Your website is often the first thing your customers see when they’re searching for a business or service on the web. As the face of your organization, your website needs to be attractive and functional, offering the latest features that users now expect. To plan and design a site that both reflects your company’s mission and values and appeals to customers takes a professional web designer. While free online services can help people set up websites, web designers can provide a unique solution made specifically to meet customers’ personal or business needs.
Most web designers offer a wide variety of services to make your website aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Modern web design must be mobile-friendly and scalable, capable of expanding to include a blog, social media sites, and even video streaming; web designers are experts at integrating various web technologies. They can build the site, add functionality, test it, launch it on a live server, and track and maintain its performance.
In addition to web design and graphic design, some web design providers also offer development and security services, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and management, logo design, site maintenance, domain registration and hosting, protection against malware, and digital marketing and content services.
A good app developer can help you if your company wants to build a new mobile app for customers but you don’t have an IT or development team on staff. First, decide whether you want an app made for the iPhone or Android phones or both, then start your search by finding an app developer with expertise in your chosen platform. Ask for samples of their work, such as code samples, that can be tested on open source repository sites like GitLab and GitHub. You can also interview firms that specialize in mobile app development for small companies or startups; they should be able to offer examples of different types of apps they’ve built, and are likely to have expertise in a range of technologies and platforms. Before you sign a contract, make sure to ask prospective app developers these questions:
- What other apps have you developed? Make sure the apps in their portfolio reflect the type of work you want to have done for your company. It’s especially helpful if they understand your industry.
- What technology and development services do you offer? Ideally, an app developer will conduct a business analysis, develop the app, perform quality testing and make sure the launch is successful.
Will you maintain the app after it’s launched? Releasing an app is only the beginning. You’ll need someone to maintain it too, releasing updates and fixing bugs.
The web design company you choose must be able to interpret your company’s mission and identity and turn it into an appealing website that connects with potential customers. They must help you reach your target audience and meet your business goals. A web design agency should have on staff both talented web designers, with fresh ideas and extensive technical and creative skills, and a marketing team that knows how to drive traffic to your site, encourage visitor engagement, and convert visitors into customers. Web designers should be able to build in search optimization and integrate your site with a content management system and e-commerce tools. Look, too, for a website design company that understands responsive design and can optimize your website for mobile devices and desktop browsers. The right web design company understand current design and website trends, has experience building sites in a variety of industries (not just yours), and has an expansive portfolio of live websites. Finally, don’t simply hire the cheapest bidder — in web design, as in all things, you get what you pay for.
Software development is a serious investment for any company, costing thousands of dollars for even basic apps. It’s tough to estimate costs because there are so many variables to each project: user requirements, feature set, complexity, size, etc. Mobile apps can cost from $20,000 to more than $100,000, depending on what you need the app to do. The average national cost of an app developer is $237.50 per hour, but prices vary widely depending on location, type of app, features, and much, much more.
To get a sense of what hiring an app developer might cost, decide first what kind of software you need. In general, app developers charge hourly fees based on the language they’ll use to code the software. Freelancers cost less than large software development firms, typically charging an average of:
- Basic C development: $75-$150 per hour.
- Front-end web development: $50-$75 per hour.
- Back-end web development: $75-$150 per hour.
- API development: $75-$150 per hour.
- Desktop app development: $30-$100 per hour.
- Mobile app development: $30-$150 per hour.
Larger software vendors charge much more, often as much as $300 to $400 per hour.
Apps are usually built by software developers who specialize in mobile software. They may be experts in just one mobile software development language or know several, and may have expertise in front-end or back-end web development. No matter what kind of phone or tablet you carry, there are hundreds of apps for it — and new ones seem to be added to the app stores every day. Before you hire an app developer, it’s important to have specific goals for your app and a clear idea of its purpose. When your company is ready to build an app, you can hire a freelance app developer or work with an app development company that can also support the app after it’s launched. It’s important to know whether you’ll need the developer to provide ongoing maintenance and support or if your internal IT team can maintain it after its launch.