Having an online presence is an essential part of any business’s marketing strategy, but sometimes creating a website falls pretty far down the to-do list. Perhaps you’re among the 59 percent of Canadian small businesses that don’t have a website. With a typical Canadian spending 45 hours online per month (more than any other nation) and 63 percent of consumers saying that having a website makes a business look more credible, now is the perfect time to hire a website designer or developer to help you get going and set up an online store.
What is a website designer or developer?
The two titles bring two different skill sets to the table. As the name suggests, website designers focus on the visual design of websites and developers are more involved on the coding side, often working in collaboration with graphic designers to build sites.
Some website designers are also good coders, but this isn’t always a given since their focus is on the design aspect of the website. Many of them specialize in hosted eCommerce website builders such as WooCommerce or BigCommerce, or drag-and-drop code-free website builders like Wix and Weebly. Visit Square App Marketplace to find out more about code-free websites that work in partnership with your Square Dashboard.
Website developers (or coders) are engineers that create websites from scratch — using coding — so they can build more detailed functionalities on your website. Developers usually focus on functionality more than design, so it’s a good idea to also hire a graphic designer to create compelling visuals for your website.
How to find a website developer or designer
Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations are a great way to find a website developer or designer, but here are a couple of ways you can search for one from scratch:
- Assess websites in your industry Look at other businesses’ websites to find a style that you like, and then contact the owner to find out which developer or designer was used.
- Look for themes at the footer of websites If someone used a drag-and-drop website builder, then the name of the app and the theme will probably be on the bottom of the home page — this means that a website designer will be able to find the same theme or style for your site.
- Check local job listings Search online for local website developers and designers. Try websites such as LinkedIn, Upwork, Fiverr for budget projects, 99 Designs for graphic design and BigCommerce for certified experts.
- Ask for previous work Always ask for examples of work and present a clear brief with an expectation of the scope of work to be done. Some freelancers ask for a 50 percent deposit up front. If that’s the case, it’s important to get testimonials from other satisfied customers before making a financial commitment.
The cost of hiring a website developer or designer
Have a clear idea of what you want and what you need from your website. Do you only need a website designer to create a simple site through a drag-and-drop website builder? Or do you need a developer to fully code your site from scratch?
Website developers and designers can work remotely (so you’re not limited by geographical location), but it’s worth bearing in mind that cheaper rates can sometimes mean sacrificing the convenience of having someone local that can meet with you face to face to run through the details of your project.
Website designers and developers may offer project or hourly rates. Here’s a general idea of costs, ultimately, the only way to estimate costs is to talk to a developer or designer.
Website developer costs:
|Type of Design
||Average Hourly Rate
||One page of simple coding for a simple landing page
|CMS Code Customization
||Simple customization of your page’s Drupal or WordPress code to increase functionality
|Fully Customized Site Code
||Large project (usually for a big brand), that builds a website from code
Website designer costs:
|Type of Design
||Average Hourly Rate
||A one-page site with few elements, basic layout and UI
||Themes and designs that work directly with your CMS, such as WordPress or Drupal
||Customized, designed website with added functionality
Discuss hours needed beforehand in a creative brief or project outline that lays out exactly what you need and when you need it; expect even a small project to take at least 10 hours.
Creative briefs should also include some background about your business, target market information and any other data and visuals that will help your website builder. Here’s a [list] (https://www.canva.com/learn/effective-design-brief/) of what website designers need to know, plus a template for your own creative brief to get you started.
The benefits of hiring a website developer or designer
Having a professional online presence is an important marketing tool, whether it’s a literal shop front for an online business or a portfolio of your experience.
Website designers know how to produce eye-catching but user-friendly designs, and website developers can create customized functions for your business — from online ordering for a coffee shop to an appointment calendar for a salon, or even an animated visual for a dog-walking service.
While it’s possible to create your own drag-and-drop website, hiring a website designer takes the stress out of trying to DIY a design and gives you back valuable time to spend on other aspects of your business. Website developers can help you take your ideas for a website and turn them into a reality.
Integrating apps into your website
Square sellers can choose from a range of customizable apps that website designers and developers use to create eCommerce sites and add-ons to existing websites. You can even build your own online store using integrated apps such as Wix, Weebly, WooCommerce and BigCommerce. Make a mobile-friendly online store using GoCentral, integrate in-person and online shopping with Magento for Square or create cross-platform online stores with Ecwid. Work with a website developer or designer to use customizable eCommerce apps such as Drupal Commerce, OpenCart, 3dcart or Zen Cart, and create custom native iOS and Android apps that integrate with your Square hardware using Unbound Commerce.
Visit Square App Marketplace for more information about integrated apps that can help you or your website developer/designer create a website that works for you.
Choose the Right Online Store Platform for your Business
Questions to Ask Before you Open an Online Store