Choosing the correct web designer for your business could save you a lot of money in the long run.
A good website design has a look and feel that perfectly reflects every aspect of your brand and your business, as well as grabbing attention and achieving your business goals. Done correctly, it can be one of your most powerful marketing tools.
There’s a multitude of decisions involved in setting up a site though and unless you’re an expert on the subject, there’s a good chance you’ll waste time and money if you try to do it yourself. Rather take advantage of a specialist web design company who can guide you through the process.
There are so many website designers out there how do I choose?
1) Think about what you need
Start the process by establishing some basic facts for yourself:
- What is the aim of your site, do you want to provide information, sell products or build your customer base?
- What features do you need – e-commerce functionality, blog or social media integration or a content management system?
- What is your budget and timeline?
2) Get referrals
Ask site owners you know for referrals and/or when you see sites you really like, find out who designed them. Often the web design company name is displayed at the foot of the website, otherwise a quick email to the site owner should get you that information.
3) Visit the designer’s website
Things to look for:
- Phrases such as “increase conversion rates”, “generate leads” and “return on investment” show they understand that your website is a marketing tool. There’s no point in having a beautiful website that doesn’t achieve your business goals.
- If you need help with branding, content, ongoing hosting or maintenance and support, make sure the website design company offers those services or works with others who do.
- Check if there is a defined process they work through and who makes up the team – graphic design, layout design, copy-writing and programming are very different skill sets.
4) Evaluate their online portfolio
Click on some of the links to see:
- If they are still active and that the design is still being used.
- If the list of sites includes some with similar functionality to yours. look for things like menus of similar complexity, WordPress integrations and e-commerce options.
- How user-friendly the sites are, is it easy to find your way around?
5) Read their testimonials
Ask for testimonials from previous clients and consider contacting a few to find out how they experienced the company’s service.
6) Speak to them
You could email them but a phone call gives you a better opportunity to get a sense of how professional they are. If you like what you hear, set up an appointment to discuss your needs further. Skype meetings work well if the designer is based out of town. London, Paris, New york or Durban, it matters not these days as Skype gives you the freedom to connect globally, just as your website should too.
7) Meet with them
During the meeting, try to get a feel for whether you could work with them – a personality clash is unlikely to result in great website design. A good designer should ask you about your business and listen to your needs, while also respectfully giving you the benefit of their professional opinion and answering any questions you have.
8) Give yourself options
If the first company doesn’t feel right, thank them for their time and keep looking. Even if you’re happy with the first one, it’s worth meeting with a couple before making your final decision.
9) Get it in writing
And finally, once you’ve made your decision, get all your requirements and the terms of your contract in writing, so there can be no misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
Then settle into the process of establishing a good working relationship with your web design company, so you can get as close to your perfect site as possible.
Looking for a place to start? Weblab can help you create a website tailored to all your needs. Contact us here.