How to choose one
The more established web design businesses will have a reputation. This is based upon their previous work. When a web designer does a good job, happy customers will be enthusiastic about recommending their work to others who require similar services. It's always a good idea to take a look through some previous work and see if that is the kind of style you are looking for but there are always wider issues to consider such as their experience at making a website really work for your business in terms of online marketing strategy.
The good or the best
Generally speaking, if you want the best of anything then you are more than likely going to have to pay more. This is because the very best of an industry are in demand. This makes their time worth more money. The web design industry is no different. Sure you can get a good web designer to create a good website for you but if your company does not generally settle for anything less then you need a seek out the best.
Taking time with your design
I would expect a great web designer to take lots of time to develop an idea. Rushing is not an option. I would expect a tried and trusted web design process to be followed. This helps each stage of the development to flow and ensures that designs are agreed before the next stage commences. In the world of business requirements can and do change so a website designer who is flexible and offers an iterative approach to design is your best option.
Planning for the future
The chances are that your competitors do not just have a website but have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy in place, as well as a Social Media Marketing strategy and overall Internet Marketing Strategy. If this is the case, then to remain competitive, you need one too. When choosing a web design company you are best advised to make sure they consider Web Design as a part of Internet Marketing as opposed to a standard form of media.
Lots of companies make the mistake of getting one company to do their website, then another to do their SEO, another to create an internet marketing plan. The better option is to choose a single agency which has enough expertise to cover all areas.
Top 10 tips for choosing a Web Designer
Right, here goes.
1) Geographical Location
Choose a web designer who is near to you. It's nice to have easy access. Unless you have very specific requirements that really can not be serviced by a local company then look local.
There are a number of ways of judging a web designer's expertise. One way to tell how good they are is to speak to them. Then you will want to know if they are as good as they say they are so examine their work.
Do they have experience in web design and do they have experience developing websites for your industry and the level in the marketplace that your company as achieved or is aiming to achieve.
4) Design Process
What do they actually do to take an idea online. They must use a process. Ask others who have used them for an informal chat about their experiences with the web designer.
Each and every company has a set budget. Maybe this is a fixed figure or a percentage of perceived value to your business. A basic rule of thumb is that if you can not afford to have a website designed which is better than your competitors (or at least as good) then you need to budget more.
6) The Extras
Lots of companies have a website developed. Most businesses have a web presence. But does it work. You need to budget for the extras such as SEO to get your website seen on the search engines.
So you've called up a few web designers and had a chat. Research shows that if you choose to do business with someone who you can get along with then the product or service will be better than if you can not communicate properly. Illicititing requirements in a project is particularly difficult when they are multiple stakeholders involved. Everyone wants to add their personal touch and rightly so. But everyone must be happy with the end product including your end users.
Sometimes reserved for larger projects but if you lose contact with your web designer later on down the line then you need handover documentation for your new designer or it will end up costing more money to continue the development. A website must grow with your business and be updated frequently so that it does not become stale and can help your business keep up with the competition. Be aware that some developers use their own proprietary web design platform which only they can update. There is nothing wrong with this but it does lock you in to using them in the future and it would be difficult for another developer to carry on from where they left off. The worst case scenario may be that you would need to start over from scratch if the original web design company disappeared.
The web design process should be fun. Business should be fun. Can you have fun with your prospective web design company or do you think it will be all hard work. The best way to tell early on is to try a bit of early design and see how the web designer communicates with you.
10) Previous Successes
Who have they worked with? What have they done for them? How successful were their last three projects? If the answer is very successful then go for it!