Hiring a web design company that fits you and your business is key to your success. You’ve heard the old saying, “you only get one chance to make a good first impression.” That stodgy old proverb is as true in the internet age as it was before the advent of computers. So far as the website user is concerned, the face of the company is that website they see when they surf to your URL.
The website, how fast or slow it is or what it has to offer, is the only thing that they know about your company. It’s representing you. How do you hire the company that is going to design and create that site? In short, how do you hire the company that is going to be responsible for the growth and success of your online presence?
It may be the wrong decision for you and your company to use the first web design company that a friend mentions or that you see in an ad.
Here are a few tips that may help to guide you in the right direction. As you read these, bear in mind there are exceptions to every rule, but they are few and far between. Make sure before you hire your company that they really are the exception.
Review sites they have created. Check out the sites that they have created and how fast or slow they are as well as how well they work. You’re looking for quality of work. Do the sites load quickly? Do they make use of modern web design trends? Is navigation simple and clear? Is it easy to find desired information? Do they work on mobile devices as well as desktop browsers?
What type of websites have they designed? If the site is designed in custom code, or in code such as Flash ( a very poor choice for SEO purposes incidentally) it’s going to get quite costly for you to have them update the site every time that you require a small change or a photo added. CMS or content management systems such as WordPress or Drupal are the best option. Find out if they are willing to design in this type of platform to allow ease of use for you.
Ask them a few questions about search engine optimization and marketing. SEO is imperative today and knowing something about it means creating a site that will rise more quickly in search. The ideal designer has done at least some rudimentary studies in SEO and can offer you solid insights. Those insights are invaluable when your site is designed. Having the site reflect best practices in SEO from the ground up can make a huge difference when it comes to how well the search engines receive the site.
What other marketing expertise do they offer in addition to web design? Maybe you only need a designer to execute your vision. Or maybe you would be better served by someone with marketing expertise who can challenge and add value to your thinking and plans. Do you have a winning marketing strategy? Do you have a consistent brand across traditional and digital marketing? Do you have a social media marketing plan? How will you develop and populate content to your site? Will you have a blog? What will you use for email marketing?
How Reliable are They? Find out how long it took for them to create other sites from start to finish. Do you work with the same designer from beginning to end? How responsive were they to the needs of the customer and how long did it take them to respond to questions and concerns regarding the design or the process?
How do they communicate with clients? Do you want someone who can take your vision or brief, go away, and come back with a completed product? Or do you want someone who can discuss, iterate, and review with you the direction of the project and make any mid-course changes or corrections? How often will you hear about and see progress on your web design? What will be the checkpoints and milestones for you to review and approve? How will changes to the original project be handled? Do you feel comfortable with the amount and style of the communications?
Check references. A good web design company –even if they are relatively new in the web design business– will be able to offer you references from both individuals and businesses.
The Cost of the Work. Other considerations in choosing the right company will of course be the price. Is it fair and how closely does it fall into line with other designers. Regardless of where you are located, the designer should at least be close in price to other designers in their area and of their experience. If they are a great deal higher, it may be that they are far more skilled, or it may be that you’re paying for the name and not the actual cost of their work. If they are a great deal lower, you should be asking yourself–and them–why that is the case.
Last, but certainly not least, take a look at their own site. Chances are that if they didn’t take great care in selecting the style, designing the layout and creating the text, they aren’t going to do that for yours either.
Taking the time and doing the due diligence that it takes to get a well made website says a lot about you and your company. Unwieldy or poorly constructed websites speak volumes to those who may be considering doing business with you. If your website is going to speak about your company, make sure that it’s saying what your prospective customers want to hear.