Professional web design firms hire talented web designers and collaborate with other team members to create digital strategies, information architecture, design mockups and user-experience flow charts. Their work optimizes website usability and conversion rates.
Top Web Design Companies – 2019 Web Designer Rankings & Reviews
Professional web design firms hire talented web designers and collaborate with other team members to create digital strategies, information architecture, design mockups and user-experience flow charts. Their work optimizes website usability and conversion rates.
How A Web Design Company Can Grow Your Business
Table of Contents
- Web Design Project Team Member Roles & Responsibilities
- 10 Questions To Ask A Web Design Company Before Hiring Them
- How Do Web Designers Charge For Their Work?
- 5 Ways A Top Website Design Company Improves Search Rankings & Site Traffic
- The Best Website Design Trends of 2019
- Top Elements Of The Best Website Designs
- The Best Website Design Features For A Site That Steals The Show
Web Design Project Team Member Roles & Responsibilities
The main agency team members who work on website projects are:
The first step to creating your website is to understand your brand value proposition, goals, and how you’re going to achieve them.
A digital strategist is a crucial role that helps start your project on a successful note. This senior position (who may be the most senior person on your team with the most years’ experience) understands business, usability and marketing.
A digital strategist’s job is to understand your business, value points, how you differ from the competition, and what qualities of yours appeal to customers. They then incorporate those value adds into the messaging on your website.
A digital strategist works alongside the account manager or project manager, designers, information architect, and SEO expert to determine key performance indicators (KPIs) for the website.
Account Director/Project Manager
Account directors manage your overall account from the very beginning. They are involved in every aspect of your project and heavily invest in a professional relationship with you. They often have a background in frontend design, marketing, or something else that brings additional value.
Project managers lead the technical aspects of a project. This includes tasks such as overlooking development, user flows and more. Usually, a web project manager will have a strong background in development or QA.
Some companies will give you both an account director, while others will simply give you one or the other.
A search engine optimization specialist works alongside the digital strategist, account director, project manager and other team members to ensure the content and technical layout is optimized for SEO.
Some of these tasks include:
- A properly tagged H1 on each web page in a corresponding large font.
- Determining the URL structure of the site.
An information architect is the person responsible for coming up with your user personas, sitemap and wireframing. They typically use a program called Axure to achieve this.
Information architects are particularly important because wireframes determine the structure, layout, and features of the entire website.
Usually, each wireframe will be highlighted in a specification document, which outlines how features will work.
IAs work closely with digital strategists, account directors and project managers to create the specification document. This document will include user personas, wireframes, and a detailed list of how everything will work.
User Interface Designer
Once the wireframes are complete, the project moves into the design phase. This is where a web designer – under the direction of an art director – adds colors, images, and typography, typically in Photoshop.
Once completed, UI designers will present their designs as static images to the clients. After they are approved, they move into development.
Other Team Members
After a design is approved, developers build the outward facing interface and backend in HTML and CSS. Then, QA managers test the site to ensure it works properly and system administrators ensure all website settings are correct.
Depending on your project, you could have more or fewer members on your team.
But one thing is certain – when brands hire a reputable design and development company, they gain access to a Rolodex of knowledge and a team of professionals who are up-to-date on the latest online trends.
10 Questions To Ask A Web Design Company Before Hiring Them
Businesses need to look for agencies that specialize in the functions, features, and services that they actually need to bring a website to life.
The following questions will help you understand every one of an agency’s offerings and help you decide if they are the right fit to grow your business online.
- Who will be working on the project and what is their experience?
- What web design, development or additional services (like digital marketing or branding) do you offer?
- How do you stay in-the-know about the latest trends?
- Can you share some successful case studies and portfolio items? Why were they successful?
- Do you have any experience in our industry, market or solving a similar business problem to ours?
- What is the organizational process of a website design project? How will you collaborate with and between departments to ensure timely success?
- Do you incorporate SEO optimization in website projects? Do you have an in-house expert?
- How often will you measure results and what metrics or KPIs will you use?
- How much do your services cost and should we expect any additional fees?
- Do you offer long-term support and maintenance after the site goes live?
How Do Web Designers Charge For Their Work?
Charging employees by the hour is the most common form of invoicing.
If you’re hiring web design experts in the United States, that could cost you $100-$175 per person per hour of work.
Overseas, those experts’ fees tend to be less.
Expect closer to $55-$75 per person per hour for professional companies outside of the United States.
Per project invoicing is beneficial for brands that need a variety of separate website projects created. Agencies will simply bill per platform built, and count each project as its own standalone invoice item.
For results-based billing, agencies and clients will determine specific key performance indicators that need to be reached in order for payment to be issued.
Results-based invoicing can increase incrementally based on project performance, or be “all-or-nothing.”
Charging a flat monthly or yearly fee is common for brands that need an agency on retainer. They are often used for periodic consulting or website management. Flat fee-based agencies often help improve:
- System updates.
- Integration management.
- SEO improvements.
- And more!
5 Ways A Top Website Design Company Improves Search Rankings & Site Traffic
Improve SEO Rankings & Organic Traffic
Reliable web design agencies know that every modern site should be optimized for SEO.
By placing an emphasis on search engine rankings, users will gain consumer trust, populate high in searches, and ultimately gain more website visitors and conversions.
At its core, search engine optimization is the act of improving your website to ensure you get the highest number of free visitors as possible. And who doesn’t like free?
A great website partner has a separate team of search engine optimization experts who know how to many tiny adjustments.
These can include:
- Minimizing image file size without any noticeable differences to the naked eye.
- Adding H1 and H2 tags.
- Increasing site speed.
- And more!
Pro Tip: Don’t forget mobile! Google now places a stronger emphasis on mobile-friendly sites when ranking online destinations.
Nearly 64% of all internet users access sites from their smartphones. Ensure you work with a development partner that is able to prioritize the technical elements that will help your business grow.
Emphasize Responsive User Experience
User experience refers to a visitor’s interaction with a site and their subsequent response to the website.
Top website design and development companies help their clients achieve strong, positive user experiences throughout their entire websites.
A good user experience is created by blending beautiful design, trendy elements and intuitive features that truly work.
A website partner should pay special attention to overall navigation, proper branding, simple product pages, fast loading animations and videos, and — most importantly — quick and easy checkout within e-commerce design.
Without a strong user experience and a responsive web design, consumers may develop interstitial anxiety, lose confidence in your site, and never return.
Increase Click-Through Rates
One key performance indicator (KPI) that excellent web design firms measure to determine success is the click-through rate (CTR).
This refers to the number of people clicking on a link or a call to action button to complete the desired action.
Great web designers know that these links, CTAs and landing pages should be properly designed to communicate clearly.
This ensures customers know what they desired action is and what will happen if they complete it.
Click-through rates traditionally refer to the number of people clicking on your search listing (or another external source, such as social media campaigns) and landing on your site.
Some high CTRs are a direct reflection of the SEO optimization that top website designers should be aware of.
However, click rates could also measure on-site actions, like the number of user profiles created or how many people sign up for a newsletter subscription.
Drive Strong Conversions & Revenue
Don’t confuse click-through rates with conversions. Conversion rates signify the number of people who complete an online purchase from your website, thus directly increasing your revenue.
The best website design firms and web developers have all the pieces that make up the conversion rate puzzle.
They can execute design, branding, user experience, and SEO initiatives well (along with other strategies) and help you reach target objectives.
Studies show that websites with high conversions adhere to a few simple commandments to secure their advancement. These include:
- Strong branding.
- Fast loading time.
- Many landing pages and calls to action.
- An apparent unique value proposition.
- Customer assistance.
- And more!
Establish A Positive Brand Identity
The best web agencies in the world help brands develop a positive brand identity. Strategy for and creation of branding assets and materials may include:
- Logo design.
- Custom illustration.
- Color strategy.
- Other graphic design services.
A consistent brand presentation can increase revenue by up to 23%.
Small branding elements, including logos, fonts, colors, and copy tone of voice, will create a consistent environment that is trustworthy and familiar to users.
Plus, 70% of brand managers claim that building a reliable audience is more important than creating immediate sales.
This is because a dedicated audience of returning customers will create more long-term revenue growth than many one-time purchases.
What’s more? A well-branded website also improves your overall brand recognition.
Therefore, an attractive site that is strategically branded has a much higher chance of catching the eye of new consumers and ensuring they remember your company at a later date.
The Best Website Design Trends of 2019
Artificial intelligence in web design encompasses chatbots, machine learning and automated personalization.
Since 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a website that remembers their name or can suggest potential purchases to them, AI is a web design trend you should invest in, stat.
Amazon, the reigning king of e-commerce sites, is the site that does machine learning right. They offer suggestions to users across every page of the e-commerce website, allowing users to find products quickly and easily while also discovering new items that are tailored to them.
Their success is reflected in the numbers -- Amazon saw a total revenue of $177.9 billion last year, and that number is projected to grow in 2018.
If you’re hoping to replicate some easy personalization yourself, try Molly by The Grid, an AI web designer that can adapt your site to what your consumers want, or BotSociety for a simple chatbot interface that is easily integrated and can improve customer service.
77% of marketers saying creating a recognizable brand identity is crucial to a company’s success -- and an unexpected web design layout can achieve this!
To pull interesting layouts off, you have to know your visitors well.
Will they appreciate an unexpected design? Are the rest of your design elements, such as checkout or navigation, intuitive and easy to use to counteract the unexpected appearance?
In addition, big design risks should be balanced with strong user experience and tried-and-true trends so as not to scare visitors -- particularly first-timers -- off before they can convert.
The Outline incorporates the brutalism web design trend to add plenty of personality.
Brutalism -- which can be unpolished, purposefully clunky and, well, just plain extra -- is seen in the wildly contrasting colors, bold serif type and the pop culture icons that adorn article headlines and menu items.
However, The Outline combats all this with an easy, intuitive web design.
Color psychology -- aka the art of leveraging the emotional and psychological responses to certain colors -- can drive website conversions.
After all, the majority of consumers are more likely to engage with a company if they feel some sort of emotional connection to it.
What's more, consistent colors can increase brand recognition by up to 80% -- and consistent, recognizable brand presentation across all platforms, including websites, further improves conversions.
But exciting colors don’t have to come in the form of flat designs and static backgrounds.
Make them unique with gradients, layovers or duotone effects, which Spotify employs on many pages, including their Premium landing page splash image.
This color effect -- which fittingly uses that popular ultra-violet purple -- helps a bright green call to action button pop off the screen.
However, Spotify smartly avoids overwhelming the user by introducing negative space above the fold to create a pleasing contrast.
Your site only has 17 milliseconds to impress consumers. This means that your website design has to be fast, user-focused and have a special “wow factor” that pulls visitors in. What better way to catch someone’s eye than a little motion?
Motion cultivates a concrete brand identity, and draws attention to important information and calls to action, such as a purchase button or email signup.
Ultimately, videos and animations on your website design can help you explain, promote and cultivate emotion in visitors, according to Forbes.
Heystack capitalizes on motion graphics to signify their expertise.
Upon landing on their homepage, users see an animated well-oiled machine, labeled with many of the programs Heystack supports, working together to churn out a successful project.
Website design isn’t all conversions and calls-to-action. There needs to be a little humanity in there to give your brand a voice that people will gravitate towards.
An easy way to achieve this (and increase brand consistency) is through hand-drawn illustrations.
Tatyana Khamdamova, head of design at Blue Fountain Media, encourages her team to take tiny elements like illustrations and incorporate them throughout a website design. This helps every page reflect the brand -- even if the logo isn’t visible.
In addition, custom illustrations can foster an emotional connection with customers -- and 65% of consumers who feel an emotional connection believe a brand cares about them personally and subsequently cultivate a long-term bond.
Buzzy mattress startup Casper is known for its playful, cartoonish illustrations -- and implementing them across their website helps to create a consistent brand.
It gives the company a lighthearted tone, ties in their company blog, and even gives them content for marketing campaigns, such as their now-iconic subway ads in New York City, from design agency Red Antler.
A clean, minimal design allows users to focus on the message a brand is communicating.
This ultimately fosters a better relationship between consumer and company, which is shown to increase sales.
In fact, 64% of consumers say that shared values are the main reason they trust and maintain a relationship with a brand.
Simple web designs also cultivate a stronger, longer lasting brand identity.
The logo design is uncomplicated and minimal, and this simplicity is reflected in all other Nike brand platforms, including the website. The site is permeated by plenty of white space, an organized grid system and thin sans-serif font in black, all of which mirror the aesthetic and quiet strength showcased in the logo.
However, a minimal website design does more than further their brand identity -- it also gives Nike the flexibility to adapt to trends without committing to them.
Ultimately, minimalism gives brands the freedom to adapt while simultaneously fostering a recognizable identity, which is why this longstanding website design trend is still going strong.
Top Elements Of The Best Website Designs
Calls To Action
More than 90% of website visitors who read your page’s headline will also read your call to action.
In fact, a case study from Brafton found that consistent and informative calls-to-action improved e-commerce conversion by 22% and overall revenue by 83%, proving that a little persuasion can go a long way.
But the wording is important, too. Studies show that more personalized, friendly calls-to-action consistently see better click-through rates.
What’s better? Ingratiate yourself with users more by writing in first-person. This will transform your online interaction with potential customers from transactional to personal, increasing the likelihood that they will make a purchase.
Madewell places plenty of calls to action across their e-commerce website, from shopping cues to newsletter signups.
While the CTA featured above is an email popup (which also showcases their brand’s tone, too), many other subtle prompts are found on every page.
These CTAs pay off well, too. Despite being owned by a struggling J.Crew, Madewell’s revenue continues to increase. The second quarter of 2017 alone saw a revenue of $93.1 million.
77% of agencies believe that subpar user experience is a weakness for their clients -- and one of the largest factors in user experience is poor navigation.
Unfortunately, studies show that discovered that users like to quickly and easily find information about the company, products and services.
In addition, 50% of users look to a navigation menu to discover where they are on a website when they arrive from a referral.
Easily improve user experience on a website by creating intuitive navigation -- after all, visitors landed on their site because they want to find something. Why not make it simple for them?
The Island of the Bahamas’ official website features truly intuitive navigation.
Everything from activities to specific hotels are easy to find, and each menu item is clearly labeled, with subheads that can break down a visitors’ search even further.
While it may not be the most Earth-shatteringly exciting site on the world wide web, this design is truly focused on the user.
Contact Us Page
64% of visitors want to find a contact page after arriving on a website. But is it really that detrimental if you don’t have one?
The simple answer is yes. Simple contact forms with three fields have a minimum conversion rate of 25%. Plus, when 42% of consumers are distrustful of brands with poor communication, a contact us page becomes even more critical.
Top website designs that give users what they want will always have a contact page -- and you should, too. Service-based companies in particular, such as digital agency Blue Fountain Media, benefit immensely from clear and simple contact forms. The small form, readable text and clear messaging make this the perfect catch-all for potential clients.
Other sites benefit from contact pages as well. E-commerce sites can strengthen customer relationships by answering questions through a contact form, while informational sites can field suggestions, allowing users to feel more engaged and understood by a company.
91% of marketers utilize some form of content marketing to boost a brand’s awareness and bottom line.
Plus, content marketing creates more than three times as many leads as traditional marketing -- yet it costs 62% less.
The good news is that content marketing isn’t all just fluffy blogs or long-form content. Anything from white papers to videos to social media can all constitute content marketing -- so long as it’s telling your business’s story in some way or informing your consumers on topics they care about.
In addition, content marketing initiatives hosted on your website can be integrated into many platforms, such as email marketing campaigns and social media posts, ultimately driving more traffic to your website.
Finally, content marketing helps websites rank better in search engine listings for applicable keywords, making your business more discoverable for new customers.
Furthermore from Equinox is a stellar example of content marketing done well. This standalone website is actually the content brainchild of the luxury gym Equinox.
They subtly yet frequently promote both their locations AND the Equinox lifestyle -- healthy, chic and elegant. It’s a tricky yet effective ploy to strengthen their brand identity and organically capture potential gym-goers that fit their demographic.
Cohesive Brand Identity
According to Adobe, 38% of users will just stop interacting with a website if the layout and content aren’t attractive.
But a beautiful design on just one medium won’t grow your company. Instead, you need to invest in a consistent design across all pages and mediums.
It turns out that users want to trust the companies they give their business to, and a great web design that matches the image they product on social media, print ads, apps and partnerships fosters that.
Need a little inspiration? Look at Apple. They have spent decades cultivating an image of simple authority across every platform.
From their iconic apple symbol (complete with a missing bite) -- which marks every product and post -- to their minimal website design, sleek product pages and seamless checkout, they put the user first while reassuring them that they’ll be taken care of by a reliable brand.
The Best Website Design Features For A Site That Steals The Show
Geometric Shapes & Textures
2019 is all about big personality and bold design, and the nostalgic influence of the 1980s and 1990s is propelling this forward with more emphasis on geometric shapes, patterns and textures over flat design.
This web design trend doesn’t just boost a site’s aesthetic appearance, though. It can strategically draw attention to important information, featured products and calls to action.
Plus, repetitive and symmetrical patterns create the illusion of movement on the site, which, we all know, increases those oh-so-precious conversions.
Creative agency Young Blood layers images and patterns to create a stacked texture on their homepage that drives the call to action directly below.
This texture is surrounded by white space and minimal navigation menus to keep the remainder of the landing page easy on the eyes.
Charts and Graphs
People will believe anything they read in a chart -- or so says a scientific study from Cornell University.
It turns out that the appearance of science is just as compelling as, well, science itself! So why not capitalize on that and add the appearance of science to your website design.
While you definitely shouldn’t fudge numbers or fib about your services, showing that information instead of saying it will likely resonate more deeply with your consumers.
After all, about 90% of the information sent to our brain is visual, which means noggins are well-versed in processing imagery over text.
Real estate investment startup Fundrise incorporates charts and graphs perfectly into their website design.
Upon landing on their homepage, you’ll see a branded chart detailing the success of investing. Hearing them say there’s a good ROI is one thing -- but seeing the upward trend is effective.
Note that not every piece of information is in “science form” -- this is strategic and ensures only the most important information stands out and catches visitors’ eyes.
65% of consumers say that they are more likely to give a brand their business because they feel a connection to the company -- and typography can influence this.
Many fonts are impactful due to culture significance -- such as art deco and the roaring ‘20s.
Typography can also strike a chord in our semantic memories -- this is often seen with the font Helvetica and government associations (did you happen to notice it on your latest tax forms?).
Fonts can also create an overarching vibe. For example, a thin, clean and capitalized font is chic, while a scrawling hand-drawn type is viewed as intimate.
Le Cafe Noir Studio unlocked this with their horror film-like font.
While the majority of the website is a minimal grid layout with colorful clothing images, this unique branding adds an extra layer of depth and personality to the brand, allowing the e-commerce site to appeal to its demographic -- fashionable women with creative personalities -- with more punch.
What’s more? By only utilizing it in the logo branding, it actually strengthens how uncommon and interesting the typography is.
Unique Page Transitions
A 0.5-second delay in loading time can result in a 20% decrease in traffic.
If loading times are delayed, visitors can develop interstitial anxiety, causing them to wonder if something is wrong with the site.
But this anxiety can be reduced with the use of creative loading animations or interesting page transitions.
Interesting transitions also boost UX by creating a seamless experience.
According to Forrester, a strong interface design can increase conversions by up to 200%, and strong user experience design can improve conversions by up to 400%.
The Eames by Enso married unique page transitions and with a single-page site to create an engaging experience.
There’s no clicking and no menu -- instead, you can scroll your way through the site, which moves both horizontally and vertically through the predetermined path.
These unique page transitions add motion graphics -- such as a mask header and products that swell and reduce in size in conjunction with the scrolling -- to take users through a compelling timeline-like journey.
This places emphasis on information like dates, products and life achievements that the readers should take note of through simple motion.
Optimizing for mobile isn’t really a web design trend -- it’s an absolute necessity.
Mobile e-commerce sales are expected to account for nearly 40% of all online sales in 2018, and that number is expected to grow to 53.9% by the year 2021.
In fact, Google places an even higher emphasis on mobile optimization vs desktop when it comes to search engine rankings.
To get yourself closer to that coveted no. 1 spot, create a responsive design and ensure the loading time is quick – 53% of mobile sites are abandoned if they don’t fully load in three seconds.
The quickly-loading site features a prominent search bar and a left-side hamburger menu upon landing on the home page. The shopping cart is easily accessible on the right-hand side throughout the mobile experience.
When you navigate through the site on mobile, you can easily sort, filter and access your shopping cart.
The minimal sunburst-like symbol found within their logo design is also seen upon arrival, branding the site with consistency without taking up too much real estate. This shows the effectiveness of a responsive logo design.
A cohesive, functioning and beautifully designed site can be the determining factor on whether or not a consumer will complete a purchase or an investor will make an offer.
The best web design agencies can help you solidify leads and turn them into conversions by:
- Driving sales.
- Increasing web traffic.
- Improving branding.
- Aligning your business as a leader in the industry.
Are you ready to improve your brand’s online presence? Check out DesignRush’s list of web design and development agencies above!
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