So you decided to finally revamp or build a new website for your company or business. This is a complicated task, and it might be a bit overwhelming to look at the thousands of companies on the Internet offering web design services to find the perfect match for your particular case. In this article, we will give you a better idea of where to start your quest.
Finding a Web Design Company
The first step is knowing exactly what you want. You know your business better than anyone else. You know your competitors, and you know what makes you different from them. Keep that in mind while you decide if you want a beautiful corporate website, an e-Commerce store, and/or a blog. Think about whether you want a simple design or a very complicated one. Write it down and move to the next step.
Now you know what you want, so it’s time to browse the web design companies’ websites. Look at their portfolios, but don’t just look at the pictures of past jobs. Instead, open their customers’ websites, see if any of them fit your interests, and try to understand if the skills of the designers are enough for your project.
You should also take the time to investigate the companies themselves, see how long they have been on the market, what other services they have you might need for your website, what kinds of customers they work with, etc. You will be looking for a well-established company with an updated and diverse portfolio. It’s important that you know they can be versatile and do different kinds of websites.
At this point, start contacting some of the companies and set up meetings with them. A good website can sometimes make or break the image of a company, and this is not something you can do with a simple email or contact form. It’s time consuming, but it’s well worth the search.
These meetings are an opportunity for you to propose your ideas for the website and investigate the way they work.
Questions to Ask a Web Design Company
Here is a list of important things to ask during these meetings and what to look out for.
- Are you capable of doing this project?
- What kind of technologies will you implement? (Things like responsive design and compatibility to any computer or mobile device, Search engine optimization or SEO, latest trends in CSS or HTML coding, etc.)
- Will you use an existing CMS (Content Management System), or create one?
- If so, will you use a pre-made theme or design one from scratch?
- How long will it take to complete, and what will happen if it’s not completed on time?
- How will you keep me up-to-date on the project?
- Do I have a contact person to keep me updated and to answer my questions?
- Will you do everything in-house or outsource any part of this project? If so, who will do what, and what are the references of this third party supplier?
- What is the price for the entire project, and what is the payment structure?
- What will this price include?
- What kind of information or content do you need from my end?
- If I want something extra during or after the process, how much will it cost?
- How many revisions, if any, are included after the website is live?
- What will be the cost of revisions?
- Will I have a back end I can access to add or edit the web content myself?
- What kind of guarantees can you give me in terms of numbers, such as visitor increase or an increase in conversion rates based on your past experiences?
- How will you analyze these numbers after the website is live in order to provide me a full report?
- Will I have access to that analytic program at any time?
- Are you familiar with the World Wide Web Consortium Accessibility Standards and accessible web design?
- Is web hosting and domain registration included in this price? If so, for how long?
- Will you host the website on your own servers or on third party servers?
- Will I have the credentials to access the web hosting and domain admin?
- How long after the website is live do I have warranty for you to solve any problems or bugs that may occur?
- Will you give me any kind of training on how to use the website’s back end and administrative functions?
Red Flags to Avoid
Now, here’s a list of things you should run away from while searching for your web design company.
- The company does not assign a direct contact to someone in charge of your project.
- During the brainstorming session to define the project, the company either agrees with everything you propose or in any way tries to change everything to their own interests. It should be a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions, not a showdown of who can impose their own ideas.
- Make sure your relationship doesn’t end the day your website goes live. You need to know exactly what they offer in terms of after-sales support.
- Prices can vary tremendously. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for. Good things take time and cost money, but you have to be reasonable
- Be suspicious of extremely low prices.
This is very important: make sure you have the domain registered to your name and that you have access to all the passwords, admin functions and web server. No one wants to be held hostage to a web design company that requires you to contact or pay them any time you need to adjust something. In the worst case scenario, the company disappears or closes activity, and you are stuck in a dead end without access to your own website.
With all this in mind, it should be a bit easier to make your decisions. It is a complicated and time-consuming process, that can also be very expensive. But if done right, this investment in the future of your company can translate to a dramatic increase in your business sales and corporate image. This website has to be the fruit of a good compatibility between you and the webdesign company of your choice.