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If you own or are thinking of starting a small business, you probably already know just how important it is to have a strong internet presence. There are a few key components to developing an online business persona, starting with the website. As a new or small business, it’s critical that you have an eye-catching, user-friendly, and informative website that can be easily found through search engines and has a memorable URL. Although this sounds like an easy enough formula to follow, there’s more to creating an effective website than meets the eye. In order for your website to sell your product or service effectively, it needs, above all, to be unique and memorable, and it’s difficult to define just what gives a website these characteristics. Often, the final product in the web design process reflects the designer’s personal preferences more than the personality of the business itself. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to avoid this unfortunate outcome.

Why Hire a Professional Web Designer?

If you are serious about building or growing your business by creating an internet presence, your first thought will probably be to hire a professional web designer to create the website for you. Most professional web designers have strong opinions about what business sites should and should not include, and although a contracted designer will adhere to your vision for your website as much as she or he can, you should also expect to receive lots of advice and suggestions from someone who would also like to retain as much creative freedom as possible. In many cases, this is a good thing, because professionals know the industry and, assuming you’ve selected a designer who has a nice portfolio, will be able to impart a creative spark into the project that might be lacking otherwise. There are plenty of do-it-yourself web design applications out there, but, more likely than not, they’ll only be able to churn out cookie-cutter websites that lack that human touch.

User-Friendly Web Design

Working with a professional web designer has its drawbacks, of course. As with any technical project, there is a danger that the designer, who has the knowledge and expertise necessary to complete the project, will use that knowledge and expertise to put one over on her or his client. Whether knowingly or not, many web designers end up creating future employment for themselves by designing something in so technical and specialized a way that, if anything goes wrong, the client will be unable to fix the problem. Business owners are focused on having a website that is user-friendly from the point of view of customers, but they often overlook user-friendliness that takes the website owner into account. Therefore, you will be doing yourself a favor if you choose a web designer who expresses a willingness to code a website in such a way that you can maintain it and make small updates yourself. Not only will this save you time and money down the road, but it will encourage the designer to do a better job the first time around.

Design that’s Uniquely You

Another potential pitfall when working with a professional web designer is ending up with a product that doesn’t reflect the unique persona of your business. If your customers visit your website and don’t feel that they trust and understand your company and how it beats the competition, they probably won’t make a purchase from your website. It’s important that your website design reflects your business. Ideally, part of a professional web designer’s job is to ensure that this happens, but since the designer is not personally invested in the success of your company, you can’t trust this crucial aspect solely to her or him. So, how can you make sure that you end up with something that really works to increase your business?

Know What You Want

The most important part of making sure your website is unique to you is to know what you want ahead of time. The more specific information you can give a professional designer, the better. Some designers may be unhappy with what they perceive as a lack of creative freedom, but when it comes to your business, your ideas are more important. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept suggestions from your designer; if you’ve chosen the designer wisely, she or he ought to have some good information that can make for fruitful collaboration. But the more solid the foundation when you start, the more solid the final product, as well.

Get to Know Your Designer

If it’s possible, try to choose a web designer that you know personally. If you don’t know anyone skilled in web design for e-commerce, choose a freelancer or member of a firm with a portfolio that closely matches what you have in mind for your business, and allow enough time for the person you hire to get to know you and your business. This will ensure that you’re working with someone who understands your needs and can deliver a lucrative product. Above all, it’s your business, so trust your instinct when it comes to developing your internet presence. One more thing: having an effective website is crucial to e-commerce success, so don’t take this process lightly.

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