Choosing The Right Web Design Company
Most businesses, small or large, do not have in-house expertise to custom design websites themselves and will need to contract the work out to an external web design company.
The importance of a professionally designed website is essential. First impressions count. Research shows that potential customers decide within the first 3-5 seconds whether or not to leave a website. Therefore, a poorly designed or outdated website can have a negative impact on your company’s brand and cause your potential customers to hit the back button and take a look at your competitors.
Your company’s website is the window to your products and services and more often than not, the first point of contact with customers, therefore it is important for your business website design to convey the right message. With only 3-5 seconds, it is vital for your website to present the right image and brand for your business.
Step 1:Know the Purpose of Your Website
Knowing what you want your website to do for your business now – and 5-10 years from now – will help you determine what type of website your business needs, along with what features and functions will be necessary. This is what determines the investment level for your site.
The difference in creating an elegant brochure site or a simple lead generation site verses creating a fully loaded e-commerce website will be substantial. Often, however, web design companies offer one-size-fits-all solutions and command high prices because they have high overhead.
Do some research to understand what types of websites there are, what the ultimate goal for your business you desire to be accmplished and what features will be necessary to reach that goal.
Step 2: Shop Different Website Design Companies!
Take some time to go through their portfolio page and visit the actual websites themselves.
Take a look at the quality of the design – the graphics, image quality and the overall feel of the site. Does it look professional?
But, good looking graphics are not all you want to see! Check the websites’ functionality. Are they easy to navigate? Is the menu system consistent throughout the website?
Then, compare the quality of design with the prices. Make sure to compare apples to apples when you’re comparing prices! What’s included in your website quote? How many pages (Home, Services, About Us etc) are included in that price? What features are included?
Will they supply a contact form on your site or is that an extra cost? Does their price include website optimization or is that an extra fee? What will future changes or additions cost? Is there any enhancements included in that price?
Does the design company offer hosting services? What’s included in their hosting prices? What’s included in their hosting packages i.e. do they offer website statistic tracking, company email account programs etc. Hosting plans vary in price because of hosting services they provide vary.
Don’t be intimidated by the website designer’s lingo. If a website company is speaking in terms you do not understand, do not be afraid to ask them break it down to you in laymen’s terms. You should understand everything that they’re quoting you in a design price and why.
Step 3: Get References
Contact the web designer’s existing clients before going with any web company. Again, you can find their references by going through their portfolio. Most websites have an email, phone number, and/or a contact form. Don’t be afraid to ask them for clients you are able to contact.
Ask not only about the design, but also about the follow up customer service after the site is live. Do they feel their designer went above and beyond? And most importantly, is their website generating new business calls and leads?
Step 4: Don’t Settle
You don’t have to compromise to get an affordable website.
I am certain you will get both very high quotes and extremely low quotes. Keep in mind most often you will get you pay for – and this is your business website for the world to see. What do you want them to see?
However, also keep in mind, a simple 5 page informational website design should NOT cost you several thousands of dollars. The price will usually go up with the enhancements you choose for your website such as Flash, Music, Video, Blog, image viewers and so on.
When you have 2 companies you are deciding between, ask if you can sit down with them to compare apples to apples with website design prices. Compare the number of pages on each quote, the overall design, the number of pictures within the website and so on. Then revisit the quality of work each company before making your final decision. A reputable company will not mind this at all!
Doing a little homework in the beginning will save you time and money in the end!