Web design in Bradford a guide for smaller service businesses.
Web designers in Bradford are plenty, but it’s good to know what you’re talking about before you contact one, so you can have a more equal conversation.
This is a web design guide for smaller service businesses in Bradford.
Most website advice is for larger businesses with larger budgets, this guide is for smaller service businesses with modest budgets.
Web design prices for small service businesses.
Prices vary from £200 or less, to £3000 or more, to build the website.
You also need web hosting and a domain name, which adds £100 per year for cheap hosting and £300 per year for better hosting.
If you employ a professional photographer and someone to write the content for you, that’s more expense.
It’s not always true that you get what you pay for. Some poor-quality freelancers are expensive, and some good quality agencies are cheap. Shop around for the right deal.
As with all things, do your due diligence and buyer beware.
Do you need a web designer based in Bradford?
Not always, if you’re on a tight budget you’ll talk through email. Meetings cost money, so your web designer will want to keep them to a minimum.
If you use a designer in another city, make sure you can still contact them if things go sour.
Using a local business has its benefits.
Using WordPress to design your website.
Most web designers use WordPress software to build websites. They install WordPress on your web server and then use software like a word processor to build the individual pages of your website. WordPress also has a tool for building the navigation bar of your website.
Content management system.
We call WordPress a content management system (CMS) because it makes managing the content, as well as updating and maintaining your website, much easier.
WordPress is the most popular way of building a website for small service businesses.
Some website types with their market share.
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WordPress is by far the leading content management system for websites.
Content first web design.
To make the web design process simpler and more efficient, many web designers ask for some basic content before they’ll start to build your website. This greatly reduces bottle necks and holdups in the web design process.
Not getting content from clients on time is the most common reason for web design delays. To solve this problem, some web designers insist on getting the content before they’ll start.
What content do you need?
I’ve written a simple guide to help you write the most important pages on your website. You need words and images.
The main pages of a service business website are…
What is a minimum viable website?
Web designers use this term to describe the first version of your website.
A minimum viable website is a solid foundation that you add to and improve upon over time. With WordPress, it’s easy to edit, change, improve, or replace any web page. You can also add new pages, such as portfolio pages that showcase your latest jobs. You can even use WordPress to change the design or look of your entire website.
Building a website can feel overwhelming, starting with a minimum viable website can reduce that feeling of overwhelm. A minimum viable website gives you a good foundation to build your site upon. With WordPress, you can add all the new pages you need.
You don’t just need a web design; you need web hosting and a domain name. Web hosting is the web server where you place your website. Your domain name is your URL or website address such as bbc.co.uk or enterprisenation.com.
You pay web hosting and domain name fees yearly. Some hosting companies let you pay monthly.
£100 to £300 per year is the typical cost of web hosting for a small local business. Co.uk domain names cost £10 to £20 per year.
Designing your website.
Using a customisable WordPress theme is the best choice for most small service businesses. Your web designer can customise the design to suit your needs, so you get the look of a bespoke web design for a fraction of the price.
If you show your web designer three websites that you like, they can usually build you something to suit your tastes.
When I build a website for a client, I include training videos for a limited period, six months, for instance. A professional WordPress training company called WP101 makes these videos. The videos help you learn how to update and maintain your own website. If you’re a competent computer user, the WP101 videos teach you WordPress fast. So, you should soon be able to add new portfolio pages to your website as and when you complete new jobs.
Search engine optimization is hard work but not complicated. First you build a website with good quality content. Then you get trustworthy websites that are related to your industry to link to your website. A WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO helps you optimise your website content to rank higher in Google. The WP101 training videos, that I mentioned in the paragraph above, help you do this.
I include WP101 videos for a limited time with websites I build.
Why you shouldn’t spend a fortune on your first website.
If you want to update and maintain your own website, you’ll fear breaking it. The more expensive your website, the more afraid you’ll be.
If you start with a professional looking but modestly priced website, you can practise and learn as you go.
Over time, you can add portfolio pages, write blog posts, and make other improvements to your website. This builds your skill and gives you the confidence you need to maintain your own website, and adding extra content helps you rank better in Google too.
Mobile first web design.
Google favours websites that are designed to be viewed on smart phones. And many, if not most, of your site visitors will view it using a smart phone or tablet. If you design your website primarily for viewing on a laptop or desktop monitor, make sure it works just as well on smart phones. Some fancy features that work on desktop computers don’t work on smart phone.
Should you use an agency or freelancer?
If you’re on a tight budget, a freelancer is a good option. For a larger business, with a larger budget, an agency is a good choice.
An agency might have specialists in each department of design, content, marketing, photography, SEO, and social media, and more.
This means agencies have big overheads that freelancers don’t. You pay your money and take your choice.
Return on investment.
The real deal maker or deal breaker is the return on your investment. If an expensive agency website brings you more profit than it costs, go for it.
Just be aware of paying more for your website than you can recoup in extra earnings from it. On a tight budget, freelancers make sense.
Should you employ a professional photographer?
If you’ve got a big budget, professional photography is an excellent investment. On a tight budget, take your own photos. You need crisp clear photos that show customers what they’ll get if they work with you. I’ve written a full post about the images a small service business needs on their website.
Should you write your own content?
This is your business, and you know it best. So, if you employ someone to write your content, you’ll still have to provide the writer with information about your business, your customers, and the work you do. Many small service business owners write their website content themselves, and using my guide, it’s not that difficult.
I’ve written a simple guide to help you write the main pages for your website.
What content does a service business website need?
I’ve written an easy to follow guide showing small business owners how to write their own website content. If yo don’t know where to start, read this guide. It’s on my WPSidegig.com website.
My content writing guide includes…
- Full instructions.
- Example web pages.
- Copy and paste templates.
PS: Have you seen my Bradford (Marketing) Hub website yet?
It’s full of practical website and marketing tips for small service businesses in Bradford.