23 Things to Consider When Hiring a Web Design Company: Part I
Searching for a web design company that fits the needs of your business can be overwhelming. On the surface, they may all look the same and provide the same services, but as you begin to dive deeper, it's only then you are able to understand the true value of a good web design company's expertise.
Nearly four years ago, Ian Loew shared 12 basic questions to ask when hiring and reviewing web design companies in a blog article. Since then, the typical buyer’s journey has changed dramatically, so we're updating our insights in this two-part blog to help prepare you in your quest to find the right web design company that will successfully design and develop your business's website.
But First, What Challenges Are We Seeing In the Market?
The internet impacts how we make purchasing decisions, but technology impacts where and when we make those purchasing decisions. As a result this has transformed the buyer’s journey; 67 percent of it is now being done digitally.
So why should this matter?
In today’s information age, a company’s website is the key to its entire business.
Businesses are challenged more than ever to get the right piece of content in front of the right audience at the right time. Google has coined this as the “zero moment of truth.” This is a huge undertaking, with which most businesses struggle. Understandably, this is no small feat, but being present in the moments your prospective clients need you most will help you achieve more success. I encourage you to ask your company these questions:
- Do you know how many users are searching for your company?
- What about your business category?
- How many of those times does your company show up on the first two pages of the search results?
- How many times do your prospective clients choose you?
- Why do they choose you?
- Most importantly, how many times do your competitors show up on the first two pages of the search results, but you don't?
A strategic web design company will be able to increase your business's online visibility, generate more engagement with your brand online, and capitalize on this "Zero Moment of Truth." So choose wisely.
What Important Things Should My Business Consider When Hiring a Web Design Company?
Marcus Sheridan said it best: “In today’s information age, a company’s website is the key to their entire business.” Since a company's website is so critical to the success of its business, we have taken Ian's original list as a jumping off point and and compiled a new one: 23 things to consider before partnering with a web design company.
Part I of this blog details the first 10 insights and the second part will cover the final 13. Let's get started!
- Is all work done in-house or does the web design company outsource? Do not hesitate to ask whether or not the web design company performs all of its services in-house. This includes design (e.g., Photoshop work), coding (e.g., html, database creation, php), writing, content creation, and marketing. A team well versed in all arenas is apt to merge its talents to create a successful site. When all the work is performed in-house, the synergy results in greater communication, collaboration and an overall better quality product. The last thing you need to encounter is a deficiency during the web design or development phase that requires help from another company, along with additional costs beyond your initial budget and increased timelines.
- Is its web design and development solutions customized to your specific needs? Your company is unique and your website should be, too, to reinforce a strong, favorable first impression and a quality user experience. Custom solutions provide greater branding, flexibility, and scalability for your website as your company grows.
- What is its web design and development process? It's important to know how a digital company approaches web design and development because this provides direct insight into its experience and strategy. It also allows you to manage your expectations as it relates to the key milestones, number of revisions allotted to each phase, implications, timelines, etc.
- What is its marketing experience? Your website is the face of your company and, if designed and developed properly, can become one of your best salesreps as it generates new leads and builds your sales pipeline. Moreover, a website shouldn't be looked at in a silo. It should be considered within the mix of content marketing, digital marketing, SEO, social media, blogging, lead generation and inbound marketing tactics. By partnering with a web design company that illustrates this marketing prowess, you can elevate your website to a marketing platform powerhouse.
- How does it approach search engine optimization (SEO)? Just as important as having a beautifully designed and functioning site is the ability for that site to be visible during relevant keyword searches. After all, what good is a website if your prospects can't find it during their searches? In addition to the marketing tactics listed above, your website's coding, title tags, meta descriptions and alt tags impact your SEO. Luckily, there are a lot of great paid and unpaid tools (like Google Analytics, Google Trends, SerpChecker, WebMeUp, Backlink Checker, and Spyfu) that web design companies can leverage to further improve your site's SEO, so it's important that you understand what resources are in its arsenal.
- Can they share 3-5 relevant references? What better way to learn about a web design company then through its past or present clients? By speaking with a few references, you can gain insights from their experience to better guage the web design company's strengths, weaknesses, quality, work ethic, integrity, and dependability.
- Do they provide a warranty on their work? It is very crucial to know whether there is a guarantee that the website will function exactly as it was intended to based on the proposal. Moreso, knowing that you will not be charged for any code issues post-launch for a specified period of time illustrates a great deal of integrity on the web design company. Otherwise, you may expect to pay for every "fix" and those costs can quickly add up.
- Do they have case studies or proven metrics and results from previous projects? Reviewing the web design company's work will give you an understanding on whether it has a proven track record for designing and developing high-performing websites. Are they able to solve business challenges through design and custom functionality/coding? Do their websites achieve results for their clients?
- Are you philosophically aligned? The gravity of entering into a working relationship with another company cannot be underestimated. It is essential to find a fit between your philosophy and theirs. Often, such compatibility can be determined through careful analysis of the manifesto or statement of purpose that a web design company might include on their site. This can also be further gleaned through conversations with the web design company.
- How large is the company? How many employees does the web design company have? What are their areas of expertise? Can they handle the scope of work? Will you be provided with a single point of contact who will take personal ownership of the web project? Too large a company may leave you feeling like you're getting lost in the shuffle. Too small and they might not have the resources necessary to elevate your web presence to the next level. Ideally, a web design company is nimble enough to handle all of your needs quickly and efficiently while having the tools at their disposal to ensure all requests are properly seen to. Even more important than the quantity of employees is the quality.
Good luck in your search for the right web design company and stay tuned for 15 more insights in second part of this blog.
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