How to choose the right web design company

Many business owners will understand that in order to succeed within a strong competitive market you need to offer the best brand experience for all of your customers, both loyal and potential.

During the past decade the way businesses market their brand has changed significantly with many thanks to social media platforms and also mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. These new methods of browsing and buying have allowed consumers great power to choose the brand they wish to commit too. This new type of consumer can often leave business owners with the fundamental task of finding the right and best website design company or agency to deliver your company’s message to your targeted audience and potential customers in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Without a properly designed website, you are unfortunately placing your company and brand at an incredibly large disadvantage if you are trying to grow your company’s brand on the world wide web when your website is compared to your competitors who may be doing it far better.

There is an abundance of professional website designers, agencies and companies out there and readily available for you to choose from. Many of which understand that a clean and effective website that is well designed and laid out properly can help you grow your business and brand with ease.

So before you begin to browse through the mountain of agencies out there, it is important to understand what basic things you should expect and what your designer should be doing for you:

  • Design your website’s physical design such as layout, colours, etc.
  • Setup your website’s content management system (CMS).
  • Place any static web pages that you may need.
  • Setup a control panel or publishing page where you can add new content/products and add your own search engine optimization (SEO) goals. Wordpress is a good example of this for beginners.
  • Provide you with any logins and passwords to the CMS so you can edit the website.
  • Inform you of how to use the CMS if you don’t understand.

At this point there is no need to overcomplicate the design stage. Your web designer is just simply that, so do not bombard them with how to get higher ranks, etc. It isn’t their primary job. Nevertheless, they may be able to offer you some support and advice when it comes to SEO, but do not count on it. Good designers are there to create something which is both friendly for your customers and search engines, once that is done; it is all handed to you. What you do with it next is entirely down to your discretion.

Now that we understand what to expect from our web designer, it’s important as to where they come from. Will you choose an individual, an agency or go directly to a recommended company? Below you will find 10 quick tips on how to choose the right web designer for your company.

Step one: Take a look at the designer’s portfolio.

Like many artists, web designers all come with their own bespoke design style. This means you will more than likely find a designer who creates websites with the exact look that you want for your company branding. If you have found a designer or a company, make sure that you browse through the samples of websites on their portfolio.

Step two: Communicate with the designer, tell them what you need.

As with any good service, you expect them to be honest. A good designer should be entirely honest with you and tell you exactly how capable they are at achieving what you are looking for. The true sign of a good designer is that they will talk about your company, your services and products to gain a real insight on what angles to take when designing your website.

Step three: Don’t choose a designer/company that promises to put your website on the first page of Google.

Placing your website on the front page and the first rank of Google is not your website designer’s job. Their job is to design and to provide you with the necessary tools so that your website has the potential to get to the front page of Google and other search engines. Any designer or company who promises the first page of Google in their sales package should be avoided.

Organic and genuine search engine traffic must be grown and sustained by the use of informative and interesting content that is useful to visitors of your website. Not by your designer.

Step four: Don’t choose a design company who will charge you to make updates.

Every website on the world wide web is continually evolving. When a website is ‘finished’ it never truly is, as new products and content should be added on a regular basis. This means, if you are a company that needs to update their website with new content and products each week or month, you do not want to be spending a fortune updating it. There are many great tools available that allow you, or someone within your organization, to quickly and easily make changes and updates to your website. If we take a look at the bullet points above, your designer should spend some time (or provide written instructions) on how to use your CMS and update your new website accordingly.

Step five: Choose a designer who designs and uses the internet in their free time.

A designer who is often found designing and using the web frequently in their spare time will have a greater knowledge and genuine understanding on how a website should look and operate. After all, if they spend most of their time on the web, surely they must know better. Individuals with a true passion will provide you with a great result and it will be far easier to work with a designer who spends a lot of their life on the internet. They understand the web and understand website usability better.

Step six: Don’t separate the coding and design of your website.

Splitting your coding and design across two companies or two individuals is never a good idea. This can cause crossed wires, differences in opinions and may often take longer than if one company was dealing with both aspects of your website. To get the best results for your website it would be logical to keep everything under one roof and performed by one source who understands everything that you need.

Step seven: Separate the external marketing and design.

It is never recommended to allow a design company or design orientated individual to do things such as setting up your social media campaigns or implementing your AdWords campaign for you. There are an abundance of professional agencies that purely specialize in just that, and if you have the correct web product, these expert companies and their marketing teams can really sell it for you. It is not unheard of, but it is incredibly rare to find a design company who can also provide top of the range PR and marketing too. If you have your mind set on using a designer for your marketing, make sure you do your research first.

Step eight: Don’t choose a designer who designs websites in Flash.

Many of us are aware that Google can search Flash websites, but they often come across tacky and dated. It increases website load time significantly (which may hurt your ranking), they don’t work on all browsers, they certainly do not work on some mobile devices and flash websites are not always user friendly.

Step nine: Get other enthusiastic members of staff on board.

You may be fortunate enough to have an individual within your company who comes across as tech or web savvy. You should take advantage of members of your team who are enthusiastic and passionate about the web. They may want to be involved in the design process, and as they know your company as well as you do, they may be able to offer additional help when working with the designer. You may even want them to be responsible for updating your website and products.

Step ten: Choose a designer who is recommended by someone who knows their stuff.

If a friend or family member has a successful website, you may want to speak with them about the company that they hired to make their success possible. After all, results speak for themselves. Finding a designer, through a recommendation by someone you trust is more than likely the best way to find the right company for you.