally, the better the experience your visitors have on your website, the more likely they are to recommend your business to their friends.
Being visible online is about creating a good impression in terms of your website’s visual appeal and content. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. That’s why you need to be sure that the web designer that you choose can create the kind of website that best represents your business.
Visibility can work both ways – it can be good, and it can be bad. By using a top-class web designer, you can avoid the risk of a website that does more harm to your business than good. When choosing your web designer, ask yourself what impression you want to create, and if the agency can create it for you.
WHAT DO OTHER BUSINESSES THINK ABOUT OUR WEBSITE?
From late January 2018 you can read what other businesses think of our website.