The legalization of recreational marijuana in more than 18 states has made cannabis the fastest growing industry in America. With more states slated to legalize marijuana use in the near future, the cannabis market will see record growth. More than 50 percent of marijuana users are millennials, and millennials do 60 percent of their shopping online. A strong online presence is necessary to build a thriving CBD business in a digital post-pandemic world.
An appealing and well-functioning website not only helps you build a powerful online presence but can also boost brand perception, grow your customer base, and increase sales. More than 80 percent of consumers visit a business’s website before making a purchase decision. You need professional help from a top-notch cannabis web design agency to build a unique online hub that can turn many of these visitors into customers.
With so many digital marketing agencies offering web design services, how can you determine which one is best for your CBD business? Look for these factors to choose the best CBD web design company:
1. Understand Cannabis Web Design Regulations
Although legalized in some states, cannabis is still illegal under federal law. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, placing it in the same category as heroin and LSD. A web design agency should have in-depth knowledge of the latest cannabis regulations to build you a compliant website. A cannabis web design agency with insufficient experience in the industry can jeopardize your business.
How can you determine if an agency is knowledgeable in building compliant CBD websites? Ask the agency for a list of CBD websites they’ve built, and then check out the websites to analyze their content. If you see the following warning signs on its clients’ websites, avoid the so-called cannabis web design agency to prevent run-ins with the law:
- The websites do not have an age verification system to ensure consumers are over 21 years old
- Websites do not display a valid license that indicates a legal cannabis business
- Market products to a national audience
- Claim products are safe
- Has imagery with cartoon characters or artwork that could appeal to consumers below the age of 21
- Employ designs, images, and illustrations that encourage recreational marijuana use
2. Develop a Scalable Web Architecture
Cannabis is a high-growth industry. The cannabis market is projected to grow to $43 billion in 2025, up from $10.4 billion in 2018. If your website can’t handle this growth, it will cause performance issues and service disruptions that drive customers away. You need a scalable website architecture that grows with you, eliminating site reliability issues that cause revenue loss and a drop in Google’s rankings.
Infrastructure flexibility is one of the most important points to keep in mind when choosing a cannabis web design agency. Before you hire a CBD web development company, ask them what technologies they employ to improve site reliability. To choose the best CBD web design company, look for one that offers cloud-based hosting solutions. A cloud-based website provides infinite scalability to help you grow without limits.
3. Build ADA-Compliant Websites
From alleviating depression in visually impaired individuals to relieving pain in patients with muscular dystrophy, many people with disabilities use cannabis to improve their quality of life. Cannabis businesses must create universally accessible websites that can accommodate the needs of consumers with disabilities. To serve anyone and everyone, you need to hire a cannabis web design agency that knows how to build ADA-compliant websites.
ADA ⏤ or the Americans with Disabilities Act ⏤ specifies a set of web design standards to make online content accessible to disabled users. Before you sign on with a cannabis web development agency, make sure their websites comply with ADA’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). Accessible website design not only expands your customer base but will also help you avoid web accessibility lawsuits.
4. Have Expertise in Brand Identity Design
Due to its nascence and promising future, the cannabis market has become one of the most competitive industries. There were 28,000 cannabis businesses in 2017, and that number is set to increase as more states embrace marijuana legalization. You must differentiate your brand in a sea of competition to stand out and succeed. To gain a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace, you need a cannabis web design agency with expertise in brand identity design.
Brand identity designers research every client to find their unique attributes, then design custom websites that set them apart from the competition. To determine if an agency has talented brand identity designers, analyze their portfolio. Does each website have unique logos, color themes, text styles, and messaging? Or do they have a cookie-cutter design? Choose a CBD web design company that develops tailor-made solutions for each client to make your brand top-of-mind.
5. Make Voice Search-Friendly Websites
Millennials are fueling the cannabis industry. With more than half of cannabis purchases made by millennials, targeting this demographic is crucial for maximizing your sales. In 2019, 45 percent of US millennials said they used voice search for shopping. As speech recognition technology improves and more households adopt smart speakers, voice search will continue to grow. You must optimize your site for voice search to serve millennial and next-generation consumers.
To future-proof your CBD business, you need a cannabis web design agency that is adept at making voice search-friendly websites. Ask each agency what tactics they use to optimize your ecommerce business for voice searches. Listing your company on Google My Business, submitting a sitemap to Google, and using schema metadata are some strategies you want to hear before hiring the CBD web development company.
6. Present Cannabis Design Case Studies
Many traditional digital marketing agencies are getting into the cannabis industry to cash in on the Green Rush. Traditional design strategies, however, can’t help CBD merchants thrive in a highly complex and regulated industry. So how can you tell if a cannabis web design agency is a newcomer or an established service provider in the industry? Expert CBD web development agencies prove their expertise with numerous cannabis design case studies.
Last but most important of all, you must see plenty of successful case studies before choosing the best CBD web design company. Case studies demonstrate that the agency knows what it takes to help your cannabis business grow within the confines of the law. The agency must present at least five successful CBD web design case studies to prove a track record of excellence. If an agency can’t provide a couple of successful projects, look elsewhere.
Learn More About the Best Cannabis Web Design Agencies
From regulated web design to elastic site architecture, cannabis businesses need specialized services to overcome industry-specific challenges. Most digital marketing agencies don’t have the expertise required to help you navigate the complexities of this high-risk industry. You need an experienced web development company to build a compliant online storefront so you can grow with minimal risk.
On your quest to find the best cannabis web design agency, use the factors discussed in this post to choose the right company for your ecommerce needs. If you need more guidance to ease the selection process, let us help. Best Web Design Service Companies offers an in-depth ranking of the top digital marketing agencies to help narrow your search. You can also check out our blogs to learn more about the latest developments in the world of web design.