Your website is your first impression. Make it count.
Today we’re talking about well-designed websites and how to get them. We’ll walk you through five of the smartest things to keep in mind when searching for a professional, high-quality web design company that can give your business the online space your business needs to grow.
If you’re reading this, you already know how imperative it is to have an attractive, highly functional website for your company. It’s often the first place your customers will really learn about what you do. And depending on your business model, your website will be central to your marketing strategy, lead generation, online sales/e-commerce, event scheduling, and more.
Finding a web developer you trust to deliver an attractive, user-friendly website can be daunting. But we’re here to help make the search for the right website design agency easier.
Let’s explore some ways you can find the perfect website designer that can give you all that.
Tip 1: Ask What You Want In A Professionally Designed Website
Noah didn’t build an ark without a plan. You’ll want to start by assessing what your business needs are, and what a high-quality website will do to meet them. Think about your branding, your budget, and what you’re expecting from a professional web developer.
Here are some points to consider:
- What’s the goal of your website? Do you want to generate leads, sell products, or provide information?
- What is the scope of your website? Will it be a simple website with a few pages or will you need custom features and integrations?
- What is the role of your website in your business? Will it be a static billboard or will it be an active part of your business (finding new clients, creating ongoing credibility, conducting sales, etc.)
- How much time are you willing to invest in maintaining your website? Or will you need help?
- When do you want your website to be completed?
This will help you search for a web design company that meets your business needs, and will also help the web development firm understand your needs. This will save both of you time and energy. It’s also important to have realistic expectations about the price and to know how much money you’re willing to spend on your site.
Tip 2: Explore Local Web Designers That Make You Smile
A website is a long-term investment in your company, and the web developer who builds it can become a long-term business relationship. You’ll need personalities you’ll enjoy working with, and web designers capable of meeting your stylistic criteria. And, most importantly, someone you can trust.
Get on Google and search some local web design agencies and see what you come up with. And yes, we do recommend staying local. Local agencies generally give you more personal service, have a better understanding of design trends in your area, and have online reviews from their neighbors that hold them to a high standard.
Once you hop onto their website, you can check their previously created web designs and get a sense of their web development style and capabilities. For instance, click here to see a web design agency that makes it easy to find a portfolio of websites they’ve created.
If you’ve already done some searching and found a few websites that just fascinate you, hang on to them! You can check at the bottom to see if the website is credited to someone you’d like to work with, and even if you go local, it’ll help the webspace designers understand what you want.
Tip 3: Make Sure The Web Design Company Communicates Well
At this point, you may have found a promising web development agency with good reviews, good website designs, and you may even be eager to set up a meeting. This is the point where you want to make sure they’re what they seem. You need a website company that’s responsive, professional, and prompt when dealing with your issues.
The easiest way to test this is to send some emails, leave some voicemails, and inquire about their customer policies.
- What does their design process entail?
- How regularly do they communicate with your clients?
- How do they handle revisions and changes?
- How do they handle cyber-security?
- How quickly could they restore a hacked or offline website?
- Will you get the name of the person working on your website? Do they work there?
Asking these questions will save you confusion and disappointment down the road. You want to be certain that if your site has a serious issue, you’ll have responsive web support that tackles your issue in 24 hours or sooner. That goes double if you’ll be selling from your website.
You’re also looking for how the design company replies to your questions, and how quickly, to get a sense of how much they’ll value you as a client. We aren’t suggesting you waste anyone’s time. But we are suggesting that you don’t let anyone waste yours.
Remember, this is going to be a long-term business relationship, and you don’t want to get stuck with a firm that doesn’t communicate well. Get your questions answered, get the rest of your questions written up, and then set up a face-to-face meeting once you’re reasonably confident they’re as serious as you are.
Tip 4: Be Wary Of Cheap Web Designers And Niche-Specific Agencies
Talking to previous clients, browsing portfolios, checking BBB listings, and reading reviews are all great ways to do research. We’ve found that there are two phrases that should make you especially thorough when researching a web designer. Those are “much cheaper” and “industry-specific expertise.”
Freelance Web Designers are small operations, usually consisting of a single website developer and a computer. The advantage they offer is that their web development prices are often much cheaper than those of an established marketing agency. And small businesses with tight budgets are, understandably, sold on that.
The problem with Freelancers is that you get what you’re paying for. Some Freelancers are skilled designers, but they aren’t vetted or equipped like a designer at a marketing agency or a web design firm. Even if you get a great website, a Freelancer might not have the ability or time to help with online marketing strategies, search engine optimization, website security, plug-in functionality, or a host of other things.
The other issue is their responsiveness. A single web developer will sometimes be the only person managing dozens of website projects at a time, making it difficult to get in touch with them when you need them. With solo designers, a sickness, a sudden drastic life change, or a sudden fit of unaccountability on their end can leave clients in a pretty tough position. We suggest contacting three or four of their previous clients and making sure you know what you’re getting into.
On the other hand, industry-specific “niche” web design companies claim to have unique insight into your industry that can turn your website into a success story. They may have built dozens of websites for, say, female dentists. And they’ll promise you they can raise your bottom line and ROI with their niche experience and curated content. Sadly, these promises are often far from true.
Niche Web Designers often rely on templates and “winning-formula” web page layouts that cater to their niche industry, but don’t leave much room for customizing your site. The result is that your site doesn’t stand out from your competitors. Add in the glut of duplicated content, the effect of similarities on your search engine rankings, and the endless “just wait, the results are coming” from the designers, you may feel stuck in an impossible situation. Always browse their websites or call their previous clients, and make sure your site isn’t going to end up in a cookie-cutter loop.
Naturally, there are more unscrupulous people claiming to be web developers. And to protect yourself from those, we always, always suggest that you should:
Tip 5: Get everything in writing
Contracts: because life is full of enough surprises already.
Be absolutely certain you have a written contract with your web design company. Any serious web developer will be more than happy to draw up one of these. It’ll make sure everyone is on the same page when the project begins, and give both sides clear expectations of the other.
Here are some of the things that should be included in a web design contract:
- A description of the work to be done
- A timeline for completion
- A list of deliverables
- A payment schedule
- A dispute resolution clause
It’s a good idea to keep all your email correspondence with the web design agency. Don’t be afraid to send an email after a long phone call that explains what you took from the conversation. This kind of practice protects every one’s interest by keeping things clearly understood and documented.
Hiring a web design company is a major decision. This will be a long-term relationship that directly affects the success of your business, and you want to be smart. But if you follow the tips above, your chances of finding a company that meets your needs are already better!
If you want to try practicing these tips, try Freedom Creative Solutions. We’re a local marketing agency and web design company in the Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and NC Triad Area that specializes in creating high-quality, custom websites for businesses of all sizes. Check out our website here, and find our reviews on Google. If you think we might be a good fit, fill out our website request form or contact us at 336-602-1901! We look forward to hearing from you!