Finding a reliable, experienced web design company is critical to the success of your online marketing efforts as there is so much that goes into the creation of a website beyond aesthetics.
Your web design company should be able to produce a professional looking, clean, unique, easy to navigate website that reflects your company’s brand, speaks to your target audience, and is based on strategic objectives and delivering desired results.
In addition, the website, in most cases, will need to integrate social media, customer service functionality, calls-to-action, and compelling content in order to engage the site’s visitors and compel them to take action in some measurable way. Search engine optimization, both on-page and off-page, are other key factors which drive high-quality visitors to the site and ensure your site is found online.
So, how do you go about finding a web design company that encompasses all of these skills and capabilities?
Think of choosing a professional Web design company as you would a builder for your home or brick and mortar storefront – you want someone who has the experience, materials and tools necessary to get the job done right.
Here are 13 questions you need to ask your prospective website design company:
1. What case studies do you have that show your value?
The company should have a portfolio or case studies on their website showcasing their clients and previous web design work. This is a great way to review how the web design company produced results for other clients, and their design styles and capabilities. It also will give you an idea of the industries they specialize in.
2. How is your design going to help me with my business goals?
The web design company should have a process that is user focused and results-oriented. It’s important that their process begins with identifying objectives and goals for the new website before the design and development process gets underway as the goals will drive the direction of the website’s design.
3. Will you be incorporating SEO and producing a keyword report?
Search engine optimization ensures the website will be found online and is a vital part of the website design process. The web design company should have a deep understanding of on-page and off-page SEO and be able to provide results produced for other clients.
4. How much time do you spend planning and researching?
Designing a website that stands apart from your competitors, appeals to your target markets, and compels visitors to take the desired steps in order to produce intended results and meet your objectives takes planning and research. Make sure the web design company understands the importance of this step in the process and allocates a good amount of time towards analyzing your business, competitors, and market.
5. Do you have any references or client testimonials?
The web design company should have a list of client testimonials or references. It’s a good idea to contact a few of these references to learn about past clients’ experiences and the results that were achieved from their websites.
6. Do you offer website design templates or customized website design?
Customized designs should be utilized to convey your brand, be scalable, unique and tailored to your target market. They include all the bells and whistles you need to make your site stand apart. Template sites, on the other hand, tend to have very basic designs and have limited features and capabilities.
7. Do you create wireframes before designing the website?
Wireframes are layouts that illustrate how the content will be presented on the new website and are an important part of the web design process. Wireframes should be a first step in the design process before any design elements are added as the content should drive the layout and look and feel. It should not be the other way around.
8. Do you create easy-to-manage websites?
Your new website should be easy to manage and be built using a content management system (CMS). Be wary of web design companies who have their own customized CMS as it may be a huge headache down the road if you ever need to transfer your website to a different web design company.
9. Who owns the website upon completion?
Upon completion of the new website, all rights to the site and its site files, design files, etc. should be transferred to you, the client. This should be stated in writing within the web design contract.
10. Will you be using responsive website design? Will the site look good on all devices and platforms?
Responsive website design ensures the website will look good on all browsers, screen resolutions, and mobile devices. The website should be set-up so it automatically adjust and reformat to the visitor’s device and provide an optimal viewing experience. Ask the web design company about their testing process and make sure they are utilizing responsive design techniques in their website designs.
11. How long does a typical website project take?
The web design company should have a streamlined process in place and be able to give you a timeline to complete the new website design.
12. How do you charge for web design work?
Since so much goes into designing a website, often it can be hard to determine a price in the initial interview with a web design company. However, the company should be able to give you a ballpark number (ex: hourly rate and the estimated number of hours to complete a typical website or a price range) of how they charge which will help you to determine whether their services will be a good fit for your budget and needs. The web design company should provide detailed pricing information in their proposals about each of their website design services, and break-out the pricing in an easy-to-understand format.
13. Do you provide website maintenance services?
Make sure the web design company offers ongoing website maintenance services, if you will be needing help keeping the site up-to-date and maintained. Many web design companies offer monthly maintenance packages.