WEBSITE DESIGN PORTFOLIO
Looking To Hire A Website Design Toronto Agency? Here Are Some Things You Need to Know
How To Plan Your Website For Success
Before we start building a website for our client, the first thing we do is to find the top 5 competitors in your industry and make note of what style they are using for their website, what types of content have they developed on their and on top of that, we will run various spy software to see what kinds of ads they are currently running. This gives us a good idea as to what is currently working for the current existing competitors and we want to use this data to better plan your website.
Chances are the top 5 competitors in your industry have already done the hard work of figuring out which style of website converts visitors into customers and they have already figured out where to spend their advertising dollars, all we do is simply take note of what's already working for them and try to improve on that.
Business is all about successful calculated actions, in the current business climate, we really need to plan carefully and take action. Your top competitors have obviously spent a lot of money testing out different versions of their website, so it makes perfect sense to just study what they have done so far and try to improve on what they have already developed. Of course, you don’t want to 100% copy them, but you do want to implement similar designs and just add your own creative touch to the overall look of the website.
Your Website is The Core of All Your Marketing Activities
Regardless of what type of marketing you do, if it’s word of mouth, newspaper ads, events or actual online marketing, the first place a customer is going to visit before they consider doing business with you, is your actual website, followed by your social media pages.
With that in mind, you want to make sure your website looks as good as possible so that when your future ideal customer visits your website, they get the impression that you are a legit player in your industry and their hard-earned cash is safe with your business. If your website looks sketchy and just doesn't have good design, people are going to click the back button and go purchase from your top competitor’s website.
As a business owner, you definitely don’t want to start your business with a cheap-looking website because it will prevent you from making sales in the future. You can spend a million dollars on YouTube commercials or just regular Google ads, but if your website doesn’t look good, you will lose money on every single person that visits your website.
Finding The Right Web Design Toronto Agency
If you already started looking for website designers in Toronto, chances are by now you are super confused as to which company you should work with. In our own opinion, you should work with a company that can help with both your website and your online marketing, because those two things go hand in hand when it comes to increasing the revenue of your business.
You can have an amazing online marketing campaign but if your website doesn’t convert those visitors into customers, you just lost out on a lot of revenue. It’s important to work with a website designer in Toronto that can help you with both areas so all of the ideas they have work synergistically together.
Should You Build A Website Yourself?
A lot of new business owners want to build their own website and be a part of the process, this can work however you need to understand that this is going to take a huge chunk of time away from your schedule. Since you don’t actually have web design experience, you will spend a lot more time than someone that builds websites regularly. If you are a young entrepreneur with all the time in the world then it could be a fun project just to learn how to build your first website on your own. However, if you are borrowing a lot of money to fund your business and you are short-staffed, the last thing you want to do is sit down for 3-4 weeks straight, trying to figure out which website platform to choose and how to actually go about executing a website for your new business.
How Much Should You Spend On A Website?
As soon as business owners hear about marketing and website design, they immediately think its going to cost them bags an bags of cash, websites these days are relatively inexpensive considering that this one piece of asset is going to keep generating revenue for the entire life of your business. So the amount you spend initially is going to be a very small percentage. In our web design Toronto agency, we offer monthly payment plans that can help you maintain your cash reserves and pay your website off at an affordable monthly rate.
Depending on the type of website you need and your specific industry, a website can cost anywhere between $2000-$5000+ again, all depending on the number of deliverables you need. But for most new businesses that are just getting started in the Greater Toronto Area, the $ 2000s range is what most business owners spend on their website.
For companies that are enterprise-level and they need advanced integrations with lots of custom web development, then it could range between $4000-$15,000+ just depending on the number of deliverables they have for the project.
Can Your Website Actually Make You Money?
For most of our clients, their website generates almost 70%-90% of their total business revenues consistently every single year. The way your website makes you money is by running a lot of ads on Google or Facebook or just doing a lot of SEO, and as a result more customers find your business first and reach out to you for your products or services.
Imagine for example you are a wedding photographer, there are 5400 searches for just 1 keyword on Google and if you rank #1 for that term, imagine how many weddings you could be booking. Let’s say that out of 5400 searches per month, you manage to book 100 weddings for the whole year which is on the low side. Each wedding is worth $3000-$5000 in revenue, so as you can see this is a pretty important chunk of money that most businesses neglect and leave on the table.
In order to position yourself for success and to have your business survive, you need to have the right marketing strategy in place to attract and convert new clients for your business.
How Much Should You Spend On Marketing?
Most business owners think that by having a store and a website that magically, customers are going to find your business and give you money. You need to understand as a business owner that marketing is going to be a forever monthly expense in your business. However its one of the very few expenses that actually helps you pay for almost everything in your entire business.
Think about it, how do you pay your overhead, your staff and your own salary? From the profits that you make from the business, how do you make profits? By getting as many customers as possible to come into your business and spend money.
If customers can’t find your business, you won’t have a business for very long. That is the sad reality. However, now is the best time to be in the business world because you can reach your idea type of client that is actively searching for your products and services.
In terms of coming up with a monthly budget for your marketing, this can vary depending on several factors in your business. For starters its important to know that the more expensive your products or services are, the easier it is to grow and scale your business.
Let’s say for example that you are a wedding photographer, the average rate is anywhere between $3000-$5000 and since it’s a servies, a large portion of it is profit. Not factoring the cost of equipment and years of training, but realistically speaking if you spend $500 on Google ads and lets say for example that you get 10 leads, that cost you $50 dollars per lead.
Out of 10 leads, let's say you close 4 deals worth $3000 each, well you just made 12K in sales on a $500 a month budget in your first month. Obviously, as you run more and more campaigns your cost per lead will drop slightly but next month if you double your marketing budget, its safe to assume that you can double your revenue. That is the power of selling high ticket products or services.
On the flip side let's say you have a barbershop and you cut hair for $30 per client, this means that your cost per lead has to be less than $30 in order for you to make a profit. This is a lot harder and can take 1-2 months of ad campaign testing in order to generate lower cost leads however as the months go by and we have more data on what keywords work well for your business, we might be able to drop that Google ad cost per lead down.
But it’s a lot harder, the good thing about this type of business is that you may not necessarily make profit on your first visit, but you just acquired a lifetime client that is going to buy from you for many years to come. Men tend to visit their barber 1x-2x per month so you develop a lot of recurring revenue and build up your client list. You may have to spend a lot of money in the first year of your business to build up a recurring client list, but after the first year, you might want to stop your ads since your schedule as a barber is already maxed out.
Your marketing budget will really depend on your overhead cost, closing rate, cost per lead and the average order value. Ideally, you want to position the numbers in a way that helps you make more money than your business is costing you monthly, this is something you will have to sit down with your marketer to work out the numbers. But generally speaking, most businesses start with a $500/ month budget and work their way up.
Difference Between SEO & Google Ads?
SEO is the process of getting your website to rank number 1 on Google without having to pay for each click, however you need to understand that ranking number 1 on Google is very difficult, it could take anywhere between 6-12 months before your site reaches the first page of Google. Once your website reaches the first page of Google and the number 1 spot, that’s when you start getting customers.
However most businesses don’t have that kinda time so they do Google Ads instead, this allows you to pay per click and allows you to show up on Google for any keyword that’s relating to your business. Now the challenge is to actually figure out which keywords are going to make you a lot of money, and which keywords are going to waste a lot of money. That’s why having a digital marketer working by your side is an asset to your business success.
How Much is Your Time Worth?
Most business owners would love the idea of running their own ad campaigns and building their own website. This is possible if you are young entrepreneur with all the time in the world, but if you are a bit older you have to realize that you simply don’t have enough time in the day to do everything in your business. It’s super hard to juggle everything, which is why you need a few key people to help you focus your time and energy on growing your business rather than working in your business.
Time is money and the slower your business moves forward, the more money it will consume.
It’s better to hire the right people and grow your business faster rather than spending all your time trying to learn everything so you can save some money here and there. Ideally you want to have 1 company to handle your website and your online marketing, 1 accountant for your yearly tax obligations and of course someone to close and sell to customers as they come into your business.
Usually the first year of the business, the owner will take care of selling to clients but as your business expands, you might want to grow and train more sales people to join your business.
Do You Need Monthly Support?
Your website is going to be a 1 time project, however when it comes to online marketing this is something that you will need on a monthly basis. As we do online marketing for your business every single month, we will be making small changes to your website in order to improve your conversion rates.
As a business owner, it’s important for you to have a company that’s constantly improving your online marketing efforts so that you never have to worry about where your next customer is going to come from. You want to open your store every day knowing that you will always have a steady flow of customers walking into your doors. Leverage other people's knowledge so that you can save time and grow your business faster.
The Right Audience For The Right Website?
When we design a website we always want to understand who is the intended audience that’s going to be engaging with this website. As a web design agency in Toronto, we take note of what colours to use, product photography, text content on your website, video content on your website, all these things help play an important role on how people behave on your website. A properly executed website can be a money-making machine that helps you grow and scale your business faster, while a poorly executed website can prevent you from making big revenues for your business.
How To Market Your Website To Get You More Customers?
Whenever we take on a new client we will run ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and see which of these platforms generate the best ROI for our clients advertising budget. Month 2 we focus on 1 platform and master it until it’s a well oiled machine.
After that we want to expand and advertise on other platforms, even if those other platforms are not as profitable it’s still good to maintain a presence since it prevents your competitors from being seen and potentially taking your customers. Also it’s good to never rely on any one source of advertising just incase something happens, you want to have other sources of client acquisition.
Does Your Website Look Good On Mobile?
To this day a lot of business owners don’t have a mobile website, almost 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices so it’s important to have a website that looks good on mobile devices. When we build websites, we automatically build mobile websites as standard. If your website does not have a mobile version, Google will automatically lower your rankings on mobile devices in favour of websites with mobile optimized websites.
Does Your Website Load Fast on Desktop and Mobile?
Believe it or not, having a slow website actually costs you money, let's say you spend $1000 on your Google ads and your website on average takes 5-10 seconds to load, 60 percent of your visitors clicked the back button, well you just lost out on a lot of potential business that could otherwise been yours simply by having a slow loading website. In our web design Toronto agency, all of our client websites are optimized to load fast. We use Amazon Web Hosting to ensure that our clients have the best hardware powering their website and we optimize and compress every single image that we upload to your website.
This is one of the most common problems we see on other websites is that their images take up too much time to load, thus lowering the average load speed of the website. Before we upload any images to our client website, we have them all compressed so that your pages load super fast.
Getting Your Website Secured
Another important ranking factor for your website is making sure, the site is secured. When you look at your website URL you will notice a green lock, and the beginning will say HTTPS, this means that your website is secure. If you don’t see this, then your website URL will say “unsecure”, by not securing your website, Google is less likely to place your website on the first page of Google. This is something standard we do on all of our client websites at no additional cost. If you currently have a website, consider having it secured.
How to Find Amazing Free Photography For Your Website
As a new business owner with a brand new website, chances are you are not going to have the best photography on your site just yet, so consider having some professional stock photography integrated to your website. You can choose free images that are available as public domain, the only downside is that you will have less variety to choose from while the paid images have the best selection, bear in mind that paid photography is relatively inexpensive. It can range from $0.50 to a dollar depending on which package you choose. The more images you buy, the cheaper it gets. Here are links from a few stock photography websites we use for our clients.
Free Stock Photo Websites
Paid Stock Photo Websites
Should You Start Doing SEO For Your Website?
As a new business owner, you need sales fast, you can’t afford to wait around until your website ranks number 1 on Google, this is a long term marketing strategy and there is a time and a place for this action.
The first thing you should do is Google Ads, by doing Google ads we can get your site number 1 on Google and only pay per click, don’t worry we can put a daily cap, so only a specified daily budget will get spent. For example, if we have a $20/day budget on Google ads, once you get $20 worth of clicks, your Google ads will no longer show, meaning you won’t get charged more than that.
Over the course of the next few months, as you start getting more and more clients from Google, we can then start working on your SEO strategy to help you rank number #1 on Google. Ideally, you want to be in a position where you are doing Google Ads and doing SEO at the same time so that you can rank 2 times on the first page of Google.
Are Social Media Ads Worth the Money?
Yes, there are a lot of opportunities to make money with social media ads, however not all niches work well with Facebook & Instagram advertising. It really depends on your niche, we would have to learn about your business in-depth to understand which advertising network is best for your specific industry.
Will Online Marketing Solve All Your Money Problems?
For the most part yes, the purpose of online marketing is to bring in qualified customers to your business. However, you need a great product, great website and amazing support and sales team that can actually make use of the additional clients that will be reaching out to your business.
If you sell really expensive services and your team is not properly trained on how to handle objections, how to do client presentations, you are going to have a hard time. From our own experience the businesses that do amazing with online marketing, are the ones that have an amazing support and sales team. The only exception is if you have an e-commerce store, you don’t really need a sales team, your website does the majority of the selling for you.
Choosing the Right Location for Your Business
If you are located within the Greater Toronto Area, we would suggest opening up your business somewhere within the borders of Toronto, the reason being is regardless of what type of business you are, the majority of people will Google using Toronto based keywords.
For example, the people that live in Brampton will most likely search for “real estate agents Toronto” vs “real estate agents Brampton” for unknown reasons, since Toronto is the largest city, people tend to search for things in Toronto. There are certain exceptions to this rule, however for the most part, open your business somewhere in Toronto and you will do pretty well.
Also, since all the high traffic keywords are Toronto based, later on, if you decide to do SEO to show up for keywords relating to Toronto, it's a lot easier if your business is actually located in Toronto, rather than any other city since Google prefers to show businesses that are actually located in the city that the person is searching for.
Home Based VS Brick and Mortar
This is probably one of the most important decisions you will make in your business so it's important to think about it carefully before you execute. If you are a barber, wedding photographer, accountant or any other service-based business, you can get away with not having an actual retail store depending on the type of business you decide to open up. This can save you a lot of cash and will give you the opportunity to spend more of it on marketing and getting clients.
You can also test out your business and see if you like running that specific type of business and once you grow your monthly revenues to a reasonable amount, you can safely open up your own office or store. Do talk to a lawyer or local accountant about the legalities of working from home, but for the most part, we work with a lot of clients that run their business from their home office.
It saves them anywhere between 30k-50k per year on the overhead that can actually go towards paying off your mortgage. On top of that, since you don’t have as many expenses as your competitors, you can charge less and close more clients.
How You Save Money By Hiring Pros
It’s totally understandable that we all want to buy products and services for the least possible dollar amount, unfortunately, with somethings, you can't really afford to underspend because it usually ends up biting you in the rear and of course, costing you more in the long run.
A lot of business owners get themselves a cheap-looking website and when they run ads, start to wonder why no one is buying anything on their website so they are constantly in the process of finding new marketers and web designers, working with them for 1-2 months and firing them because they are not getting any results. Now of course some companies in the industry will overcharge a lot, so it's going to be a challenge to find a web design Toronto agency that can price you fairly for their services and still deliver great results. Don’t be in a rush to hire the cheapest priced company to work with.
Refer back to your vision on why you decided to create this business and the level of success you are trying to achieve, be realistic with your expectations. Do you really want to work with a marketing company that is supposed to help you reach your first million dollars in sales if they only charge you a couple of bucks per month? You have to wonder if they were so confident in the results they can deliver for you, why would they charge so low.
Really take the time to think about the outcome you are trying to achieve for your business and assess if the web design Toronto agency you want to hire can help you reach your goal. You want to be in a position where you find the right key people in the industry and bring them on your team so that they can help you reach your business goals faster.
Should You Hire a Mega-Sized Marketing Agency or Small Marketing Agency?
This is a common question we come across as a web design company in Toronto. Clients ask what is the difference between a mega-sized marketing company vs a small boutique agency.
Managing your marketing campaigns on a monthly basis will take a certain level of work and dedication. You will need an actual person to be on top of this if you actually want to see results. Let’s say you go and hire a very large marketing company that claims to work with 100,000 clients, large office space in the middle of downtown and probably around 200-500 staff members, at most depending on the size of the marketing budget the average employee will be able to handle anywhere between 10-30 accounts on a monthly basis, which means that a large percentage of client accounts that are seen as low priority is going to be ignored, simply because they don’t have the actual staff to accommodate the excess workload.
If you look at the reviews from some of the largest nationally recognized marketing companies, you will notice that they have thousands upon thousands of bad reviews. Working with small business owners is something that we take very seriously and we only take on clients if we have the additional time available in our schedule, this helps us make sure that we have a high success rate on every single client that we take on in our web design Toronto agency.
Before you even think about starting a specific kind of business, consider hiring a web design Toronto agency like ours, to conduct market research on your behalf. We can give you accurate data on how competitive your industry is and if there is enough demand for your products or services in the local area before you even get into that business. We may even be able to recommend another similar industry that has a lot of growth with minimal barriers to entry. The last thing you want to do is get into an overly saturated business and watch your hard-earned dollars get wasted.
The Difference Between You and Your Number #1 Competitor
If you are just getting started in your new business you want to make sure you can compete with the existing players in the market because right now you have some catching up to do. We’ve seen brand new clients dominate their niche within 2-3 years so it's entirely possible, it’s a matter of you having the right work ethic. You want to learn how to become a master at sales since this is going to be an everyday task. There are lots of sales training programs that we can recommend so that you have the best chances of closing all the clients that our marketing services will generate for you.
You want to also start strong by having a great looking website that makes your customers say wow when they first visit. Next, you want to have a great Google ad specialist that’s going to help you attract the right type of customers that are the most interested in your products and services. Take action on the above-mentioned advice and you will be on the right track to growing and scaling your brand new business. If you have any more questions, feel free to visit our contact us page and reach out to us. We respond to all emails within 1-2 business days.
Want to know more about SEO?
Search Engine Land
Search Engine Journal
Search Engine Watch
Neil Patel’s Blog
Content Marketing Institute
Other Great Websites That Talk About SEO
Free Stock Photography Resources
Paid Stock Photography Resources
Best SEO Blogs For Free Training
Neil Patel: https://neilpatel.com/blog/
The Moz Blog: https://moz.com/blog
Search Engine Journal: https://searchengineland.com/
Search Engine Roundtable: http://www.seroundtable.com/
SEMRush Blog: https://www.semrush.com/blog/
Yoast Blog: https://yoast.com/seo-blog/
Google Web Master Central: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/
Content Marketing Institute: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/topic/seo/
Search Engine Watch: http://searchenginewatch.com/
Quick Sprout: https://www.quicksprout.com/blog/
Best Web Design Blogs for Free Business Education
Smashing Magazine: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/
Web Design Depot: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/
Site Point: https://www.sitepoint.com/
Tutorial Zine: https://tutorialzine.com/
Designs Shack: https://designshack.net/
Best YouTube Channels For Entrepreneurs
Sunny Lenarduzzi: https://www.youtube.com/user/SunnyLenarduzzi/about
Dan Lok: https://www.youtube.com/user/vanentrepreneurgroup
Grant Cardone: https://www.youtube.com/user/GrantCardone
Neil Patel: https://www.youtube.com/user/neilvkpatel
Gary Vee: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOEMEjL1GBJ41uCWur5VXWQ
Patrick Bet David: https://www.youtube.com/user/patrickbetdavid
Sam Ovens: https://www.youtube.com/user/samovenstv
Silicon Valley Girl: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiq1FIgtEK7LRAOB1JXTPig
Graham Stephan: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV6KDgJskWaEckne5aPA0aQ
Entrepreneur Magazine: https://www.youtube.com/user/EntrepreneurOnline
Content Editing Tools & Plagiarism Protection
Duplicate Checker: https://www.duplichecker.com/
How to Get Your Website HTTPS Enabled
More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTPS
GoDaddy SSL Certificate Purchase: https://ca.godaddy.com/web-security/ssl-certificate
Social Media Profile Creation
Facebook Business Page Setup: https://www.facebook.com/business/pages/set-up
Instagram Business Page Setup: https://business.instagram.com/getting-started
LinkedIn Business Page Setup: https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/linkedin-pages
Pinterest Business Page Setup: https://business.pinterest.com/en/creating-your-account
Twitter Business Page Setup: https://business.twitter.com/en/basics/create-a-twitter-business-profile.html
Business Directory Listings
Google My Business: https://www.google.com/intl/en_ca/business/
Yelp Business Listing: https://www.google.com/intl/en_ca/business/
Yellow Pages Listing: https://business.yellowpages.ca/onboarding/#/search
Apple Maps Listing: https://mapsconnect.apple.com/
Better Business Bureau: https://www.bbb.org/en/us
Angies List: http://angieslist.com/
Yahoo Local: https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local
Best SEO Tools For Your Website
SEM RUSH: https://www.semrush.com/
Google Search Console: https://search.google.com/search-console/about
Ahrefs Backlink Checker: https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker
Yoast SEO Tools: https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/
Keyword Everywhere: https://keywordseverywhere.com/
Image Compression Tool: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-smushit/
Google Analytics: https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/
Google Page Speed Insights: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Best Video Editing Software
Final Cut Pro: https://www.apple.com/ca/final-cut-pro/
Adobe Premiere Pro: https://www.adobe.com/ca/products/premiere.html
Best Networking Event Apps For Your Business
Event Bright: https://www.eventbrite.ca
Legal Policy Generator for Your Website – Always consult your lawyer before uploading any legal documents to your website
GDPR Policy Generator: https://www.gdprprivacynotice.com
Refund Policy Generator: https://www.shopify.ca/tools/policy-generator/refund
Terms of Service Policy Generator: https://www.shopify.ca/tools/policy-generator/terms-and-conditions
Best Websites to Buy Your Domain & Tools
Google Domains: https://domains.google/intl/en_ca/
Best Payment Processors
Shopify Payments: https://www.shopify.ca/payments