A great looking website can help your business. But a great performing website can make a world of a difference to your business. Whether you sell products online or provide services, your company’s online presence is often your client’s first impression of your business. That’s why it is imperative to hire a web design company that has a proven track record of producing sites with creative and professional designs that also perform well in searches and lead generation.
While there are many companies offering web design services, there are a couple of things you’ll want to look at when hiring a website company. The tips we discuss below should help you find the best company for your needs. That said, you shouldn’t limit your approach to the tips discussed in this article. Always do your due diligence before hiring a web design company since it is a key part of your branding, marketing, and overall sales effort.
The web design company you hire should have a strong portfolio of professional websites, and some of those need to be comparable to what you want. For instance, if you need an e-commerce website designed, then our company not the company for you. Oh, we can do it, but that’s not where we specialize. If you are needing an e-Commerce business site, then the company you should hire will have a portfolio featuring several great looking and high-performing e-commerce websites. Some web design companies may specialize in a particular type of design and function. Those companies are typically better since they don’t try to design everything under the sun.
You will also want to make sure that the web service you choose has plenty of experience. So, if the company does not have experience with the type of website design you require, then they may not be the best fit for your business.
Tip #2: They should provide excellent customer service.
Many people don’t often think of this as a top priority, but you will probably be depending on the website company, not just while they build a website for you, but for ongoing services. So you really want to hire a web design company that has great customer service because you’re beginning (hopefully) a long-term business relationship. And the better a company’s customer service, the easier it will be for you to communicate with them. Not to mention, you’re less likely to experience tension or stress when working with them.
One way to gauge this quality is to consider their responsiveness to your initial contact. Quite often, the way an individual or representative responds to you as a prospective client can offer fair clues as to how respondent they would be once you were in a working relationship. By far, the number one complaint we hear while doing web design at Lake of the Ozarks is how contractors and businesses alike fail to return their phone calls or messages. As a business owner myself, I can’t comprehend this. But it’s common and a growing phenomenon, not just in Missouri, but in many places across the U.S. So if you don’t hear back from a private contractor, freelancer, or any business in a reasonable amount of time, then they don’t value your business. In all fairness, there are sometimes extenuating circumstances that can come into play. So, it’s only fair to be open to hear them out and try to understand if they do contact you at a later date.
So ideally, the customer service should be so good that they make a very good impression on you and also bond well with your staff. This matters, so that the work on your business web design and function goes smoothly. Furthermore, communication skills matter…a lot. The easier it is to interact with them, the more productive the whole process and outcome will be. Good communication skills are also helpful because your designer will be more apt to understand what you want, and that translates to less time in educating and providing instructions.
Tip #3: Does this website company work with prominent & successful businesses?
For example, our local Lake of the Ozarks web design company branch has a list of established clients in our own community, and across the country. On that list, there are names that are significant in their industry locally, regionally, and even nationally. Having important clients on their list means that your potential web company has proven themselves worthy of those contracts in the industry, especially if they are long-term clients.
It will also be easier for you to contact those reputable clients to find out about the website company you’re considering. Contacting clients is essential because that will help you determine whether the agency is actually good to work with or if they have just kept those names on their website to make a good impression. This happens more than one might think. That’s why it’s a very good idea to check references.
A rule of thumb is that if clients they worked for recommend their services highly, then you are in good hands. However, ideally, that recommendation should come from more than one company.
Tip #4: Does the web design company offer a realistic ETA for the design?
Most web design services try to work as quickly and efficiently as they can, but there are those who are slow simply because they don’t have enough resources available to them. To creatively craft an attractive and effective web design can be a significant undertaking. It often demands considerable time, research, and creative energy. That’s why good website companies will work out a strategy in advance in order to manage your project.
So if you have a very short timeline for getting your website launched, then that might rule out some web designers from being able to take your project. You should be aware that this may also diminish the number of truly qualified designers available to you. That being said, when you’re trying to find a website design company near you, if they won’t be ready for your project for several months then you may need to continue your search.
Ideally, once begun, a small business project can take anywhere from 10 days to 2 – 3 months, give or take, depending on the size and scope of the project. This includes revisions and other factors that can affect the process. But we all know that sooner is better(!), so long as the quality is not being compromised.
So plan to ask for an ETA from the company you are considering and compare it against others. Also, when a professional website design company knows exactly how much time they have to deliver, they are less likely to postpone it while they work on other projects.
Tip #5: How much will your web design cost?
As you determine your budget for your website, you’ll want to keep in mind that this will be your business portal to the community and the world around you. And when it comes to your online presence, perception is everything. As the central hub for all your online marketing, this is an important investment, indeed. And as such, It should be accorded a budget in line with its significance.
Reputable website design companies will be able to give you a cost estimate based on their understanding of what you need. However, it is your job to make sure that they understand everything clearly. So make certain that all costs are explained up front.
Double-check to make sure that there are no surprises or hidden costs like charges for revisions beyond a certain point. And you shouldn’t necessarily choose the cheapest website design service, because that may mean that you’re compromising on the quality of your final product. But rather, choose a service that you believe will provide you with the best design in relation to what they charge.
Tip #6: Ask about website updates!
This will go one of two ways. Either the design company will keep all updates and future work in-house, or they will set you up with a CMS (Content Management System) so that you can make changes directly to your website yourself. Many web companies will not allow clients access to the website because they want to keep everything properly updated, operating smoothly, and hardened against new security threats that arise.
So whichever way you choose to manage updates to your website, you will need to discuss options with your site designer. Whether you or your staff have the time and ability to implement the required changes, or if you prefer to entrust that work to the website design company you hire, just be sure that this is communicated clearly. And don’t forget to ask about the costs associated with future updates.
This really comes down to your preference and personal style of business management. If you are one who delegates and you know that your time is better spent working on the bigger picture, then hire the design company to manage your website. Or if you prefer to manage it yourself and keep the work in-house, then request a CMS and the necessary training required to manage it.
Tip #7: Do they offer guarantees?
What guarantees does the website company provide? Do they guarantee their pricing bids, on-time delivery, a truly mobile-first responsive design, or your satisfaction? Companies that provide guarantees are confident about the service they are offering. You certainly don’t want to hire a company that shrugs their shoulders and refuses to help if you are having a problem with the website a few weeks or months later. So, the guarantees they offer should assure you that this is truly a quality web design company that has your back.
How to Choose the Best Website Design Company For You
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, it can still provide a helpful guide to finding a good fit for building your online presence. Look at their website. Look at a few of their client’s websites.
Check out some Yelp or Google reviews and their Better Business Bureau standing. After doing your research, talk to the company and then trust your judgment. You can get a pretty good intuitive feel for someone by talking on the phone, and even more so by meeting them in person. Then, if you need more, complete the process by checking in with some of their other clients.
And if you’re ready to find the best website company for your needs, then give us a try!
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