Elevate Your Brand With a Professionally-Built Cannabis WebsiteDiscover what professional web design can do for your cannabusiness - plus our list of the best cannabis and CBD website designers.
Your website is your potential customers’ first impression of your company. A professional, beautifully-styled website that clearly showcases your company’s offerings is vital to establish credibility and entice visitors to buy from or work with you. In this article, we dive deeply into what professional cannabis web designers can do for your business, what to know before hiring a design firm, and how to select the best web designer to bring your unique cannabusiness to life.
What Professional Web Design Can Do for Your Cannabusiness
Your website’s entire purpose is driving business. Even if you have a good eye for style, don’t underestimate the power of a skilled marketer’s touch. Web designers with a strong marketing background know how to select the color schemes, imagery, wording, layouts, and even fonts that will elicit the desired response in your soon-to-be clients.
Streamlined, On-Brand Appearance
Everything about your website must accurately reflect your brand. If anything is off (even small details like inconsistent color schemes or mixed fonts) visitors will feel it, even if they don’t consciously realize why. Or, even worse, they’ll notice these inconsistencies outright, lowering your company’s professionalism and trustworthiness in their eyes. Skilled web designers have a trained eye for this consistency and can give your site an effortlessly streamlined, cohesive feel.
Of course, even the most beautiful website will turn off visitors if it’s too slow or difficult to use. Well-built websites must be constructed on high-quality code that won’t constantly break, run nice and fast, and have a layout that feels easy and intuitive to navigate and use.
An in-depth understanding of the legal cannabis market and current laws and regulations surrounding cannabis, CBD, or ancillary marketing and commerce is critically important. Each country and state where cannabis is legal has its own highly-specific rules and regulations regarding imagery and wording disallowed in cannabis and CBD marketing.
For example, Canadian companies may only present factual information about cannabis products. Content that comes across as “promoting” cannabis use is forbidden. Organizations like the USA’s FTC (Federal Trade Commission) can and will fine cannabis and CBD websites discovered making legally disallowed claims. These fines can be steep enough to bankrupt a business, so the importance of compliance expertise cannot be overstated!
An attractive, well-organized website won’t do much for your business if no one ever sees it. People actively searching for your product or service are far more likely to come across your website if it’s SEO optimized. SEO-savvy web designers know how to use keywords and an array of other marketing and design techniques to drive relevant organic traffic to your site.
Poised for Growth
It’s always wise to leave room for future growth, expansion, or alterations. Whether you eventually add new product lines, open up additional dispensary locations, or decide to shift your business in an entirely new direction, your website must be capable of expanding and shifting right along with it.
Secure and Supported
Periodic updates are necessary and changes are inevitable. Website maintenance and ongoing support from someone who can handle these updates without breaking your site are essential. Additionally, familiarity with and application of current webpage security measures is crucial to keeping your website visitors and their personal data safe. This is especially important if your website has an online shopping cart.
Integratable Menu (for dispensaries)
All of the best dispensary websites include fully-integrated menus. Large dispensary aggregator sites can share your entire dispensary menu in an easily searchable format, which is certainly an attractive option. However, there is a degree of risk in sending your visitors offsite – particularly to a website that also shows off your local competitors’ offerings. Integrating your inventory system so your menu is showcased directly on your website can keep potential customers from leaving (and potentially getting distracted by your competitors’ menus!).
Since most internet browsing now takes place on smartphones, search engines focus on data from the mobile versions of websites to determine page ranking. For both of these reasons, a mobile-friendly website is critically important. Your website should look and feel similarly when viewed on any device – mobile, tablet, or desktop. It’s worth noting that investing in the development of your website’s mobile version is typically far less expensive than building an entirely separate app for ease of mobile use.
Who Should Hire a Professional Cannabis Web Designer?
Nearly any cannabusiness can benefit from investing in a high-quality website – including dispensaries, delivery services, cultivators, manufacturers, processors, distributors, testing labs, medical marijuana clinics, cannabis cafes and lounges, smoke shops, and all types of ancillary businesses (including dispensary security firms, cannabis business insurers, payment processors, product packaging designers, and many others).
What to Know Before You Get Started
Before you arrive at an initial cannabis web design consultation appointment, knowing precisely what your website goals and stylistic preferences are is essential. To ensure your finalized website matches your vision, here are the bases to cover in a web design consultation:
Your Audience and Goals
Everything about your website must cater to the needs and desires of your target market. But you can’t effectively market to them if you haven’t defined who they are! Are you targeting people who identify with cannabis primarily as a healthcare product? As a luxury good? As a groovy social lubricant for parties? Likewise, ancillary businesses must present their services in a way that conveys not only professionalism and trustworthiness, but true expertise in and care for the cannabis industry.
The Look and Feel You Want
Do some research before meeting with a cannabis web design firm, and find samples of website layouts and styles you like. Because a web designer’s interpretation of terms like “sleek,” “fun,” or “minimalist” may not align with your own, having solid reference points can be immensely helpful in planning the website of your dreams.
Unless your website will be built by a marketing team tasked with creating your company’s branding from the ground up, plan on showing up with your established brand assets at the ready. Consistency in everything from color palettes to fonts and logos goes a long way in creating an air of trustworthiness and quality, while avoiding that “thrown together” look.
At the very least, your logo can be a great stylistic starting point. Everything from font and color choices to the types of shapes, textures, and supporting graphics used throughout your website can coordinate with and complement elements of your logo.
Having professionally-shot photos of your products, staff, farm, facility, etc. ready at the start of website production is also wise. When it comes to photos, aim for quality over quantity. Give your cannabis web designer plenty of images to work with, but understand that a smaller number of high-quality images is nearly always better than an enormous folder of amateurish shots.
Trust in the Experts
Don’t forget why you’re hiring a cannabis web design expert in the first place. Be prepared to listen to the designer’s advice and suggestions. Business owners may have stylistic visions or organization ideas that simply won’t translate well to a real-life website. While your web designer’s goal is bringing your unique vision to life, there are limits on what can feasibly (and affordably) be built into a website. A good cannabis website designer will be honest about limitations and suggest alternate ways to achieve your goals and ideas.
Cannabis Web Design Options
All it takes is a simple Google search to realize that cannabis and CBD website building options are near endless. From big-name DIY platforms and cannabis industry-specific marketing firms to freelancers of varying quality on every gigging site, which option will provide the best return on your investment?
- Web Design and Marketing Firms: High-end large and mid-size cannabis web design and marketing firms bring considerable experience and expertise to the table, with extensive portfolios backing them up. With a larger team on deck, good web design firms are capable of delivering beautiful results in a timely fashion, and they often provide ongoing support for bug fixes or future upgrades. Full-service marketing firms can handle every aspect of your branding from the ground up, while web design-specific firms focus on creating around your existing branding.
High-end cannabis web designers may be pricier than hiring a freelancer or attempting to build a website yourself. But a quality website is worth as much as you can afford. Your website serves as the first impression of your company, products, or services to potential buyers, clients, or business partners. A dysfunctional, cheap-looking website may, at worst, scare off potential customers or investors and, at the very least, subconsciously damage your credibility in their eyes.
- Freelance Web Designers: Cannabis web design freelancers offer the opportunity to custom-build a website from the ground up, often at lower rates than large web design firms. However, when hiring a freelance web designer, due diligence is a necessity. Without the backing of a large firm, the sole responsibility for your project lies with that single person, so look for someone with a solid track record of following through and delivering a quality product. Before any work on the project begins, always get a detailed contract, complete with deadlines and clearly itemized costs – and never, ever hire a freelancer without a verifiable portfolio.
While it is possible to find great web designers pitching their services on gigging websites, we strongly recommend sticking with web designers who, at the very least, have their own website to show as a solid sample of their work, and, again, can provide a verifiable portfolio.
- DIY Websites: It may be tempting to put together your website on a do-it-yourself platform like Wix or HubSpot, as they are relatively simple to use and allow you to build an entire site for little to no cost. Unfortunately, the cons typically outweigh the low cost in the end. Unless you have considerable web design and marketing expertise of your own, designing a DIY cannabis website that looks professional, high-end, and delivers a top-notch user experience can be much more difficult and nuanced than it appears. DIY website building software seldom offers significant technical or design assistance, ultimately leaving users to figure everything out themselves.
What to Look For in a Cannabis Web Designer
As the market for legal cannabis continues its rapid expansion, a myriad of website designers are jumping in, hoping to capitalize on this exciting new industry. With so many options, selecting a web designer to work with can be overwhelming. Make sure whoever you hire checks all of these boxes:
- Cannabis Industry Expertise – First and foremost, a cannabis or CBD web designer must have experience with and expertise surrounding the cannabis industry. Not only will your site be better if it’s backed by a solid understanding of your product and target market, but compliance with local and national cannabis marketing and commerce laws is essential to the safety and success of your business.
- Design and Marketing Expertise – Likewise, web design and marketing expertise are crucial for a well-designed, well-built website with excellent user experience and marketability in mind. Take a look through the design firm’s website and portfolio to see how you feel about the style, usability, and other details of their work.
- Care For Your Vision – If you’re already envisioning how you’d like your website to look and the feelings you want to evoke in your visitors, ensure your chosen designer “gets” your vision and will strive to create it for you. Don’t be afraid to consult multiple designers before signing on the dotted line. A website is a major component of branding and customer relationship buildiing, and a designer who can bring your company’s true style and mission to life is vital.
- Budget-Friendly – Web design services can vary widely in scope and cost. Don’t forget to factor website creation into your startup costs and consider how much you can continually budget for hosting and long term upkeep.
- Timeline – The designer you work with must be capable of getting your website online when you need it. Ensure that any deadlines or other time-sensitive considerations are clearly outlined in your contract.
- Excellent Reputation and Portfolio – High-quality cannabis web designers will be proud to show off their work and their portfolios will speak for themselves. However, it’s always advisable to seek out references and reviews of any cannabis or CBD website designer you consider working with – to ensure their beautiful product is delivered by a team that’s punctual, easy to work with, and dedicated to bringing clients’ visions to life. To help you start your search, we’ve compiled a list of top-notch cannabis and CBD web designers that we like and recommend.
Our Recommended Cannabis Web Designers
Hybrid Marketing Co.
Hybrid Marketing Co. is a Denver-based cannabis marketing firm with a selective approach, ensuring that each client it takes on is a match with its own company culture and methodology. Hybrid’s standout team of experts draws on strong values, passion, and outside-the-box creativity to custom-build each client’s design and marketing services around their long- and short-term goals and specialized business needs. Hybrid’s talented web design and development team leads cannabis clients through the ins-and-outs of crafting effective, compliant websites that make a stellar first impression. Hybrid also offers a full suite of branding, content creation, and other essential cannabis marketing strategies.
Range Marketing is a niche web design and SEO firm with an enormous wealth of dedicated dispensary web design and SEO knowledge to draw on. Since 2013, Range Marketing has perfected its own proprietary technologies and strategies, helping local and multi-state dispensary clients alike gain search visibility among their target audiences, while anchoring them to the web with beautifully-developed websites. Range Marketing is headquartered in Buffalo, New York and services dispensaries throughout the US.
One of Canada’s top marketing firms, WebMarketers provides full-service online marketing services to several niche markets, including dispensaries and other cannabis businesses. WebMarketers covers every aspect of the online cannabusiness marketing experience, including e-commerce-friendly web design, branding, SEO, product photography and videography, email campaigns, review management, and so much more. WebMarketers is headquartered in Ottowa, Ontario and services medical and recreational cannabis companies throughout the nation.
Qonkur is an award-winning cannabis marketing firm, delivering stunningly attractive, highly-customized, responsive websites expertly designed to amplify your online presence and convert visitors. Trusted by Michigan’s leading brands. Qonkur’s expertise includes exceptional online stores with the capability to easily integrate with store inventory, as well as with major platforms such as dutchie and springbig. Qonkur’s team of passionate experts are known for delivering these impressive results at a reasonable cost with quick turnaround times. Qonkur is headquartered in Ferndale, Michigan, and services online and brick-and-mortar cannabis industry businesses throughout the state.
Clutch is a seasoned digital agency with 10+ years of success in cannabis website design, development, and marketing. Clutch brings deep experience to the cannabis sector helping dispensaries, cannabis brands, and professionals thrive. Clutch’s professional cannabis industry services include everything a business or dispensary needs to establish a solid online presence and keep it operational 24/7 – including web design and development, menu integration, SEO, managed hosting and security, turnkey dispensary websites, content marketing, and responsive customer support. Clutch is based in Burlington, Vermont and helps clients across the country.
One of the industry’s best and only full-service hemp and cannabis-dedicated marketing and web design firms, PufCreativ truly excels in its class. Specializing in custom WordPress website creation, PufCreativ’s team of experts brings cannabis companies’ visions to life with a distinct competitive edge. Their finely-tailored, scalable, visually attractive, user-friendly websites are designed to build consumer trust and, most of all, create conversions. PufCreativ’s full suite of award-winning cannabis marketing services includes web design & development, mobile application design, SEO, e-commerce, website hosting, photography, videography, content creation, graphic design, branding, and many more. PufCreativ is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and services cannabis, hemp, and CBD companies throughout the US.
One of Canada’s top-ranked cannabis-friendly digital marketing agencies, Grandway Marketing employs a collaborative process, backed by passion, integrity, and the goal of creating long-term client relationships. Grandway specializes in e-commerce web design and SEO, as well as email marketing, branding, graphic design, website maintenance, and more. Grandway’s beautifully-crafted, responsive websites create amazing first impressions, deliver excellent UX, and are always strategically optimized to drive conversions. In addition to building specialized websites from the ground up, Grandway is adept at completely revamping and elevating existing websites. Grandway Marketing is headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and services clients around the globe.
The C Word
The C Word is an award-winning, full-service CBD and cannabis marketing agency backed by intricate industry knowledge and over a decade of experience. The C Word’s specialties include bespoke online and offline marketing, logos and branding, and fully responsive, SEO-friendly website design with e-commerce and CMS capabilities.The C Word is a woman-owned firm, founded by the CEO of one of the UK’s very first CBD companies, then brought her knowledge to serve the entire industry. The C Word is based in the UK and has serviced cannabis and CBD clients throughout the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, and Israel.
Sevell + Sevell
If you’re better than your competitors, shouldn’t your website be better than theirs? Based in Columbus, Ohio, Sevell + Sevell is a Cannabis & CBD-friendly, award-winning web design firm. With over 25 years of experience in web design and UX (user experience) design, Sevell + Sevell will make your customer’s experience smooth and seamless, whether they’re on a laptop or mobile device. They can also help with print and digital advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’ll be able to track any number of conversions on your website, and your team can easily update the WordPress website.
Caprio Creative Agency
Headed by an esteemed branding expert with over 20 years of professional experience in the industry, Caprio Creative Agency’s incredible range of expertise includes the creation of stylish websites, mobile apps, brand building, logos, printing, events, and so much more. Always at the forefront of current trends and cutting-edge technology, Caprio offers a full suite of branding services to take your cannabusiness to the next level. In addition to building an impressive portfolio of cannabis websites, Caprio Creative Agency was the design consultant for the California rollout of Cheech’s Stash, has collaborated on mobile apps with Snoop Dogg, and even organized 2009’s trailblazing Purple Haze Music Festival.
Drawing on over a decade of cannabis marketing experience, Creators Collective takes a collaborative, community-focused approach to brand development, ensuring your unique vision and authenticity shine through every time someone interacts with your brand. With a strong emphasis on building long-term brand loyalty through genuine engagement with new and existing customers alike, Creators Collective’s full suite of marketing and advertising services includes the creation of beautiful, responsive, compliant, e-commerce- and delivery-enabled websites at affordable price points – even including free maintenance and updates. Creators Collective has offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Austin, Texas and services cannabusinesses throughout the US.
The Source Marketing Group
The Source Marketing Group is a female-founded marketing agency based in Denver, CO. The Source helps cannabis companies win more business through email marketing, website design and development, and event management. Pushing out a new CBD line? Need a website that you can quickly update with new products or services? Your online storefront needs to be fast, effective, and capable of converting customers. In a competitive cannabis marketplace, a website optimized for speed and performance will help all your marketing channels deliver better results. They truly are The Source for a high performing and compliant website that will convert.
Engage Web Designs is an award-winning, cannabis-friendly web design agency, creating engaging websites with superior user experience, brand experience, and conversion in mind. Engage covers every aspect of your company’s internet presence, from simple informational websites to full e-commerce shops, social media marketing, logo design, SEO and blog content creation, activity tracking, and more. Engage also handles ongoing website maintenance with tiered Complete Coverage Website Care Plans to keep your site secure and running smoothly within any budget. Engage is based in Plymouth, Michigan, and services companies of all sizes throughout the US.
Nug Digital Marketing
Building or updating a website for a cannabis industry company takes special expertise and experience – and Nug Digital Marketing’s team brings more than 20 years of agency experience, guaranteeing your website doesn’t just look good – it performs for you. Nug Digital Marketing has built websites for some of the biggest brands in the business, as well as dispensaries and manufacturers that are just getting started. Nug keeps an eye on what your competitors are doing and what you need to do to stay competitive and stand apart, while optimizing your site for maximum sales. If you need ongoing SEO to drive traffic to your website, Nug does that too, as well as social media management, email marketing, PR and much more. Nug Digital Marketing has offices in Portland, Oregon, and Palm Desert, California.
Pronto Marketing creates and manages scalable, e-commerce-enabled, uniquely crafted WordPress websites backed by a 100% guarantee. Pronto’s expertise extends to organic SEO, paid online advertising, hosting, strategic marketing, and audits to assess and improve the health of your website. Pronto’s team of over 100 employees delivers exceptional customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – ensuring each project and task gets the attention it deserves. Tiered pricing makes working with Pronto easy on any budget. Pronto is an American-owned (Seattle-founded) company, and is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand and Manila, Philippines, servicing English-speaking companies throughout the world.
Hi-Five Design is a small creative studio that’s been working with Colorado cannabusinesses since the industry’s earliest days. To give your business that distinct professional edge, Hi-Five’s founder and creative mastermind, Chris Thornton, creates bold, engaging, goal-oriented websites with clear calls-to-action, designed to grab – and keep – visitors’ attention to create loyal new customers. Dedicated to bringing your business’s unique character to life in a memorable way, Hi-Five Design’s marketing expertise extends to brand identity development, packaging and label design, graphics and illustrations, posters, and more. Hi-Five Design is based in Colorado Springs and services businesses of all types throughout Colorado.
Logo Design NYC
Logo Design NYC’s team of design experts gives small businesses the advantage of a truly standout professional website from day one. From simple informative WordPress websites to fully-equipped Shopify and Squarespace e-commerce sites, Logo Design NYC delivers stunning first impressions and user-friendly, mobile-responsive websites scaled to perfectly suit your business’s current needs. Their expertise extends to digital marketing strategy, package and label design, graphic design, and fully customized logo design that never cuts corners – backed by considerable cannabis-specific experience and expertise. Logo Design NYC was founded in 2007, and managed today by a husband and wife graphic design team.
Niall Flynn is a cannabis and CBD-friendly web development expert with over 15 years of experience and a resume including design and SEO work for prestigious companies like Microsoft Ireland and Oracle. Niall has a true passion for web development, and delivers beautiful, user-friendly WordPress websites that help your business stand out and shine, backed by ongoing maintenance service, hack repairs and malware defence, SEO, PPC (pay per click) advertising, and more. Niall Flynn is currently based in Madrid, Spain, and is servicing clients hailing from Ireland, England, France, Africa, Canada, and the US.
Studio Linear is an award-winning, female-owned boutique creative agency completely dedicated to creating engaging, stunning, and completely compliant branding for the cannabis and CBD industries. Studio Linear’s award-winning services include custom web design, branding, copywriting, social media design, art direction, merch design, package design, and more. Studio Linear is backed by over a decade of experience in web design, paired with founder Andrea Beaulieu’s longtime passion for botany and horticulture – resulting in expertly-crafted websites with a deep respect for the cannabis plant. Studio Linear has offices in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and serves cannabusinesses throughout the US.
Dave Design is a Canada-based, cannabis industry-friendly freelance firm specializing in world-class website design, graphics design, logo design, and SEO services. Dave’s websites are beautifully and expertly designed to fit your company’s unique goals. Dave even offers website maintenance training, allowing you to keep updates done in-house, reducing your recurring costs. Dave brings over 20 years of marketing experience and an educational background including OCAD and London’s Central St. Martins College of Art and Design to his freelance design business, which has been proudly serving small businesses across the globe since 2012.