Your website is your online store front. Even if you have a brick and morter store, the goal of your website is to draw in and get you more customers and sales. But so many people have websites that don’t do what they want, or are currently working with a website design company and don’t feel like the website they are getting is going to give them what they want.
A good website is one that provides its visitors with important company information, while promoting its products or services in a very user-friendly way. If you fail at any of these things, your website can underperform or not perform at all, in a way that helps your business.
There are so many website design firms across the globe, but finding the right one that will understand a company’s message (and vision) and deliver it digitally is a difficult task. Due to this, it’s important that marketers, website owners and the like define their website’s goals (i.e who is the targeted audience and what are they supposed to do when they get to a site) before ever talking to a designer, so they know what they will or will not compromise on. Having this list made up in advance will let the website design company you are working with hone in on your goals and help you expand and grow them in the digital world. A good website design company can take your goals and bring them to the next level, so they function flawlessly online.
Before you approach a website design company it is a good idea to make a list of 3 to 5 sites. These sites could be in your industry or not, but focus in on ones that have the style and look you like, the type of user experience you want, and any other features so the website designers can get a hands on look and feel of what you want. Offering visual examples is a great way to make sure you and the website designer are on the same page!
Once this pre-work is complete, here are some other guidelines to keep in mind when hiring a Website design company:
- If hiring an out-of-state website design agency, be sure communication won’t be a problem – including language, cultural norms, communication technologies, etc. At Serious SEM we offer to do screen shares, conference calls, and video chat if needed to make sure we are all on the same page and you’re getting the website design you dreamed of. If a company isn’t willing to work with you and be open to ongoing dialogue, that’s a quick sign you should get out quick.
- Try to find out whether the website design company is going with the latest design techniques or not, which can be done by reviewing current work, reading the company’s blog and checking out their social media pages (where articles related to design are often posted) or by simply asking them. If they are unsure about current trends, or unwilling to talk about their process and why they do things the way they do, it could lead to short cuts being taken that will lead to your website not working properly. There is no reason for a website design company to hide behind tech lingo and not be open with you.
- Go through the company website so that you can be clear about the services they are providing, and make a list of any questions that may come up. Many website design companies will also offer things like social media marketing, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing. But just because they offer this does not mean they are qualified to do it for you. Many website designers will try and offer these things but not fully be trained to do them. Always make sure they are up to date on current trends in all areas you will be asking them to work on after the design is done.
- It is important to get several quotes and budget accordingly, don’t ever make the decision on price alone (cheaper does not mean better). You will get a wide range of prices for any project, it’s very rare that you will get quoted the same price from two different website design companies. While working in your budget is important, make sure you’re going with the company who will give you the most for your money and be there for you every step of the way. Having a partner in the project is much more valuable than having the cheapest designer you can find…remember you get what you pay for and they are cheap for a reason. If you are unsure about a price and why it’s so low compared to others, don’t be scared to ask and hear why they price as they do.
- See whether the time proposed by the company meets business objectives. Website design does take time and the bigger the project, the longer it will take. If you find a company you love, but the time frames don’t seem to match up, you might be able to work out a staged launch so you can get the full website up and meet both time tables for getting the site up and running, and getting it done right.
- Ask for at least two separate website mock-ups (if possible). Choices are never a bad thing. And being able to see two different thought processes, and from different designers, if possible, will help you key in and see things you don’t like. And how things actually look when put together.
- Ask for referrals and past work examples (live sites will provide better insights rather than screenshots). If they are unwilling or have no live sites for you to see, run and run away quickly!
- You should know how a website is to be updated after it is live and even after the business and web design company parts ways. Will they be building in a content management system for you? Will they be using an open source one like WordPress? Or do they offer a monthly retainer to do all the updates for you? After the site is done, you will need a plan to keep it running, this is something a good website design company should be able to help you with.
Apart from the above mentioned points, do make sure that you will get a website that is easy to use and can easily be updated.
Companies hire a website design agency to ensure they are providing their users with the best experience possible, which in turn increases conversion, brand loyalty and website traffic. Choosing a website design company is a decision that should not be rushed into, so heeding this advice should provide long-term Net success.