If you feel like it’s getting harder and harder to find the right team to design, or redesign, your company’s website, I can empathize. In the eleven years I’ve been in this business, the number of firms offering web design and online marketing has exploded. The increasing number of options – not to mention specialties, fee ranges, and levels of quality – has made it hard for companies to find the right fit.
You can still find the right designer, though, if you know where to look, and what to look for. Here are five things you definitely want to know about any web design team before you hire them:
- 1. How past clients feel about their work. It’s one thing to look through a designer’s portfolio, but if you really want to get the story, you have to make a few phone calls. Talk to former clients and see what their impressions of the work, and the design process, were like. Whether you get good feedback or bad, these are things you want to know before you sign on the dotted line.
- 2. If they will still be able to help you tomorrow. Your site might be basic right now, but there’s no guarantee it will stay that way. In fact, if your launch is a success, it’s probably not going to be long before your company needs help with online videos, secure site areas, databases, content management systems, and search engine optimization to name a few – services that smaller or newer firms might not be able to offer.
- 3. Whether they have a bottom line vision. This is more important than most business owners realize. These days, when you hire a designer, you shouldn’t just be getting a layout and some HTML code – what you need is the first step towards a comprehensive online marketing plan. Be sure that any designer you work with can help you integrate your new website to search engines, social media, and more. You’ll need that exposure to gain new customers over the Internet.
- 4. What their fees are… Obviously, the numbers are going to be an important part of the discussion. Be aware, however, that quality always costs more, and that more than one web design client has been burnt by falling for bid that was “too good to be true.”
- 5. … and what those fees include. Web hosting, updates, content, and add-on features are just a few of the things you might want for your web design team, but might not be included in their rock-bottom bid. Find out exactly what you are paying for before you agree to any work. Or better yet, choose a vendor with a long reputation of quality work, no one that’s going to nickel and dime you at every step of the process.
There might be more web design companies to choose from than there were in the past, but that doesn’t mean that the right decision has to be any less clear. Take the time to do a little bit of research and get the answers to these five crucial questions – it’s not as easy as choosing the lowest bid, but it’s going to leave you a lot happier, and more profitable, in the long run.
(Republished from our recent article in Valacious Magazine in St. Augustine, Florida)