It seems an odd question to ask, after all the internet is not reliant on location – in theory Cornish business owners could use web companies from anywhere in the world, right? Surely all that’s required is a decent Skype connection and a shared language that help both parties understand each other, right? Well in theory this is the case but over the years of working and talking with Cornish businesses of all shapes and sizes I have come to to the conclusion that it is always better to work with a local web company.
Let me highlight a few reasons why I think using a local web company makes more sense…
OK, let me explore the points above in more detail
Ask any successful boss and they will tell you that their most successful contracts, best clients, the ones who have been with them the longest have all started from face to face meetings. Getting to know the person you will be trusting to design and build your next website is absolutely vital in my opinion. It provides the client with a level of trust that no webcam can ever hope to convey. Let’s face it would you buy a car from someone you spoke to on the internet? Would you sign mortgage papers with a solicitor in France just because he was £100 pounds (or Euros??) cheaper than one in Truro? Probably not. So why look beyond your local area when searching for web design companies? – It doesn’t make sense.
Every website should be a shop window for your business, whether you are selling something, offering a service, showing off how good you are, trying to build leads – whatever the reason the website is a reflection of you and your business. I read somewhere that a visitor will take less than 5 seconds to decide if your website is going to provide them with the answer to their problem. If not, click ‘Back’ and look at the next website. 5 seconds is not mush time to get the point across which is why it is VITAL that your website does what it says on the tin and does it well. Now the only way a web designer can accomplish this, again this is my own opinion, is to visit the business, take a tour, immerse yourself in the day to day – GET TO KNOW THE BUSINESS!
Once you have a good idea of the size, the workforce, the service, the ethos, the products, the atmosphere, what makes it better than the competitors, how friendly are the staff, how good is the coffee! – All these things and a hundred more will help us, the web designers, to design and build a website that TRULY reflects your business. It is easy these days, in fact too easy but that’s a topic for another post, to buy, download a free website template and pour your business into it. I see it every day, every 3rd or 4th website you visit these days seems to be a WordPress template. OK, ok, before some keen eyed competitor emails me to say “Ah but Jock I can see that some of the sites you use are WordPress templates” – yes, this is true but there is a difference between using a template as a starting point and heavily customising the code and layout to fit the business and just using an off the shelf template, change the logo and colour scheme and then call it finished!
Anyway, I digress. The point is; every business is different, every business has it’s own USP. It’s up to the web company to viist the business, talk to the boss and the staff and find out what they are – then design and build the site. Something a web company in India Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham etc would never do.
Let me start by saying things will go wrong. That’s a fact. There will be times when for no apparent reason your website goes offline (usually 10 minutes before presentation!). Or your emails will start being bounced back. Or your site will reach it’s bandwidth because you’ve had double the visitors you normally get for that month. Or your site has been hacked, well you get the idea.
Now this is where using a local web design company in Cornwall (see what I did there ;-)) is going to pay dividends. Yes, you could have used the company in Hull because they would have built the site for £200 BUT would they be there at the end of the phone when your bandwidth suddenly explodes? Would it be possible to call someone up by name and ask if they could make a small change to the prices on the home page? – I doubt it – well ok some will but I’m generalising for the sake of effect, but wouldn’t you feel safer dealing with a company in St Austell (did I mention that’s where we are based) – than somewhere ‘up country’ or worse still overseas?
This is an easy sell. You buy local fruit, you use a local company to fix your roof, you use local tradesmen. All things being equal, why wouldn’t you use a local company to design and build your website? Which brings me nicely on to my next point…
OK, maybe not better, perhaps that’s stretching the truth slightly but I will definitely stand by the statement that Cornish web design companies, yes I am including all friendly competition in this, are just as good as any company that you will find outside of the county. How can this be I hear you ask – Well put simply Cornwall attracts people from all over the Country to work here and many graduates want to work in Cornwall. It’s already being seen as one of the fastest growing hubs for IT and innovation in the country. We have a huge amount of talent in Cornwall and many Web Companies are packed with really clever and inspirational people – keep it local folks, we really do know what we are talking about!
Right, this brings me on to the sticky subject of price. Again, I could and maybe will, write another article just concerning this topic. For now though I will keep it short and sweet.
Normally in life ‘You get what you pay for‘ right? Well unfortunately, in my experience (over 15 years building website by the way), that’s not always the case. It’s still true that there is a certain amount of smoke and mirrors surrounding our trade. The bottom line is that there are some companies, especially out of county, that will charge hugely inflated fees for web design and development work. There are also a few in Cornwall that do the same. The majority, however, charge a fair price for the work they do. Get 5 quotes and I can guarantee there will be a big difference between them all. This normally comes down to 2 main areas: Company overheads and Company experience.
Here at First Class Web Design we are in the fortunate position – at least in terms of the price we charge for our web design work – by having low overheads. It’s true we still charge a fair fee for the work we do but don’t have expensive offices, rates, cleaners etc to account for. In fact we have the best of both worlds – very low overheads and extensive experience.
Just one piece of advice – PLEASE get more than one quote! (5 if you have the time). Then top and tail and use a company from the middle 3. Let each one of them visit you and judge the company on the people that you will be working with and the previous work they have done. It’s also worth finding out what other’s are saying about them.
OK, I have rambled on a bit but hopefully I got my point across: When looking for your new web company, whether it’s to redesign your existing site or to manage your new start up company – please consider using local web design companies.