How to Choose a Kalamazoo Web Design Agency

Looking for the right Kalamazoo web design company?

Working with a Kalamazoo web design company is the best way to position your website for success. Local designers understand your competition and they know what’s needed to overtake them. And, even better, having your website built by a local web designer is the best way to get a personalized site that truly captures the tone, vision, and culture of your company.

But, there are a lot of things to consider when you’re weighing the benefits of local agencies. You’ll get the best results if you partner with a company that understands Kalamazoo website design, understands the local market, and – most importantly – understands you.

So, how do you make sure you’re hiring a web designer that’s right for your company? Like most sound business decisions, it all starts with a little research. And, to be certain that our site’s visitors are making informed decisions about their companies’ futures, we’re going to start with the basics…

Why do I need a website?

1. Customers expect legitimate companies to have websites

Time and again, it’s been proven that having a website helps to increase the credibility of your company. It doesn’t take much to start a Facebook page and anyone with an ounce of tech savvy can build a Wix page. But, if you want to position yourself as a credible, legitimate business, you need to take your online presence seriously.

A professional site from a local Kalamazoo web design team is an investment. It shows that you’re serious about your business. Best of all, it gives potential customers a way to verify that you’re a real company, a company that can be trusted, and a company that will take their needs seriously.

2. A website increases your company’s visibility

In the US alone, it’s estimated that there are 218 million online shoppers. With an average buying power of over $5,000 per person, companies can’t afford to be invisible to this audience. If you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to grow your business.

For small businesses, it’s now more important than ever to be visible on Google. As of this year, nearly 50% of search queries indicate local intent. More and more, people are using the Internet to find local businesses that can help them solve their problems. Without a website, you’re shipping these potential customers off to your competition.

3. It’s an extremely cost-efficient marketing tool

A high-quality website is a long-term investment that produces long-term results. When you pay for a billboard, you get eyes on your business for a month. When you run a magazine ad, you get advertising for one issue. But, after it’s completed, your website will always work for you.

Day after day, year after year, your website will generate leads for the entirety of its lifespan.

A lot of business owners think that website design is too costly or too time consuming. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Design agencies – you know, like Kzoom – can help you transition your brand into the online space. And, once your website is live, you can freely tweak and update it to ensure that you’re generating a return on your investment.

4. You can customize it to accurately portray your brand

You have a Facebook page, why do you need a website? In addition to the increased credibility, a website gives you complete control over how you present your brand. On Facebook, you can upload images, add a profile picture, and change your cover photo. Beyond that, you’re locked into Facebook’s color palette and branding.

A website can be completely customized to communicate your brand. You can tailor the customer experience to accurately reflect how you present your company in the real world.

With a website, you can curate your online reviews, upload high-resolution images of your products, fully customize its color scheme, and embed corporate videos that highlight your company’s benefits.

Another benefit of operating your own website is that you aren’t beholden to the whims of third-party providers. What if a competitor reports your Facebook page and it’s taken down? By creating your own website, you protect your online presence and ensure that you’re the one in the driver’s seat.

5. Websites are a great way to deliver customer service

Good service is all about quickly providing customers with the information they need. If a customer wants to know your hours, location, or the brands you carry, why should they have to call you? By listing this information on your website, you’re creating a better customer experience.

Even better, reducing the amount of time your team spends answering these simple questions allows them to focus on more important tasks. Instead of grabbing the phone every five minutes, they can spend more time having meaningful conversations with potential customers.

How many pages should a website have?

On average, professional websites have 10 to 30 pages. Of course, this number is highly variable based on a company’s industry, size, scope, and service area. If you’re a local-only business, you can get away with fewer. If you’re a global megacorporation, you know, you’ll probably want a lot more.

The size of your website largely depends on how large your business is… or how large you want it to be.

In our experience, most fledgling businesses start with a simple eight-page website. Giving you the space you need to establish yourself as a local expert it also ensures that Google has enough content to determine if – and where – your website should rank.

Even more importantly, starting with eight basic pages gives you a good foundation. You can use this foundation to build out an internal link structure that keeps visitors on your site by sending them to other topically relevant pages via internal links.

Essential pages that every Kalamazoo web design needs…

  • Home: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression and your homepage is always the first thing visitors see. In less than five seconds, it should show them who you are, tell them why they should trust you, and establish you as a top expert in your field.
  • About: Once you’ve hooked visitors with your sweet homepage content, you’ll need space to tell them more about yourself. An about page gives you room to discuss your mission and values, all while sharing your company’s unique story.
  • Contact: In most cases, businesses use their websites to generate leads and convert visitors into customers. If that’s your goal, a straightforward contact page is essential. It doesn’t need to be complicated, you just want to give people an easy way to reach you.

Pages that help people learn about your business…

  • Our Team: A team page is a great way to personalize your business. When we built a page for our Kalamazoo web design team, we wanted to put a face to our names. We wanted people to know who they were talking to on the phone or coming to visit.
  • Products or Services: If you plan to run an ecommerce store, pages that describe your products or services may be the most important pages after your homepage. Be sure to invest in quality product photography to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.
  • Blog: A blog (or news) page gives you the opportunity to interact with your customers on social media and other platforms. Furthermore, it helps you raise your site’s visibility by creating SEO-optimized content that improves your chance of ranking on Google.

What’s the process of Kalamazoo web design?

Before you settle on a designer, it’s important to fully understand their web design process. And, while all agencies have their own variations, Kzoom follows a proven process that results in top-quality websites every time.

At Kzoom we’ve worked to refine our web design process to ensure that it serves the needs of every business. No matter your size, market, or goals, we can build you a site that’s sure to improve visibility, raise awareness, and generate leads.

1. Initial Discovery

In our first meetings with you, we’ll discuss your company, learn about what you offer, and build a scope based on your marketing budget. During this stage, we aim to identify your needs and pain points so that we can make recommendations to address them.

2. Goal Exploration

After we’ve gained an understanding of what your company does, we’ll help define your goals. Then, we’ll work out how your new web design can help achieve those goals. Whether you need an events calendar, online appointment scheduling, or any number of other functions, we’ll make them happen.

3. Sitemap Development

While it’s not the most glamorous element of a Kalamazoo web design, sitemap development is a necessary step. At this stage, we create the core structure of your site. We want to understand what’s important to you, where you want to grow, and how you want to present yourself. With that information, we’re able to build a menu structure that quickly gives visitors the information they need.

4. Content Writing

Once we know how your site will be organized, we start building out written content for its pages. We focus on creating high-quality, trustworthy written text that focuses on search engine performance. If you want your new website to rank, you’ll want real, keyword-rich content that establishes you as an expert in your industry… and, of course, we’ll help!

5. Graphic Design

By now, we’ve shown you mockups and proposed layouts. And, hopefully, you’ve settled on an overall design. So, with the content completed, it’s time to start laying everything out. We build the pages around your content to ensure everything looks consistent and ‘full.’ At Kzoom, we use a page-by-page approach to ensure that every page is unique, graphically distinct, and visually interesting.

6. Final Review

With your launch date on the horizon, there’s only one step before we launch your website: a complete review. At this stage, we sit down with you, navigate through the entire website, and ask for your feedback. If you’re happy, we move on to stage seven! But, if you have concerns, we create a list of issues, address them, and then schedule a second review.

7. Website Launch

Your website’s done! It’s time to celebrate! Well, maybe not just yet. In the final step, we launch your site and double check to ensure that everything functions properly in the live environment. After that, we discuss the strategies you’ll need – and how we can help – to get your website found.

What should I look for in a Kalamazoo web design team?

If this is your first time looking for a Kalamazoo web design agency, you may be overwhelmed. With so many options available, which should you choose? How do you know what to look for? And, while finding the right fit can be challenging, it’s worth the effort. Here are a few things you should always look for in a website design team.

1. They make you – and your project – a priority

One of the most important qualities in a web designer is availability. When you have a question or want to provide feedback, you need to be certain that your team is going to pick up the phone.

One of our core values is ‘immediacy.’ When our clients – or potential clients – need us, we always make time for them. Don’t believe us? Give us a call.

But, in addition to responsiveness, you’ll want to work with a team that has a communication structure in place. Whether they’re managing projects through regular emails, weekly meetings, or project management software, you’ll want to know how your project’s deadlines will be set, managed, and met.

2. They possess all the skills needed to build a great website

Websites are incredibly intricate, multifaceted marketing tools. In fact, good websites incorporate a complex set of disciplines to achieve their marketing goals. Even if your site’s a perfect visual representation of your brand, it still needs to integrate solid design principles. To perform well, it needs to be fast, easy to use, and engaging. You’ll want to inquire about page speeds, website accessibility, search engine optimization, and user experience.

While it is important to focus on the visual aspects of your site, you’ll want to work with a team that can deliver on the structural requirements, as well. When interviewing potential agencies, ask them how they’ll get your website found, how they’ll convert visitors to leads, and what they’ll do to create a memorable experience.

3. They bring fresh, creative ideas to the table

Of course, to be successful, your website needs every iota of creative input it can gather. Even the best Kalamazoo web design agency will fail if they don’t have the right skills. A number of essential skills are needed to deliver a streamlined, aesthetically pleasing website that connects with your customers.

Before you commit to hiring a team, be sure to ask about their creative successes. They should be able – and eager – to provide a portfolio of their logo, web, and print designs. Ask them how they transitioned past clients into the online space and, more importantly, what ideas they have to do the same for your business.

4. They have a proven track record of Kalamazoo web design

On the topic of portfolios, a reputable agency will always be willing to provide examples of their work. When they do, take the opportunity to ask in-depth questions about the projects they share. What unique challenges did they face? How did they overcome those challenges? How is the project similar – or dissimilar – to your project?

If you want to go the extra mile, ask them to put you in contact with a past client. The agency’s past clients will be able to tell you about their capabilities and design process, which is valuable information when trying to determine if they’ll be able to deliver on your expectations.

5. They know that their success is your success

Just like any other marketing agency, a web design agency should be invested in your success. As your partner, the agency wants to deliver results that help your business grow. And, as you grow, your digital marketing needs grow, which sends more business to the agency that you chose. In the end, it’s a win-win!

At Kzoom, we love working with clients who view us as their partner. Involving us in all of your marketing decisions gives us the tools we need to plan coherent, consistent, and powerful marketing efforts that take your business to the next level. And, with our full-service approach, we handle everything and you’re free to focus on what’s important: running your business.

What is search engine optimization?

Earlier in this post, we mentioned getting your website found. But how does that work? Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of practices that aim to better position your website on Google’s search results. A few decades ago, this meant stuffing hundreds of keywords into your posts. These days, while it’s a little more complicated, it still revolves around developing a strong keyword strategy.

Modern digital marketing – and especially SEO – is about research, reporting, and refinement. Before your website launches, your web design company should research relevant keywords using specialized software that analyzes your industry, the online landscape, and your competitors’ websites. By identifying these early in the process, text can be crafted around them to ensure they’re naturally incorporated into your site’s content.

Once your site has launched, it’s important to get regular reports from your Kalamazoo web design company. At Kzoom, we provide monthly reports to our clients so they can give their feedback on the strategies we’ve implemented. By meeting regularly, we’re able to refine our tactics and update the website so that it’s better positioned on key Google search results.

How does SEO relate to content marketing?

Search engine optimization and content marketing go hand in hand. If you produce a great piece of content – a guide, a video, an infographic – but nobody can find it, what’s the point? On the other hand, if you craft a highly optimized piece of content that’s unreadable, what’s the point of that?

Content marketing is about producing readable, useful content that’s presented in a ‘skimmable’ way. SEO helps you structure your content so that it’s favorably indexed by Google. By combining the two disciplines, you end up with extremely visible, highly usable content. And, with 37% of users saying that poor design causes them to leave websites, you can’t afford to ignore either.

When you work with Kzoom, we utilize white hat SEO strategies to ensure that Google loves your content. We pay close attention to meta descriptions, title tags, alt tags, body text, and page structures to increase the visibility of your website. But, more importantly, we keep an eye on your site’s organization, flow, and readability so that you can be certain it accurately represents your brand.

Is SEO necessary for Kalamazoo web design?

Whether you’re building a new website or updating your existing site, search engine optimization ensures that your website gets noticed. In the simplest terms, SEO acts as a road sign that directs passersby to your website. Building a website that doesn’t integrate some SEO principles is like building a house without an address: nobody will be able to find it.

Okay, but what does SEO actually do?

Whether you’re building a new website or updating your existing site, search engine optimization ensures that your website gets noticed. In the simplest terms, SEO acts as a road sign that directs passersby to your website. Building a website that doesn’t integrate some SEO principles is like building a house without an address: nobody will be able to find it.

  • It gets your business found. The need to be found online is the core of SEO. By targeting important keywords, writing structured content, and establishing yourself as an expert, your website’s position in Google’s search results will improve. As you improve your position, you’ll attract more visitors.
  • It helps you overtake competitors. When you improve your rankings in search results, you naturally displace the websites that were in that rank originally. In most cases, pulling yourself up means pushing your competitors down. As a result, you’ll stand to gain some of the visitors – and customers – that would have been theirs.
  • It builds your brand. Beyond improving sales and driving traffic, SEO helps you build brand recognition by putting your business in the public eye. Especially important for startups and companies looking to rebrand themselves, this can help you cement your status as a leader, build a reputation for quality, or encourage positive word-of-mouth advertising.
  • It establishes you as an expert. People want to work with experts. There’s no better way to show that you’re an expert than to secure a top position on Google. Searchers know that Google is picky about who it places at the top of search results, so if you’re there, you’ve already done most of the work necessary to gain their trust.

What is a website CMS?

When you build a website, you build it using a content management system or CMS. Using a CMS allows you to more easily manage your website’s text content, visual imagery, and design elements without having to write them from scratch in HTML and CSS.

With a number of different options available, your needs may dictate which CMS you decide to use. But, there’s one CMS that’s suited to the demands of nearly every business: WordPress. Because of its ease of use, versatility, and third-party support, WordPress currently boasts 64.2% of the market. For clients looking for a top-notch Kalamazoo web design, the longevity of WordPress ensures that their site will be supported for years to come.

Why is WordPress the best option for Kalamazoo web design?

Web designers across the globe have adopted WordPress as their platform of choice. And, in Kalamazoo, it’s no different. Members of Kzoom’s team have worked alongside most major agencies in the city and, in time, they’ve all shifted their focus to WordPress. But, why is WordPress so popular?

  • WordPress is incredibly easy to use. Because it’s been around for so long, WordPress has had a lot of time to refine its user interface. While some platforms will boast that they’re the ‘standard for ecommerce’ or they’re ‘built for your industry,’ nothing beats WordPress’ usability. As an additional bonus, WordPress’ longevity has resulted in a huge community of users who teach and document its features in plain language.
  • By default, it’s built for SEO. Optimal performance is WordPress’ primary goal. If you want your website to rank, it simply has to adhere to basic SEO principles. No other CMS boasts as many SEO plugins as WordPress. From the ability to write metadata with Yoast to boosting your site’s speed with WP Rocket, WordPress has your SEO needs covered.
  • It integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce. If you’re building a website that sells products online, you’re going to need an ecommerce plugin. And, for the majority of companies, WooCommerce is the easy choice. Flexible, scalable, and simple, it’s built specifically for WordPress and is guaranteed to make your life a whole lot easier.
  • WordPress has a massive library of plugins. Remember when we mentioned that huge community? Well, in addition to documenting WordPress’ features, they’ve also created a massive library of plugins. Whether you want to add an event calendar, create a repository of files, or track your site’s analytics, it’s almost always guaranteed that someone has already developed a relevant plugin.
  • It’s open source and built to last. Since WordPress is open source, it’s developed and maintained by countless volunteers. As a result, there’s virtually no chance that it falls out of favor or ceases to be supported. With this peace of mind, you can develop your site with a long-term plan that doesn’t include learning a new platform every few years.

Why should I work with a local web designer?

We’ve all heard the rallying cries asking us to support local businesses. But, really, why should you hire a Kalamazoo web design company? What benefits does a local designer offer that you can’t get from a designer in another state? Or one that’s in another country?

Working with a local designer ensures that your final website has a connection to the local community. And, since local designers understand the nature of the local market, they’re better able to position your business in front of local – and national – customers.

In addition to creating a site that performs better locally, it’s much easier to collaborate with a team that’s in your backyard. If you want to take new photos, shoot high-quality video, or add new features to your website, it’s a lot easier when you’re not calculating time zone differences or playing phone tag.

So, how do you choose a Kalamazoo web design company?

Ultimately, the web design company that you pick is in your hands. But, before you make such a big decision, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of working with a local company. Deeply rooted in the community of Kalamazoo, Kzoom’s team firmly believes that the best results come from close collaboration. With the ability to meet with our clients on a regular basis, we’re able to get a strong understanding of the vision, values, and mission of their company. And, leveraging our team’s collection of skills, we’re able to communicate those qualities to the world.

1. Research several options online

There are a lot of web design companies in Kalamazoo, so before you pull the trigger, you should do some research. In this day and age, you have all the information you need right at your fingertips. Take a look at several local companies, read about their team members, check their LinkedIn profiles, and get to know them. It may be overwhelming at first, as there are a lot of companies out there. But, once you pare your options down to two or three agencies, you’re ready to move on.

2. Schedule a meeting with their team

After you’ve settled on a manageable number of options, reach out to schedule a meeting. While virtual meetings are always a possibility, Kzoom prefers to do initial meetings in person, as it allows potential clients to get a feel for our culture and capabilities. Once you’ve got your meetings scheduled, be sure to jot down a handful of questions to ask, such as:

  • How long have you been developing websites?
  • How many team members do you have on staff?
  • What CMS do you use to build your websites?
  • Will you assist with images and written content?
  • What will be expected of me during the process?

3. Request examples of their work

If the companies you’re considering don’t have an online portfolio, be sure to ask for examples of their work. While you can usually get a good feel for a web design company based on their own site, it’s much better to see how successfully they’ve presented other brands. If you really want to test them, ask for references! A reputable design agency will be willing to put you in touch with clients who have gone through the design process.

4. Discuss pricing, budget, and timeframe

Of course, it’ll eventually be time to talk numbers. What good does it do you to find the perfect Kalamazoo web designer if their pricing is outside your budget? Or if they can’t deliver a finished site by an important deadline? By bringing these points up early in the discussion, you’ll be able to make a better, faster decision without wasting your time.

5. Ask about other necessary services

In most cases, websites aren’t isolated projects. Usually, they involve a combination of photography, logo design, videography, copywriting, and graphic design. And, while a lot of companies can point you in the direction of third-party providers, it’s much more efficient – and much less expensive – to work with a company that can deliver all the services you need.

To ensure that you stay on budget and get everything you need, be sure that you’re working with a company that can provide all of the services that you need: web design, video production, graphic design, and copywriting.

Ready to get started on your Kalamazoo web design?

So, if you’re ready to take the first step toward building a new website, we’re happy that you landed here. At Kzoom, we strive to arm our potential clients with all the information they need to make an informed, educated decision about their business’ future. Whether you’re a small startup that’s looking to make a splash or you’re already a giant in the local market, we can build a stunning website that accurately presents your company to an online audience.

To take advantage of the expertise of a digital marketing agency and get started on the road to success, contact us here and we’ll be in touch right away!

Matt Davis

SEO Specialist

Matt loves all-day cooking projects, holding one-sided conversations with his cat, and writing unreasonably large D&D campaigns. A fan of horror movies, he may have Kalamazoo’s largest (and only) collection of Laserdiscs.

Professionally, Matt brings 20 years of SEO, digital marketing, and copywriting experience to Kzoom and you may be seeing him around on your next website project!