There are thousands of people visiting your website every month. Many of these are your members, but a significant number of these are prospects… looking for a service just like yours.
1. Do you like their design style?
Any designer worth their salt has a portfolio. As you look through it you’ll get a really good idea of their design tendencies. Realistically, what they’ll come up with you won’t stray much from what they’ve already done.
But while you’re comparing design styles, let’s try not to get too granular and base things solely on the attractiveness of the website. Over the years I’ve seen plenty of websites that are lacking design flair, yet have significantly outperformed what most would consider a “better looking” website.
In my opinion, this is the least important factor… it’s just meant to weed out bad designers.
2. Have other gym owners been happy working with them?
When you’re looking to build a new website, do realize that it will cost time and money. So as you’re getting ready to part with both of these things, it’s good to get a glimpse of how you’ll be spending your time interacting with the designer… will it be plagued by silence and half-answers? Or will they come to you with solutions, and help you at every step of the process?
Just because they sound nice on the phone and in their emails doesn’t mean that will remain once you hire them. (I’ve had the opportunity to work with dozens of clients over the years that have come to me after a huge hassle and wasting several months with another designer.)
Do your homework and find out what do other clients have to say about working with them. Take the average, and that’s what you should expect.
3. Can they help tell your story?
Have you ever noticed that sometimes a member that doesn’t fit in at your gym will sometimes fit in at another gym? (and sometimes the opposite).
That’s no coincidence. Each gym has a similar, yet unique culture.
Instead of copying what another gym is saying, get some help and find out what it is that makes you guys unique and then find a clear way to express it.
If your website designer doesn’t understand this, then they definitely can’t help you.
4. Do they use WordPress?
Do you want full control over your website? Do you want your website software to get updated to include the latest gizmos and security releases? Do you want to use the same software that powers almost 20% of all the websites online (over 74 million websites estimated to be powered by WordPress).
Yes, there are other “easy” platforms out there (ahem, Squarespace, Wix to name a couple). However, these may be easy to use, but they lack in flexibility, and if you ever want to do anything slightly complex… good luck!
5. Do you understand how their process works?
How do they design your website? Do they have any reasoning outside of “it looks pretty”? Do you get to give feedback early in the process? (or when you do give feedback, will the designer get offended that you don’t like their design?)
How many pages will be on the site? What are they? Do you get to add more?
What are you supposed to do AFTER the website launches? Do you get trained?
I’ve heard of many websites designers that will gladly take your money, give you a minimal product and then leave you high and dry to figure things out on your own.
6. Do they integrate a proven sales funnel?
A call-to-action is not a sales funnel… it’s just a button (or graphic) that takes the visitor to the sales funnel. The point of the sales funnel is to lead people down an actionable path to purchase, building trust and authority at every step, so that you have a higher chance of getting them to reach your conversion objective (aka, scheduling a free intro).
Most gym websites have a “take it or leave it” approach. They may have the call to action, but after someone enters their name and info and click “submit”, that’s it… they have to wait. When you make them wait without confirmation, that lead has a much higher chance of getting cold or going elsewhere.
Look to your website designer to know what kind of sales funnel works in your industry, ask about success with other clients, and trust them to deliver.
If they don’t have a sales funnel, your website performance will be crippled.
7. Do they help get your website ranked better in Google?
If you aren’t on page 1 in Google, you might as well be invisible because no one is looking past page 1. Take things a step further… once you reach the top 5 in Google, your traffic should double. Why? Many searchers find what they’re looking for in the top 5, or they change their search.
Does the website designer have any experience getting websites ranked better in Google? Have they had any success? And can they give you the tools and strategies necessary for you to increase your own rankings?
Paying for a website that no one sees is generally a bad investment.
8. Are they going to help you after your website launches?
There’s a lot of people out there that want to design your next website… and then they want to walk away and go design someone else’s website. Their business model favors the website design process… not the support process. (and let’s be honest… most businesses severely undervalue support. We don’t really like preventative costs unless we’ve experienced some sort of payout.)
Look at your website designers business model and do some critical thinking. If there’s not a mutual value exchange after the sale the odds of them having the time (or motivation) to help you after the fact diminishes greatly with their success.
Look for a website designer that values the relationship with you, and is structured to help provide long-term value to you.
Ask these 8 questions, get the answers you need and save yourselves thousands of dollars, months of headaches, and have a significantly better chance of creating a website that does it’s job capturing leads.
Notice something that wasn’t on this list that you think deserves to be? Maybe you’re talking to a website design company right now and they’re selling you hard on some “world changing” feature – and you want to get an less biased opinion?