Your company website is a shop window onto the entire world, so getting it right is important. There are plenty of options today that allow you to build your own site, of course, but if you’re serious about doing business on the web, you really need a professional job.
Choosing the right web designer to do the work for you needs careful consideration. You’re looking not just at their design skills but at their business knowledge, SEO ability, knowledge of your local area and more.
Start with Their Site
There’s an old story about a small town with two barbers: one has immaculate hair, while the other looks wild and unkempt. Which do you choose? You go for the one with the wild hair on the theory that they must cut each other’s. Of course, this theory doesn’t work with web designers because – you would hope – that they have built their own websites.
A designer’s own site is a good place to start when evaluating their skills. It’s an area where first impressions matter. Look at the style of the site but also at how easy it is to use. Is it simple and clean or have they thrown every design trick in the book at it? Remember that complex doesn’t always mean best.
Also, most designers will provide links to sites that they’ve built for clients, so you can get a good idea of the type of work they produce and what sort of companies they’ve worked with. If much of your business is local, then selecting a firm that has done work for other businesses in the area is a key part of picking the best web design company.
Who Are You Dealing With?
The next step is to get in touch. You’ll probably deal with a sales person or account manager to begin with. Make sure that you understand your needs and can offer clear solutions that are going to deliver for you – not just an off-the-peg design.
At some point you’ll want to be able to talk to the actual designer. You may have some ideas of your own that you want incorporating – if you have a set of company colours, for example. A discussion with the designer can help both of you to be clear on what the site needs to do and how it should look.
When you sign up to have a site built, make sure you clear on what’s included in the contract. Exactly who is responsible for what? If you need to provide design elements like photos or logos, for example, make sure you do so on time to avoid delays.
Also you need to make sure you own the code at the end of the process. If you don’t, then you’ll be tied to the design company for all future changes and may have problems should you need to move your site to a different host.
If you want a maintenance contract for your site, make sure that you understand the target times for getting things fixed and any ongoing costs.