Selecting a web design company is a significant decision, as it requires handing over your budget and brand reputation to someone else. Your website’s impact carries over to your lead generation, sales and overall customer impression. We have worked on hundreds of projects over the last decade, so we know a thing or two about the key factors that you should pay most attention to.
Scope, Goals, Needs & Budget
It’s okay if you can’t visualize the final product in all its glory, but you should at least have an idea. The same goes for features and functionality too! You don’t need advanced technical acumen, you just need a general idea. Here are some examples of some goals for your new website:
- Generate leads for your company;
- Allow job applicants to apply directly from your website;
- Accept payments on your website;
- Be able to easily update your own website;
Before you reach out to agencies or smaller web design firms, invest some time into your project and outline your scope, goals, needs and budget. Once you have an idea of which direction to take your project, you can shortlist a few companies that you think will be able to execute your vision. Here is our ultimate list of questions to ask your web design company, prior to signing the contract.
Any good web design company will tell you about their process and if they don’t, be sure to ask. If they don’t have a process altogether, then this isn’t a good sign and you need to steer clear of the digital danger ahead. These are the basics that should be covered in the web design process:
- Project & Team Scheduling. Who is going to work on your project? How many front-end developers? How may back-end developers? Will there be a project manager?
- Identifying technical needs. The web design company should ask the right questions to ensure there isn’t any confusion between what you want and what they’ll be building.
- Audience, Direction & Structure. They should learn about brand values, your target audience, the creative direction and site structure.
- Visual Design. After wireframing, the web design company may create a style kit which is inline with your brand guidelines.
- Site Development. What platform will it be developed on? What Content Management System will they use? They should be telling you about tech stack here.
- Pre-launch. There should be a lot of bug fixes and testing that’s done at this stage, and your team should be invited to participate at this crucial stage.
- Launch. They should have a full checklist for the launch, which entails things like activating your Secure Socket Layer and verifying the successful launch.
- Post-launch Support. Ask them how long they will scan the website for security issues. Who will be managing the server and CMS updates? Are they going to stick around or abandon you afterwards?
A web design company’s portfolio (and their own website) is the quickest way to gauge what’s up ahead for your project. As you browse their work for other clients, be watchful of the following things:
- Aesthetic Appeal: Does their website look pleasing to the eye? Is it imbalanced and filled with grammatical errors? Does the color combination give you a migraine?
- Intuitive Navigation: Are you able to quickly access important information or do you have to click around to figure out necessary details?
- Responsiveness: Do they build fast loading websites? Do they work seamlessly across different browsers, screen sizes and devices? It should work as well on your mobile device, as it does on your computer.
- Portfolio: When browsing their past work, apply the same criteria as above and look for any deficiencies. Do they have any experience in your industry? Have they built something similar to your project in another industry?
- Skillset: Which areas do they specialize in? Are they as good at UX design as they are in back-end development? We have the creative and engineering talent to provide these services, but some companies do not provide all of these services in-house.
- Awards and accolades: What kind of awards has this company won? Do they have recognition? Can they provide references upon request? You want to ensure that their reputation is verifiable.
Cheap vs Premium
Selecting someone simply because they’re the cheapest will leave you with regrets more times than not, but just because a web design company is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean they’re offering a better quality. Pricing alone doesn’t tell the entire story, so make sure you do enough research before entrusting a web design company with your company’s bottom line and reputation. While budget is important, you must remember that a great website can positively transform your business and allow you to thrive in a competitive digital landscape.
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