Know Your Needs
Before you start searching for a web design company, you should think about what your website requirements are. Think about the type of website you need, the features you want, and the budget you have available. Knowing these details will help you narrow down your options and find the best web design company for your project.
Knowing your needs will save a lot of time, but it is important to still be open to options. A web agency will have suggestions, and how willing and open they are with suggestions is your first gauge of whether or not you should work with them. Any web company (often referred to as a web agency) will appreciate a client who comes prepared, but the goal for any website is usually to bring in customers and sales and your web agency will have suggestions on how this is best achieved.
Once you know what your website needs are, you can begin researching web design companies. Start by looking at the website of the web company or agency. Look at their portfolio to see what kind of work they have done in the past. Take in the overall website and think about how the website makes you feel and whether or not you feel confident about the knowledge and professionalism on display
Read what services are offered. Web design companies come in many shapes and sizes. Some come from a very design-centric background, where websites will look good, but do not necessarily rank well in Search or generate leads. Other companies may come from a heavy marketing-centric background where websites can sometimes feel a little too pushy or heartless. It may be that these design or marketing-focused agencies are exactly what you want for your business, but most times you should be looking for an agency that provides a good balance between design & marketing.
Talk to Companies
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential web design companies, contact them to discuss the project. During the conversation, ask lots of questions to get an idea of their process and their capabilities. This will also give you a chance to gauge their communication skills and find out how they work with clients. Listen to your instincts, and don’t be afraid to ask the questions you need to make yourself feel comfortable about working with a web company.
Your relationship with your web design company is important because while your website is being developed you will be engaging with them frequently. Once your site is complete an ongoing relationship is beneficial to all involved. The success of a website reflects well on both your business as well as the web company that designed and built the website.
Websites can sometimes be very complex and it may not be possible to obtain a quote until the web company has had time to discuss your project in detail. However, usually, some ballpark costings can be provided after a brief phone call.
You may find that the ballpark costings are notably different from one web company to another. Where the ballpark costings are on the lower and of the scale this does not mean that the other company’s costings are over-priced. It may be that important services are not included in the cheaper costing, and it is important to get this clarification. Be wary of a costing that is calculated purely on the number of pages, especially if you have dictated the number of pages and the company has not even discussed your site in depth. This may mean that the company is happy to take your money without really caring about how successful the website will be
On the opposite end of the scale, a high cost could mean a few things. It might mean that the web design company deliberately prices themselves high as they are more interested in large jobs. However, it could also mean that they are including services that other companies aren’t. Ask for that clarification, because the services being provided may be essential to the success of your website
Look for Experience and Expertise
When choosing a web design company, experience and expertise are key. Look for companies that have a proven track record of developing successful websites. They should have a portfolio available on their website. Spend time looking at these sites. Look at the following:
- How do they look – Do you find them appealing?
- Do you instantly know what the website is about? Can you find information easily?
- What do the sites look/function like on desktop vs tablet vs mobile phone?
- Do a Google search on the name of the business. Does it show up at the top of the search results?
Explore the web company’s website in depth. How informative is the information on the website? Do they provide information about their services? Do they provide an easy way to contact them? Do they provide support information or knowledge articles?
Consider Maintenance and Support
You also need to consider the level of maintenance and support the web design company provides. Make sure they are available to help you with any issues that may arise and that they can provide timely updates to your website. Website hosting and maintenance are two separate things, so while the company may provide you with website hosting, this does not mean that maintenance is included. Ask about a maintenance/service contract, the cost and what is included.
Choosing the right web design company is essential to the success of your website. By following these tips, you can find a company that is the right fit for your project and your budget. With the right company, you can create a website that looks great and functions properly.