How to choose the right web designer for chartered surveyors
02 October, 2012 | Web design
So you’ve finally woken up to the fact that your website needs changing. Its out of date, old fashioned, lacks functionality and can’t be found on a Google search for Chartered Surveyors or Commercial Agents in your area. You need to find a website designer or agency then, so what should you be look for in your future design partner.
Well here are some quick tips for finding the right website designer.
1. Use A Property Specialist
There are literally thousands of web designers, website agencies, design studios and full service agencies out there. All could build a website for you, but would it be right for the commercial property sector?
So you need a web design resource that understands the nature of the commercial property market and the behaviour of vendors, tenants, buyers, investors and developer. Particularly when they are online. Websites built by commercial property specialist are:
- Often cheaper
- Provide more for your money
- Have high levels of functionality
- Built and online quicker (as little as 6 weeks)
- Rich in user experiences tailored to the property sector
- Tried and tested - the bugs have been fixed over years of experience
2. You Really Do Get What You Pay For
What looks like a good cheap deal to start with, could cost you in the long run.
Often website designers say that your website is “fully optimised” but as you’ll see later, that's not the on-going support you need. What about 6 months down the line when you want to make some changes? Designers can charge anything from £40 to £100 per hour.
What if you’re simply having trouble and want some advice, will you be charged?
3. On Going Management
On a similar point, you really need a website that is CMS based. A CMS or Content Management System is a user interface that allows you to take day-to-day control of your website. This could be updating copy, adding pictures, floorplans, video or even extra pages.
Without a CMS you are at risk from those on-going designer fees.
4. Will They Get Your Website Seen?
Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO is what will get you ahead of your competitors. It is what ensures prospective clients see you first. SEO is intrinsically linked with website design and don’t let anyone tell you differently. SEO dictates the design, architecture and content of your website. So look at the small print, as on-going SEO may not be included.
You need on-going SEO because your market, competitors, audience and search engine algorithms are constantly changing. The greatest website in the world is useless if no one ever finds it.
Website designers that specialise in the commercial property sector will have the expertise to design and structure content that attracts Google. Ultimately ranking you higher than your RICS competition.
5. The Cost and Paying For It
A great website can be a Chartered Surveyor or Commercial Agents greatest marketing asset. But it’s a depreciating asset because technology moves on. What was “bleeding-edge” today could be obsolete in 12 months.
A designer without knowledge of the property sector will expect you to pay up when the site goes live. £10k, £15k or £20k for a website that will be obsolete in 2 years.
But a number of commercial property specialists charge small initial fees, with an on-going retainer. The retainer will cover things like user support, SEO and most importantly, future upgrades as new technology is developed.
By Philip Burrows, Marketing Consultant