Your website is your ambassador on the Internet.  A well-designed site goes a long way towards establishing your business as successful and professional. So why would you want your company’s website to look just like your competitor’s? You don’t! But when was the last time you checked?

Sadly, many business owners don’t realize they’ve fallen victim to cookie-cutter web design until someone tells them, “Hey, your site looks just like this one… and that one… and this one…” You’re busy running your organization and generating revenue; it’s hard to find time to check on your web designer. However, researching your developer is essential to ensure your website is uniquely designed for your business.

To make that task easier, we’ve assembled a list of important points for researching your web designer. Whether you’re designing a new site or refreshing your current one, these tips can save you from replicating your competitors’ websites. Consider this your due diligence to make sure your business stands out from the online crowd.

1.    Does your website designer ‘specialize’ in a specific industry?

If your website designer “specializes” in your industry, you’re running the risk of getting a website that looks exactly like a thousand others. It’s possible these designers use one website template on every site they build. That means your potential customers may recognize that your site is in the same format as your competitor’s and move on. Differentiating yourself online highlights your company’s value and branding. Remember, one size doesn’t fit all.

2.    Do they use the same images on each site?

Website designers re-using a template often use the same stock images on every site they build. This is a red flag for users who visit both your page and your competition’s. If they recognize the same images and photos being used on both sites, they’ll conclude you’re using a generic website template and that your business isn’t unique enough for their tastes. Internet browsers seek out personalized experiences, something only a website specifically designed for your company can provide.

3.    Does your website designer understand your business goals?

Many designers want to build elaborate, eye-catching designs heavy on the “wow” factor. This may not be consistent with your business’s needs, budget or time constraints. If your designer insists on animation, videos and complex navigation, do they have your business goals in mind or their own? Look for designers that can build websites that are both user friendly and pleasing to the eye. Their past work will be easy to navigate, have clear marketing calls to action and won’t be crowded with too many icons or buttons. These features make on impact on your visitors, convincing them to come back and tell others to check it out as well.

4.    Do they understand search engine rankings?

 Search engines penalize duplicate content. If your website boasts the same content as your competition, you’re at risk of having lower rankings in search engine results. Your page needs custom content written in natural English to achieve better search engine results and get noticed by more prospects.

5.    Will your site be mobile optimized?

 In 2011, 10% of all Internet browsing took place on smartphones and tablets. In 2012 that number increased to 20%, and continues growing every year. If your website doesn’t display correctly on mobile devices, your users will most likely become frustrated and leave. Even worse, they’ll visit your competitors’ mobile-optimized sites. You cannot afford to lose potential customers this way. Investing in a designer that keeps up with emerging  internet trends helps you convert your website’s users into loyal customers.

Internet consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, making good website design a necessity for converting these prospects to sales. You deserve a website that’s as unique as your business.  Using the tips in this blog will help your company achieve success online.