Designer's desk with responsive web design concept.

Designer’s desk with responsive web design concept.

If you have a business in Dallas, Fort Worth or any metro area, chances are there is a wealth of freelance web design, SEO and brand message talent near me and you. In addition, there are several free online marketing tools that can help get you started with your online platform.

If you’re on a tight budget, here’s a free website design tool that is very easy to set up and manage. Even though we, at Platform Creator, are in the business of designing websites and video production, we understand that not every business or individual has a large enough budget to launch a stunning website.

So, onto the nine questions.

1). What change are your trying to create? Why is this critical? It’s important to know the reason why you are creating a website in the first place. This will determine your strategy for how it’s designed and on which platform it will be designed. A website should help accomplish many things. It should help you: build trust with whoever visits your site, get found, inform, engage, tell your story and differentiate from others. 

2). What platform should I use to have my website created? Many of the top websites in the world use WordPress. It’s where a large pool of talented web developers create and exchange ideas and tools to best bring businesses from a brick-and-mortal presence to a well-designed graphical representation of their brand online. Here’s another resource to help you determine which website platform to use.

3). Who is your persona? Not just age, income and gender demographics, but dig a little deeper into who your typical customer is. As an example: ‘What does their typical day look like?’, ‘What do they value most?’, ‘Where do they go for information?’, etc. Some of this information can be gathered through Google Analytics. Other info can be gathered through surveys (online and in store) and online research.

4). Once you find out who your ideal persona is, how are your going to develop your website (design, content and functionality) to create a positive user experience and to accomplish your goals? 10 Quick Fixes to Build Killer Landing Pages

5). How often will you need your website updated? This is were local talent comes in. It’s fine to work with someone outside your trade area, but it’s helpful if they understand your market and it’s convenient to have a face-to-face meeting on occasion. Consider price, quality and timing. Normally, you can have two of the three (low price, high quality, fast turnaround). If you want it done fast and at a low price, often the quality will suffer. If you want quality work and at a low price, it might not happen as quickly as you’d like. However, if you’re willing to pay the standard $100 – $175 an hour to keep your website properly maintained and secure, you should expect quality work with a fairly quick turnaround (24 – 48 hours, depending on the complexity of the request).

6). Are you using your site as a lead generation tool? If the answer is yes, it’s best to engage a digital marketing agency or freelancer who has multiple capabilities such as: building lead generating landing pages, designing your email marketing campaigns, marketing to and engaging your ideal persona with social media tools, optimizing your website with an effective SEO strategy and measuring progress through Google Analytics.

7). How will you know if it’s working? Creating your online platform is much more than just building a website. You are competing with hundreds or possibly thousands of other companies online who have had an established online presence for many years. It takes time, at least six to nine months, to make even a small impact online. Of course, it depends on your digital marketing budget. If you don’t have that kind of time or thousands of dollars to spend on your monthly digital marketing budget, you might want to start with a free website builder like Wix or Strickingly. Are you trying to generate sales or donations online? What’s your baseline for sales now and by what percentage do you expect your sales or donations to increase. Consider times of the year and doing a year over year comparison.

8). How long before you lose patience? As mentioned in number 7, building an audience online takes time and money. Set reasonable goals, possibly a 10 – 15% increase over 6 – 12 months, depending on your ad budget.

9). Who is responsible for messaging? Are you hiring an agency to compose your story or are you handling this on your own? Does your content have good flow throughout each page (reading like a story)? And a bonus question, does your messaging help you accomplish your goals in question 1? Is your content telling your story in an engaging way, with keywords for effective SEO and does it help differentiate yourself from the competition? The message map below can assist you in getting started with your content strategy.

Help For Creating Your Message Map