Coastal Web Marketing
OK, so you’ve decided to take the plunge and hire a website design company to create your new website. Maybe this is your first website, or your existing site needs an overhaul. Be careful who you hire, though, and make sure you do your homework. A poorly designed or poorly functioning website design can actually drive customers away and hurt your reputation. There are a few basic steps you can take to ensure that you hire a creative, technically savvy and cost-effective web design company.
Decide what you need. You can hire website designers to create, implement and maintain your site. You may also want to consider outsourcing the creation and implementation of your website, while handling future maintenance, like fixing broken links and adding content, in-house. Be realistic about your business goals and growth plans so you know whether to enter into a long-term or short-term relationship with a web design company.
Research each company’s work. It’s crucial that you research a web design firm’s portfolio so you can evaluate their work. Once you’ve found a few web developers you like, through recommendations, web directories or competitors’ sites, evaluate their online portfolios and fee structure. Looking at their portfolio gives you a sense of a firm’s design sense.
Evaluate the services they offer. Decide if the website developer meets your needs. If you want to sell products online, look for a firm with proven e-commerce experience. If you’re considering a small firm, does the web designer have the skills necessary to create everything you need? On the other hand, will you get lost in the shuffle at a larger firm with lots of other clients? Determine what extras the firms offer, such as web content writing, SEO, web video production and other services.
Meet face-to-face. Your web design firm, whether a one-person shop or a national firm, is going to present your Web persona to the world. You must be able to work with them closely, and get in touch easily. Hiring a local web design firm is generally a better bet than hiring a firm over the phone or online. Ask yourself these questions and rely on your gut reaction:
- Do they listen to my needs?
- Do they explain things in a way I can understand, or is it all tech-speak?
- Do they have experience in my industry?
- Do they share my vision for the site, and have good suggestions to make it a reality?
Check references. Just like you would check references for a home improvement contractor, you need to check references for a web design firm. Browsing their portfolio is helpful, but you need to know how they interact with customers, and if they are responsive to client’s needs.
By following these steps, you should be able to find a web design company that will meet your needs at a price you can afford.