There are thousands of web design companies out there but which one should you choose? Well, over the next few weeks I’m going to ‘lift the lid’ on the Web Design Industry to help guide you towards your ideal web designer whether you’re just starting up or about to completely redevelop your existing website.
Who you choose will undoubtedly affect the end result as price, technical capability, marketing knowledge and experience will all have an impact. However, it does not follow that a more expensive web design company will yield a better result than a cheaper one. As we shall discover there are many factors which should influence your choice and price is just one.
So, how DO you pick the right company?
In this instalment I’ll give you some “Getting to Know Your Web Designer” questions to ask.
#1 – DOES THE WEB DESIGN COMPANY ‘GET’ YOUR PROJECT?
Usually no two clients of a web designer are the same and as a result it’s not unusual to find a wide range of industry sectors in their portfolio.
Your business will probably be different to anything they’ve done before so, it’s almost impossible for them to have an in-depth knowledge of your business because it’s unique to you.
However, if your website is to be a success then a lot rides on them having a strong understanding of your company.
The only way they can develop that strong understanding is to ask questions – and lots of them. The more questions they ask, the more they will understand you and the better your relationship will be in the long-term.
If, by chance, they’ve done a project similar to yours before then take a look at their work and see if you feel they represented that company well. However, don’t make this the sole criterion by which you judge them.
No web design company can force ideas on the client if they are not willing to accept them so it’s best if you find out what they would have done differently if given a free rein.
#2 – DO YOU LIKE THEIR IDEAS?
You are looking for a business which can give you the best possible help and advice to maximise the return on your investment. So it’s a good idea to watch for signs of creativity in the conversations. If you start to hear lots of interesting ideas and approaches then that’s a good sign that not only does the web designer have a strong sense of your business but also how to represent it on your website.
#3 – DOES THEIR SIZE MATTER?
Web design is a strange industry and still in its infancy. It is not unusual to find companies of only one or two people. But don’t assume that smaller the business the less capable they are – what you want to know is whether that company meshes in with your style and demands.
Here are a few questions to ask which will help you get a handle on their approach:
- How long have they been working in the web design industry?
- How quickly can they turn around updates on an existing website?
- How much capacity (time) do they have on a weekly basis?
- How do they prioritise their work?
#4 How Do They Project Manage?
Producing a highly polished, perfectly functioning and successful representation of your business on time and to budget is not without its complexities. There are probably over 100 factors to consider during your project’s life cycle. Here are just a few…
Buying and re-pointing domain names, search engine optimisation considerations, accessibility, usability analysis, user interfaces, navigation, copy, graphical style, coding to web standards, securing the code from hackers, marketing considerations, back-end technology choices, and that’s before we even begin accounting for your specific requirements!
With so much complexity embedded in your web project it is important that you and your web designer have a strong sense of organisation and planning. It will help if you can see a project plan first to ensure all the bases are covered.
This is particularly important because you don’t want to find yourself having to pay extra for aspects of the development which you thought were included.
In next week’s blog I’ll give you the some more questions to ask so stay tuned.