How To Choose A Website Design Firm
There are countless website design firms and each one claims to provide the best solutions in comparison to all the other firms. For a business looking at all the different providers it can become quickly confusing and when faced with a deadline and a growing need for a better online presence, making a choice is difficult and critical. In order to make the best choice for your current situation, you must evaluate each design firm you are looking at and make an informed decision based on your research and not the firm’s sales pitch. There are several key factors you have to determine before you contact a single designer. Following are 5 of the most important traits that should influence your decision before finalizing a particular firm.
Does the company provide SEO optimization in the web design–
Website design and search engine optimization are so closely related that the lack of planning for SEO during the design and layout of your website will be a handicap in how search engines interact with your site during indexing and ranking. If your designer understands SEO and plans for online marketing during the design phase your site will see massive returns on your investment in way of traffic and customer conversions. Everything on your website from the content, layout, and page titles to even the website name itself is all part of SEO and factored by the search engines. Ask any potential design firm about relevant links, keyword research, meta tags, and on-site optimization. If you do not receive educated answers your website will suffer for its inability.
Does the company offer unique custom solutions–
Having a unique design is very important in distinguishing yourself from your competitors. If a company uses readily available templates for your website then you will be unpleasantly surprised to see your exact layout and design on numerous other sites. Look at the firm’s portfolio of past projects and see if they offer a range of different design solutions or if they look very much the same with the biggest difference being the color palette. The design firm you choose must be professional enough to provide you with new ideas and concepts that will further promote your business and help it stand apart in your industry.
Does the company design with your business goals in mind–
Even though a unique and attractive site is a necessity, your website also has to perform the goals for which it was built. A beautiful website without a clear call to action telling the visitor what to do is useless as a marketing tool. A professional firm will be able to incorporate unique design and functionality to promote your targeted products or services, capture new visitors and turn visitors into customers. If a design firm does not begin their initial research with the proper information about your company goals, then the website they produce will fall short of those goals also. You can learn quite a bit about a design firm through the initial questions asked during your consultation. These questions point specifically at the area the design firm is most interested in and if your company’s needs and goals are not at the forefront of those questions, then they are not the most important driving force to the design firm.
Does the company use the latest web technology available–
The software and languages used in website design are constantly improving and being updated by the companies who developed them. If your website is not being updated in order to be compatible with new technology you will one day find that your website does not physically perform any longer. It may be something as simple as a slider stops working and remains on a single image or it may be as drastic as your website has rearranged itself and is no longer legible. Even the software people use to view your site is constantly changing and being updated to allow the use of more advanced features. How your website appears when viewed in Firefox may be completely different than what visitors see when using Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. A professional design firm can produce websites that work as expected in all the different browsers and devices that access them. Make sure the designer offers websites that are cross-browser compatible and mobile responsive to ensure your website can be viewed from anywhere and on any device. Also, look at their support policy to ensure your site will be updated in the future as new technology is introduced and current technology is improved.
Does the company allow you to make changes to your own site–
If you cannot access your own website in order to make changes then you are not in control of your website, the designer is. Your website is a marketing tool and as such, it should be updated with fresh current information on a regular basis. This is only accomplished in one of two ways which will drastically affect your wallet and your marketing efforts. You call or email your designer and request the changes, paying whatever fee they charge for the service, and then you have to wait until they can complete those changes, or you have complete control of your website and can easily make changes yourself whenever you see fit. A professional design firm can create a website that allows you to have complete access to content, images, pages, and posts and allows you to make changes on a regular basis without the need to pay them an hourly fee. This should be a free feature and you should never pay to have access to a website you already own. Ask if you will be able to easily make changes if there is any special software needed and if there will be any charges for this access. If you will not have full access, or if the designer wants to charge extra for that option, then you have not found a professional.