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Finding a web design company is easy. Just type the search term into Google and boom: a list of designers. But hiring the best web design company to handle your unique goals and objectives? Now that’s a different story.
Most people follow a simple, three-step process when hiring a web design company:
- visit the website
- check out the portfolio
- decide if the work is attractive
It’s a good place to start, but there’s plenty more to hiring the right web design company for the job. Your website is too important to leave anything up to chance.
Bowen Media’s tips for hiring a web design company help you get you the most from your web design investment. Our goal is to help you ditch the guessing game and launch with your best foot forward.
So, move over lazy and ineffective strategies – and make room for a whole lot of smart.
1. Know before you go.
The first tip for hiring a web design company: know your project goals (and how you plan to measure success). Every web design project has a different set of circumstances, skills, opportunities, and goals. It’s critical to understand them all from the start.
Do you need a powerhouse backend with full shipping integration, and secure online purchasing? Do you want total control to edit the content? Perhaps you need the presence and power to incite emotional recognition. Maybe you want to build a strong, unified brand identity.
The point is: web design goals and objectives vary immensely from project to project.
Always start with a clear vision of exactly what you want from your website investment. Only then can you find the best web design company to launch your project to perfection.
2. Check under the hood (for the right parts).
Most web design companies fall into one of two main categories:
- the one-size-fits-all cookie cutters
- the custom, responsive web design dream teams
A quick check under the hood (aka the client portfolio) should help you spot the difference.
The cookie cutters love two things: templates and the copy/paste commands. You can spot their work from a mile away – their client portfolios void of any real sense of variety.
But just as easy to spot is a web design company that appreciates creative innovation. Their client portfolios are rich with a wide range of projects, each one with its own signature style.
You would get an inspection before purchasing a used car, right? It’s just as important to check the client portfolio before hiring a web design company.
3. Broaden your horizons.
Think a local web design company is your best bet? You may want to reconsider. More than location, success in web design requires comfortable and consistent communication. Limiting your search to web design companies in town could be a huge mistake.
Consider these two choices. First, a web design company located around the corner with poor communication skills. Second, a company located across the country able to articulate the web design process. Which one sounds easier to work with? The point is that location in web design is trivial compared to communication.
Long distance communication is already an everyday event for a savvy web design company. So, what’s stopping you from discussing your project in the same manner? The bottom line: be open about location.
4. Solve the “cost vs. value” equation.
Here’s another reason to check under the hood of a web design company. Only now, look for return on investment (ROI). You want real world examples of the value delivered to a particular client compared to the cost.
The “you get what you pay for” model holds true in all types of businesses – and web design is no exception. Is it worth buying a used car to cut initial costs only to spend more down the road in maintenance and repairs? It’s a fair question that requires an honest assessment.
Cost may be important to your project – but not as important as justifying the cost with long-term value. Sometimes, amateur web design companies cost clients more in the long run. Professional web design companies provide value from the beginning.
5. Plan for the future.
Launch day may seem like the last step in the web design process – but it’s often just the beginning. There’s always room to follow up on the web design project.
You can maintain and publish content, measure progress, and stir the pot for new ideas. It’s important to maintain an ongoing relationship with a web design company. Ask Bowen Media about our website maintenance plans.
Website maintenance can range from strict design elements to various digital marketing strategies. Whatever the circumstances, lay the cards on the table from the start.
Start by researching the web design company’s existing and ongoing relationships with clients. Clients are usually better sources than the actual web design team – but check with both. It’s easier to make an informed decision with both sides of the story.
6. Consider digital marketing services.
What’s the only thing better than launching a beautiful new website? Gaining new customers to reach your business goals.
New websites do wonders to convert visitors into customers. Yet, it’s often digital marketing services that attract visitors in the first place. The more you can attract, the more you can convert. Plain and simple.
Why consider digital marketing services before hiring a web design company? Take search engine optimization (SEO) for example. Implementing SEO best practices from the beginning saves time and money in the long run.
Remember, it’s always a wise decision to know before you go.
7. Cut the middle man.
A web design company without an in-house development team is a recipe for disaster. A team without web developers simply doesn’t understand the technology driving the website.
Do you really want to work with a third party you know nothing about? Of course not. Cut the middle man. Find a web design company with their own staff of web developers.
8. Check the track record.
In web design, teams don’t just magically settle on the perfect technologies and methods. Becoming an expert in web design takes years of collaborative work. That’s why it’s always important to check how long a web design team has been working together.
A web design company with a track record of at least three or more years is more often than not a safe bet. It’s even better if the company spent those years focusing on the same core set of technologies.
9. Test the back-end.
Modern web design companies set clients up with a simple content management system (CMS). WordPress is at the top of that list. The last thing you want is to contact the design company every time you want to make an edit.
Before you hire a web design company, take the content management system for a test drive. Making quick and intuitive website edits is critical to the long term value of your website. The back-end is another reason to know before you go.
10. Focus on content.
Content is one of the most important aspects of the web design process. It’s also one of the most overlooked. Once again, web design companies tend to fall into one of two main content categories:
- the cookie cutter web design companies that focus solely on design and functionality. These companies rarely consider the content side of the equation. The copy and paste command is quite common.
- the smart web design companies that focus on relevant, valuable and keyword optimized content.
At the end of the day, the content-minded web design companies finish on top. It’s in your best interest to partner with one.