How to Start a Web Design and Web Development Company
When you are launching your web design firm or web development company – it could also be a web design and development company – it is important to have a business plan in place. A business plan outlines what services you will be offering, how they will be offered, on what scale, and how you will be compensated for your services.
Here are some things that you need to pay closer attention to when putting together your business plan.
It is likely that you will have to meet clients or other stakeholders at some point or the other. Having a neat office space that is well furnished will ensure that your clients are impressed by what you do. They love to deal with those who take their work seriously.
Even if it is a home office, choose a corner where you won’t be disturbed during virtual meetings. If you can get a whole room to yourself, that would be ideal. You might even be able to have your own dedicated entry / access door if you are willing to invest in the renovation work associated with a ground floor room.
It goes without saying that you will need good quality hardware if you are setting up your web design firm or web development company. Buy the best you can afford, because good hardware can last longer and is thus more reliable.
When it comes to software, you probably know what you need, but in case you are just starting out in the field, look at free 30-day trials of cloud software for yourself and your staff. Monthly subscriptions are easier, because any time you feel the software isn’t working out for you, you can make the change to another software.
It is important that you have a good internet connection. Many people make the mistake of relying on just one connection, so when there is an internet outage, they are left stranded. Have two connections in place – one as your primary internet connection, and the other as your secondary internet connection.
On that note, it is also imperative to have a contingency plan in case your web design firm or web development company loses its data. Backing up data to a cloud storage service provider like Google Drive or Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive is strongly recommended. Plus, it makes sharing of files easier when you have a team of web designers and/or web developers.
Before you start offering your services, you need to think out thoroughly how the intended workflow will be. You could decide to accept an advance, and then bill your clients at the completion of milestones that will be agreed upon at the time of signing the contract. For instance, you could estimate how much time design would taken and include in the wording of your contract that upon completion of the design process or a number of hours, part payment calculated on the number of hours would be due to you.
Then there is the web development process, and also testing later, so you need to figure out everything.
Sometimes, clients are not happy with something and may ask you to change it. This is where the planning goes out the window. If you spend 30 hours on designing a website and they ask you change the design, then it is important that you protect yourself.
With experience, your web design firm or web development company will come to know how much time a particular website of similar size and nature takes to design. You can word your contract so that the advance covers the work done during the design phase, so if you have to discard it, you will already have been compensated for your work. Some web development firms charge on this principle, taking an advance ahead of the work to be done, while others who can afford legal assistance choose to bill their clients upon completion of each phase of the project.
You can always draw a basic contract template based upon what you find online, but it would be best if you consulted a lawyer, because he/she can always tell of you possible pitfalls that may not have yet crossed your mind. A well-worded contract always sets the right expectations from either party, and so minimizes the chances of disappointment later. Remember, one bad review can cost you future clients, so the wording of the contract is important.
This is about making it official. Local laws vary widely by area, so check what rules govern the setting up of a business. You may need to get tax registration separately for payment of local or state taxes; or it could be sales / service taxes. In some countries, web design is classified as a service, but web development may classified as the sale of software. So it is important to get this part right – you don’t want to fall afoul of the law.
If you are unsure of where and how to start, check around. There may be company formation experts in your area (in some places, this is handled by lawyers) or paralegals who do everything for you. Sometimes, a CPA can advise you on setting up your business. Whatever be their nomenclature, they can also run a search and see if your proposed name has been adopted by another organization.
Now that you have officially registered your web design firm or web development company, it is time to hire staff. Depending on your premises, you can recruit front office personnel to greet visitors, web designers and/or web developers depending on your proposed range of services, User Experience or UX experts, testing professionals, and marketing staff.
Of course, you can always do away with the receptionist and save costs if you don’t intend to have a desk at the point of entry or the marketing professionals if you plan to get business by way of digital marketing. In that case, you could hire an in-house digital marketer, or outsource it to someone or a digital marketing firm that is experienced in this field. You could even choose to have a team of remote workers. Or none at all if you are planning to go it solo.
Whatever be the case, it is good to have a network of professionals that can be counted upon. For example, if you land a large project which also requires Search Engine Optimization and you don’t have an SEO expert on board, it helps if you have cultivated relationships with those who have mastered the art of SEO. Or copywriters if the project also entails some great, compelling copy and engaging content that will keep visitors on the website.
You can build your own website now that you have a team of professionals, or do it yourself; or even rely on your network of connections to get the job done, but it would be unwise to leave out social media. About half of the world’s population – some 4.20 billion – are social media users, and you miss out on a very vital demographic if you choose not to be on social media. And approximately 4.15 billion access social media on their mobile phones, so your social media content must be mobile-friendly as well.
If you are hiring a social media professional to be a part of your team, he/she can take care of everything for you. Otherwise you can entrust it to someone in your network if you cannot do it yourself. This is a full-time job, requiring you to not only post content periodically, but also monitor comments and respond to messages. Plus promoting your own page for better reach – that is how you get the word out about your web design firm and/or web development company.
By making use of unique and intriguing content, you can set yourself apart from other web development firms in the market.
And with that, you are ready to be in business.
You could choose to attract clients through search engines – like say, when someone searches for web design firms, your listing could be at the top of the search rankings, albeit a paid one. This is called Search Engine Marketing or SEM.
You could choose to be listed in local business directories for web development firms, or you could indulge in paid advertising on social media. With social media, you can now specify who you want your ads to be seen by. This is a very targeted approach and saves you a lot of money in the process.
Or you could purchase a mailing list and send out cold emails to prospects who are likely to be interested in your web design and/or web development services. There is the possibility that some are not interested now, but will be at a later stage. With Client Relationship Management or CRM software, you can keep track of your leads and close business deals in time.
When you have completed a business contract and delivered a design or website, always ask for feedback. Maybe there was something that could have been improved upon, such as better communication during the design / development process. Make a note of it, thank them, and see if their suggestions can be incorporated into your business.
Ask to be reviewed on social media or against the listing of your business establishment on Google Maps. There is no harm in doing this, especially if you have delivered to the client’s satisfaction, and one positive review alone could result in much more business. The danger of a negative review always exists, but by responding to the client’s concerns and seeing what you could do to resolve the unsatisfactory experience, the chance of a dissatisfied client upgrading his/her review also exists.
Your web design firm or web development company needn’t be scared of negative reviews. People are inherently good and by sticking to the terms and conditions of your contract, you can expect positive reviews if you have gone out of your way to deliver a stellar experience. Client retention is also a part of business – an extremely satisfied customer is likely to return when he/she needs your services again in the future. Or recommend you to someone he/she knows. Both are equally good for business.
If you ever land or talk about a contract which you can’t handle on your own, such as something requiring the use of a technology that you do not have experience in, consider outsourcing it to a team of professionals. Even if it is something relatively minor like SEO, SEM, Social Media, Analytics, or Email Marketing, consider HelloPixels, which is based in Abu Dhabi and has offices in Dubai as well throughout the United Arab Emirates.
When the rest of the world has been witnessing a fall in sales, HelloPixels is able to spot the opportunity that lies within. People spending more time indoors also means they are likely to spend more time online. With the right positioning of clients’ brand identities, Hello Pixels has been able to increase user engagement with the help of fresh, innovative designs.
HelloPixels is ranked among the Top B2B Web Development Companies in the world and currently has an enviable client satisfaction rate of 98%. HelloPixels has also been included among the Top SEO Companies in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the Best Ecommerce Development Companies in the Middle East. With a 50+ team that includes UX designers, web developers, copywriters, and testing professionals, Hello Pixels believes in always striving for excellence in all that it does.