How Do You Pick The Best Web Design Agency?
How do you pick the best Web Design Agency for your next project? The task itself can be somewhat daunting if you don’t already have an experienced company already in the fold because making the wrong choice can impact your business in a very negative manner. What should you be looking for when you sit down with perspective web design companies?
Let’s dive into that along with questions you should ask, warning signs to be aware of and goals you should have before you even schedule a meeting.
Why is the selection process important?
Getting the right website for your business is absolutely critical to your success. We live in an online world where information plays a large part in whether people will use your products or services and also their ability to find that you exist.
Ending up with the wrong site can be crippling for many reasons including irritating/alienating customers with a bad design, slow speeds, lacking mobile options that might be necessary for your type of business, lack of branding and more.
There are a plethora of website options for a business these days including free sites, cookie-cutter generic template sites available at low costs, foreign designers that look to undercut pricing from local counterparts, mid-level design firms and award-winning website design companies that provide every service you might need.
You can pay anywhere from $0 to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a website so no matter what your budget is there is an option for you.
But, will that option meet your needs and goals?
Outlining your goals
First and foremost you need to sit down and clearly outline what your goals will be for you website. Here are a few ideas but obviously each business is unique in what they will want or need:
- Will it help generate more leads?
- Does it need to be optimized for mobile?
- Does it need to be unique?
- Do you need high visibility or for it be easily found on search engines?
- It needs to be able to perform the primary and secondary functions we have in mind i.e. ecommerce, converting leads, etc.
- Do you need integration with other platforms?
- Will it be a vehicle for customer service?
It is important that you go into any meeting or discussion with your goals clearly in mind. From there and experienced web design and development firm might add to your list or provide ideas and insights you might not have considered, however your starting point should be clearly outlined.
Things to look for
When reviewing websites or discussing your project with a firm, here are a list of things to look for:
- A firm that understands branding – Branding is a critical aspect of your online business and a design firm that does not understand that is not someone you want to work with.
- A portfolio with similar projects – It can be useful if a firm has a good portfolio of work to present so that you can seem examples of design that relate to your goals.
- A firm that asks lots of questions – A good firm will try and learn more about your business so that they can help design what you need and part of that involves understanding goals and customer personas.
- Qualified staff – It is important that you know who will be working on your project and that they have the ability to provide what you want. Some firms outsource work overseas while others use job sites to find programmers for a single project. Ideally you want experienced people that have worked together as a team before.
Questions to ask
Here are some good questions to ask:
- What would be your brand strategy for our business?
- What will be the UX/UI approach for our site?
- Will this be a custom design?
- What is the plan for SEO optimization?
- How will my site look to mobile users?
- How fast will my site be?
- Do you perform quality and assurance and testing?
- What is the launch strategy?
- Do you fix any post-launch bugs?
Here are a few red flags to keep in mind when considering web design companies:
- Business website is missing information – You should be concerned if they do not provide local contact numbers, hours of operation, a staff directory, About Us information and other important information that every reputable business should have.
- Lack of testimonials – Testimonials can provide a secondary endorsement to the skills and abilities of the people doing the work.
- Poor communication – Bad communication is an immediate red flag because web design and development involves a lot of collaboration. If the communication lines aren’t open that could spell future trouble.
- They want control – If a design firm wants to keep control of the domain, the FTP access, the content or anything else then you don’t want to work with them. That means at the end of the day someone else controls access to critical information that you should be the 100% owner of.
The bottom line is that it will take time and energy to pick the best web design agency, but that effort is certainly worth it. A great firm will help elevate your business online, designing something that meets your goals, resonates with customers, and showcases your brand. On the flip side a bad design firm can end up ruining your business with lost time and money along with reputation and conversions so make sure to take time to perform proper due diligence and ask the proper questions before making your final decision.
Be sure to check back every week for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.