How to Choose a Web Design Company
First ask yourself why you want a website for your
company or organization. The likely answer is that
you have a product, service,
or information that you would like other people to
learn more about and you want this message to be
displayed in an attractive and accessible way to your
A website has become, in many cases, a great way
to accomplish this goal efficiently.
Selecting a Web
Design Company Requires Trust
you will be counting on and giving the responsibility
web designer to develop your company's online image.
In many cases, when a visitor arrives at your website,
it may be the first time they have become aware of
your company or organization. The first impressions
you make to your visitors will greatly influence
your potential customers' feeling about the quality
products and services.
Consider the following criteria when selecting a web
designer and you'll better know the right questions
By gathering some quick and specific information, you
can put yourself
in a much more comfortable position when it comes
to making your decision and choosing your web design
Hire Local Web Designers
you are located in the U.S.A, it's true, there
are web design companies everywhere. Most vary
greatly in experience, quality,
customer service and ability. With so many to choose
from it might seem daunting, but that probably
just means there is company relatively nearby who can
provide exactly what you are looking for. Make it
If you haven't already been referred to an out
of state or out of county web developer by a friend
limit your initial search to local website design
companies. Using a local company can provide peace
of mind and
the option to meet in person (if necessary) to
develop a closer working relationship. Browsing through
Web Designers by State web
site company directory can be a great way to find local web design businesses.
This web design directory allows you to view service
information for over 4,300 cities in the U.S.
Compare Web Design Quality
To compare visual quality, look at previous web
sites a company has built. Most companies have
a "portfolio" section
on their site. Usually they may include a small
each project and a direct link to the website
When viewing sample sites, pay attention to these
- How easy is it to navigate and find information?
- How well is branding used throughout the site?
- Do the graphics appear sharp? Are the photos of
- How much time does it take to load
- Are there original and useful features?
Make Sure the Web Designer Has Experience With Features
Before contacting a web designer you should
have a good idea of what
want to do and the type of features you need.
When viewing a designer's sample sites, make sure
they have already worked on projects that demonstrate
the features you need (if possible). This
know you'll be working with someone who has
the experience necessary to do the job and will be
much more likely
to complete the web site on time and budget.
Some web site companies have testimonials
from previous and current
clients printed somewhere on their site. While these
give you an idea of client satisfaction, you
are best off "cold calling" a couple of their previous
clients for a quick chat (call one of the companies
found in their "portfolio" section). If the
client was truly impressed with the website
they had designed
for them they will more than likely be glad
to tell you about it. They can also give you
an idea of how
smoothly the process went, how long it took
to develop the project, and how good they thought
service was. You might learn things you didn't
even ask them directly about - such as website
How to Factor Website Cost Considerations
There are "qualitative" as well as "quantitative" costs
to consider. You could ask a couple of web design companies
how much it would cost
and such a project", but you might also want to ask them how much
they would do for you for a set amount. This way if you have a specific
budget in mind
you'll be able to determine the value a web design company is willing
Realize that a well designed site, even at a higher
dollar amount, can
often provide the best value. Since image and functionality goes
a long way to "selling" the
customer - you'll want to utilize the best tool you can afford.
You might also consider asking the web developer to build the site
so you can better handle associated costs. Unlike print advertising
that may be thrown out, your web site will persist over time and
virtually 24/7/365. You'll want to get your website done right
the first time.
The Web Site Design - Typically
your web site will be built for you at a quoted "flat
rate." Once the specific tasks that are included in the quote have
been completed you will need to pay the designer additional fees for
Some web companies offer set "monthly maintenance" fees that supposedly
cover your regularly requested updates. While this may seem attractive,
realize that over time either you or your web designer will probably
feel taken advantage of by this arrangement. Either you won't have
to be made or you will be sending over so many update requests that
the web designer gets frustrated and customer service and response
grind to a halt.
A better arrangement is to agree on an hourly rate that you will pay
for web updates. Usually these will be billed in 15min increments and
are considered "emergency" or "short-notice." This way you'll only
pay for the service you need and not more.
The Web Hosting - Typically
you will be paying either a monthly or yearly recurring fee for a
web hosting account. Your web hosting account
store the actual
web page files that visitors will access when they visit your web
site. Monthly costs can range from $1 to over $100.
Something around $10-50
is most typical
- it all depends on features. Make sure you know what you are getting.
Some web hosting account plans have a built-in control panel that
will let you easily
update the content of your web site using only your web browser!
These plans may have a higher monthly fee, but they
can save you tremendous
amounts of money
in web maintenance and web update fees if you or an employee of your
company can do the updates yourself. Ask the web design company you
if they offer such an option, it's often referred to as a "content
- Time is money, right? Let your prospective
web design company know how soon you'd like your web
Get an agreed upon date in
your quote. While website quality is important, you can't make sales
from your site unless it is up and running.
Honestly, the single most important
factor to getting your website project completed promptly is to be prepared
yourself. You should be ready with
in mind, and have content ready and available to provide to your
web designer (or know the type of content you want)
before you give any website
design company a call. This will not only save you and the web designer time,
better customer service - and that's hard to buy at any price.
Fact: as a web designer about 40-50% of
my clients came to me because they weren't happy with
they received from their current
Either their project was not getting done on time or their web designer
was "AWOL" when
they needed additional service. A good web design company will
make promises they can keep. They'll also even know how to make you a better
will ask you the right questions and will provide clear communication
to help manage expectations. Don't be afraid to give a call to one of your
potential web design company's existing clients. Ask them how long they
have been working
together and how reliable their design company is. Having to
switch from one
web design company to another because of poor service - during
development or afterwards - is a time consuming and unenjoyable process.