How to choose a web design firm
easy. You do your homework on them. Then, you start asking questions and taking notes. There are many web designers available. You want to go with the best, because in reality, your web designer is in essence your partner. You want to choose a designer who takes your business seriously.
What questions do you ask
There are many important questions to ask when choosing a web designer for your business web site.
Creating your web site can be a difficult process. Choosing the best web design firm for your business web site is a very important decision. And if your company is like most small businesses, you probably don’t have web design experience. Building your web site will take time and work. And working with a web designer is not an easy task. So choose the right web design company from the beginning and avoid do-overs, which can be costly and time consuming.
- What kind of web experience do you have?
For starters, find out what kind of design experience your potential design firm has. Do they have experience with content management systems like Joomla or Drupal, do they have experience working with “raw” HTML? Has the web design company created web sites like yours? Do they have relevant industry experience? If you want to sell products through your web site and accept credit card payments, is the web design company you are considering having experience with ecommerce hosting?
- Do you have a portfolio that I can review?
An experienced web design company will have a solid portfolio of web sites that they have created for other clients. The design company asked for links to each site and review each. Do you like what you see? Does the site have a style that appeals to you?
- Do you have any reference?
In addition to reviewing web sites, ask for customer references. Contact your customers and ask about their experience with the web design company. Were they happy with the result? Did they get what they paid for? How much did they pay? Will they recommend them? how long did it take? What did they not like about the company? How sensitive was the company when they had questions?
- What are your prices?
The most important step in pricing is to make sure that the potential design company outlines all the values associated with the work and keeps it all in writing. Do not enter into a deal until all costs are well understood.
Ask them a little about how they manage payments. If they respond in a very business-like and professional manner, this is a good sign. If they throw out answers like – “Don’t worry, we’ll manage” or “Whatever you’re comfortable with”, don’t be fooled. There is trouble waiting for this to happen. Get the price in writing before starting the project.
- Do you have experience with search engine optimization?
Most small business owners do not have it in their budget to hire a different marketing firm to work on search engine optimization (SEO), so it is imperative that your web designer have experience in SEO. A good designer would know that design and SEO go hand in hand. Designing a web site for search engines with “clean” code that uses cascading style sheets is essential for indexing your content in major search engines like Google and Bing.
- Do you have social media marketing experience?
The first thing many marketing firms know about social media marketing. These firms have stuck in the past and are not as effective as they pretend to be. Make sure you work with a designer who knows how to setup a Facebook fan page for your business and design a customized Twitter profile. This is important because you will want to mesh your social media qualities with the design of your web site. Web sites and social media pages should complement each other.
- What is your process for designing or building a web site?
Make sure you ask your potential web design company about the process they use? Do they design a web site or do they build a web site? An experienced Internet professional should understand the difference between these two concepts. If they do not, they are probably not as experienced as they claim to be. Creating a web site is a highly technical process, while designing a web site is a highly creative process. Many advertising firms specialize in web site design, which does not require any web development skills. At the same time, many firms design web sites, yet out-source the creative part of the project. Know from the beginning what the process is for the firm you are considering.
- How long will it take?
Perfectionism can become a major stumbling block in the fast paced world of the Internet. Some designers are unable to compromise between quality and time to market needs. Test: See how long it takes you to receive the offer.
- What type of support is provided after web site launch?
If your design firm does not offer web site maintenance, you can continue the search. Most reputable design firms will offer “post-launch” maintenance for companies that do not have an in-house webmaster.
- Which web hosting provider do you work with?
If your design firm does not know the contact’s first-names in their favorite web design firm, this should raise a red flag. Most reputable web designers know not to choose web hosts simply because they are the most popular or because they provide the cheapest web hosting. A reputable web design firm should know who to call and how to get results! Does your web designer work with a green hosting company? Eco-friendly web hosting is becoming more and more popular for commercial web sites who want to implement an eco-policy.
It is difficult to get a little recognition on the W3, even in a niche market (especially in a niche market). You have less than 10 seconds to convince a site visitor to learn about the quality of your services, your products, or your message. Web surfers are jagged out at information overload. If they don’t see what they want to see on your home page or landing page, they bounce. So, making a statement about your corporate culture and the core values of your business is to happen in the blink of an eye. If you don’t make a good impression, visitors will never see the “About Us” page in 10 seconds. So, go green! A symbol or banner that you declare employing a green host makes an immediate statement about your on-line business. It says that you care about the environment.
Do your homework when choosing a web design firm.
Good designers are creative people who need to think beyond the box. Finding a good web designer is becoming harder and harder. Good designers are being snatched up by agencies and big projects. They are overloaded with work and often, you will not know about them because they do not have the time (or need) to market themselves. It is important to do your homework and ask the right questions to decide if they are right for the job.