Everyone has a website these days. Even the most basic of mom-and-pop shops need some sort of online presence to remain competitive. Now, with some luck, finding a good designer could be as easy as Googling “website design companies near me,” but it’s not usually that simple.
While searching for a custom website design company you’ll find that there have never been more options than there are today. This is good news, as it means you have the luxury of shopping around. But…it also means must shop around to find the best website design company for your business.
Identify Your Needs
Choosing a web designer can be difficult if you aren’t clear about your needs. So, we suggest you start by identifying what, exactly, you are looking for.
Purpose of your site. Just like your business has a mission, so must your website. What is the main goal of your site? Generate leads? Build sales? Inform? Entertain? Prioritize the ways in which you want your website to function and go from there.
Growth. Maybe it’s a blog now, but do you have hopes of selling apparel down the road? Are you a small business that needs a basic site at the moment, but plan on sharing how-to videos within a few years? All of this must be considered as a part of today’s design. Think at least five years into the future.
Aesthetic. Your website could be the very first contact a consumer has with your brand. How do you want them to feel? How do you want your site to look? Take the time to develop a general idea of the aesthetic you prefer. This will point your designer in the right direction.
Software Integration. Is there a specific software that your website needs to work with, either today or in the down the road? This is a biggie and should always be communicated with your website design company in advance.
How To Select a Website Designer
Once you’ve established your needs you can start shopping. Ask potential designers about the following as a part of your decision-making process:
With your list of needs in mind, take a look at their previous work. How do those sites look and feel? Do they avoid the most common website design mistakes? What’s the overall style? Are they mobile-friendly? Functional? Easy to use?
What type of experience do they have? The needs of a blog site can vary significantly from the needs of an e-commerce site. You’ll either want a website design company with lots of experience in your niche or a company with a wide variety of experience in many niches.
You’re not just looking for a company that can design a website, but a company with top notch communication and project management skills, too. Request references and contact a few. Ask about their experience with this particular designer. Would they hire them again? What, if any, drawbacks did they encounter?
The ever-important bottom line. Of course, cost will factor in to choosing the right website designer, especially if you’re a small business on a tight budget. After all is said and done, remember that your website isn’t a purchase. It’s an investment. And just like everything else in life, you get what you pay for.
Does the price include graphic design, copywriting, follow up consultations, revisions, etc.? Ideally, you’ll get a breakdown of the individual costs within your project so that you can make an apples-to-apples price comparison when decision-making time rolls around.
Oh, and don’t forget to ask about payment terms. Will you receive a monthly invoice? Milestone-based invoices? Is there deposit? This is all important information to have before choosing which company to hire.
There’s no right or wrong here. However, it is important that you have a timeline in mind. It’s also important that your designer can adhere to it. After all, finding the best website design company doesn’t matter if they can’t deliver when you need, right?
Your website will change over time. That’s just a fact. One of the most fundamental differences among web design companies is how they choose to handle ongoing maintenance and changes.
Ideally, you’ll be set up to make small changes on your own – like revising copy, swapping images, or adding blog posts. But will your website design company help when it comes to the bigger ticket items? If so, what does that look like? Can you put them on retainer? Do they charge an hourly rate? Is any maintenance included in the initial cost of your website?
A Website Design Company Designed for You
Your website is crucial to the success of your business. You want to work with a website design company that is willing to really listen to you, can create a site that reflects you and your business needs, keeps within your budget, and hits deadlines.
Hungry Media’s approach is one of collaboration and communication. We design and develop user-friendly websites to meet the needs of your growing business. We can’t wait to hear your big idea! Get in touch and let’s start making plans.
contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer