A simple search on the internet will provide you with multiple choices when it comes to appointing a web designer or design firm to look after the development of your website. One of the choices you will have to make is whether to go with a local designer or to look further afield.
Certainly, with the internet being so commonplace as a business tool nowadays, it may seem as though there’s no real need to have face to face communication with the people who supply products and services to you – Amazon, ebay, Argos etc certainly proving this point when it comes to product purchases.
And there are many websites I’ve designed over the years where I’ve only had email and phone conversations with the client, without any communication problems ensuing as a result.
However, when it comes to something as important as your company website – your “shop window on the world” – you may well be of the belief that the personal touch is going to work best for you, through building up the sort of rapport with your designer that can really only come from physically meeting them.
Which is where you’ll probably be looking to work with someone local to you, rather than having to travel miles out of the way to attend these meetings.
For myself, I have a range of locations I work from. London is obviously the biggest market for my web design services so I work from there. But I also focus on a couple of other regions that I find I can easily provide design expertise to – Hereford and Bristol.
Hereford is a town to the west of London, lying approximately 15 miles east of the English border with Wales, and is somewhere I’ve been helping businesses with their websites for several years.
Bristol, too, is west of London. It is counted as being in south west England – pretty much directly south of Hereford across the River Severn / Bristol Channel – and is another area where my website design skills have been put to good use for helping to promote local companies and organisations.
Indeed, there are plenty of contacts I’ve made in these areas that I’ve never actually met up with in person, but my reputation and links with the different types of business in these places has led to my attracting a constant stream of enquiries – whether it be for a web designer in London, a website developer in Hereford, a web design company in Bristol etc.
So what are the main advantages of going local?
1) Face to face communication
If desired, you can more easily arrange to meet up with you designer if they are based in a location that you can get to without too much hassle – or that they are based near enough to you to be able to visit you easily, such as with my clients in London, Bristol or Hereford.
2) Trustworthy reputation
Chances are you may know some of the other businesses that the local web designer has worked with, which may make it easier for you to get in touch with them for references and to discover what the working relationship is going to be like.
3) Possible networking opportunities
As a result of my having provided web design services to multiple clients in London, I’ve been able to suggest relationships between clients of mine that may prove beneficial to the other client. This has actually worked out well for web clients of mine across the regions I focus on, with a car spares firm in Bristol developing an additional side to their business through being able to offer automotive locksmith services through a company I knew of that were based in London.
Similarly, two of my design clients in the Bristol area ended up forging a strategic partnership based on their respective specialities – none of which would have happened if they hadn’t been using a designer with knowledge of other businesses in their local area.
4) Community spirit
Not always something we associate with the world of commerce, but I’ve found that there is a great sense of satisfaction through being able to work with local companies – whether in the guise of me providing design work for them or them providing their services to me – which just doesn’t happen when you work with a larger, more remote organisation.
5) Additional services
Another great thing about using someone nearby for your web design is that they are almost certainly already in touch with other internet-related businesses that deal with things in your locality. So, for instance, when you want to promote your site through SEO or Facebook advertising or something, you’ll want to use the same local-based thought process as you did when choosing your designer – a process which can actually be shortened through simply asking the designer in the first place! (I’ve been able to help many clients over the years in this regard through my association with local internet marketing specialists).
6) Local knowledge
If your business is primarily focused on the local area, it makes sense that you should use someone in that area to help you out with your website. There are things that will be unique to Bristol, Hereford, London, Glasgow, Manchester etc that people from outside these regions may well be unaware of, which is where the local knowledge can come into its own when developing your site.
There are, of course, good reasons for using different types of design firm, but if you’re serious about promoting yourself online, there’s no reason not to look locally as your first port of call. And several reasons – as above – that you should consider your own area before looking further afield.