How Do I Pick The Right Web Design Company For My Firm?
There are many options to consider when it comes to deciding who should design your firm’s website. There are a wide variety of design and development companies with very different skill sets. For example, some companies specialize in commerce, while others specialize in content management systems. Some only create mobile applications, while others may only pursue creative initiatives. The list goes on and on. Naturally, there are a few questions to ask before signing with a company, and I’m here to help you ask the right ones!
What do you need?
This may seem like an elementary question, but it’s quite possibly the most important. In order to determine which design company to hire, you must first decide what it is that you need designed. Are you after a full website? An app? Do you need an online store, a content management system or a static site? Do you need a new website, or does your current one just need a facelift?
It’s perfectly fine to allow a web design company to assist you in making these decisions, but I’d strongly suggest you do a little research first to decide what will work best for you.
What exactly do they do?
Determining a web design company’s core competencies is one of the most important things you, as a potential client, can do. There is not one company that is good at everything. Ask yourself, or even ask them, “What does Company X do really well?”. For example, if a company specializes in creating online stores and ecommerce solutions, they may not be a good choice for a content management or lead generation site. Another good question to ask is, “What services do they not offer?” Just because a company can build a website doesn’t mean they can promote it. Just because they can build a shopping cart doesn’t mean they’re good at building lead-gen sites.
There are plenty of companies catering to a wide variety of services; don’t be afraid of them, just make sure they have working examples of what you’re looking for.
How do they do what they do?
No two companies are going to develop your project the same way. Their work processes vary, their coding languages may differ and their creative processes can be vast. Find out more about the company’s dynamics and, most importantly, try to determine where you fall within it. How they interact with their clients during the design process can be the difference between a bad experience and a great one. Do they keep their clients in the loop throughout the design, or do they send design proofs once they’re complete? Do they involve their clients in proofing different stages of the development and allow clients to assist in testing functionality, or do they only send the client a link once the site is done?
There’s not necessarily a right or wrong method here. However, it is important to remember that not everyone works well together. Make sure their workflow is aligned with how you’d like to be involved.
When does the relationship end?
It’s important to know exactly when your project is going to be considered “finished”. The worst thing you can do is assume that this company will support your new website after it launches. Most companies deliver projects with an “as is” understanding. Unless you’ve clearly discussed ongoing maintenance, it’s usually a safe bet to assume any additional changes or management after launch is not included, even if something on your site breaks. Some companies will offer maintenance contracts that can act as both reactive and proactive site management; this detail is always worth researching.
It’s important to know what you’re getting into when building a website, especially if it’s a large one. Don’t be afraid to get all of the terms in writing and have the company outline what is and is not included in your purchase. One of the worst things you can do is assume you’ve purchased an option, or that an option is included.
It’s not always the easiest task finding the right company to build your website, but with these questions on-hand, it can be a little easier. Asking these questions will help you weed out companies that may not be a good fit for your practice and you will also be able to outline what is to be expected during and after the process.