When your company needs a website, choosing the right web agency ensures that your business is properly represented online. Most business owners do not understand how to choose a web designer and what to look for. It can also be hard to tell if a company offers the extra services you need. Hiring a web design company sounds complicated, but once you know the qualities of a top-notch service, you will recognize quality very quickly.
As with any other skilled service, look for designers with experience. If you would not hire a carpenter fresh out of school to build your house, do not make the same mistake with your website. Full-service web design companies create teams of developers and designers that work well together. You may be tempted to hire the cheapest designer you find with a single web search, but a designer alone cannot create the infrastructure that most business websites need to function correctly. This is especially true if your company plans to expand into e-commerce or payment processing over the Internet.
- Check the portfolio
Every web design firm has a portfolio listing previous clients and projects on their website. Check out some of their work to get a feel for their style. Designers will work with your ideas, but a company specializing in complicated Flash sites may not suit the needs of a company seeking a simpler design. Look for projects with many different design or implementation styles to determine the flexibility of the team when it comes to meeting client demands. If one of the websites is live and still managed by the firm, visit it. Test out any special features added. Badly designed shopping carts or broken links are tell-tale signs of a company to avoid.
- Look local
Doing business online puts you in contact with top web design companies from around the world. Meeting in person often works better than communicating through email, especially if you are not sure what your website needs or how it should look. Check for local offices to work face-to-face with the design team.
- How do they treat their customers?
Building a website requires lots of communication. You need to express your initial ideas and needs, and the web design team needs to respond quickly with questions and clarifications. Send a query email, or call the firm to ask about their rates or programming capabilities. If you cannot get a quick response, the rest of the process is likely to drag on as well. The right company should treat you well long before you become a paying customer. This is especially important if you want them to manage and update the website as well. Avoid getting stuck with a firm that takes weeks to add a simple news item to the home page.
- Professional References
When a company produces great websites for a good price, their customers talk about it. There are hundreds of review sites collecting data on such companies and ranking them by popularity. Checking the reviews helps you avoid companies known to scam clients out of their money. Most web design services also add references and testimonials to their portfolio. Contact a few of the references and ask about their experience.
- Cutting Costs
Some business owners hurt their growth by trying to get the cheapest website possible. If a well-respected and professional design company quotes $5,000 for your project, do not expect to get the same quality from a student you hire for $50. Websites are an investment in your business. Instead of just worrying about the price, consider the increased profits or new clients that the investment will bring in return.