So you’re ready to build a website for your new business venture, or maybe to finally redesign your outdated site. Great. But that means you’re facing the daunting task of picking one web design agency from the sea of options out there.
There’s no one web design company that’s perfect for every brand; each firm has its own unique combination of priorities, processes, capabilities, experience, areas of focus, and talent (hopefully). And some combinations serve some needs better than others.
Finding the right match has an enormous impact on how smooth and enjoyable the web design and development process turns out. It also tends to have considerable bearing on what you and your target market think of the final product, and how well it serves you.
Here are some important considerations to help assess the possibilities and select a web design firm:
Evaluate the Web Design Agency’s Website
If a web design company can’t sell itself with its own website, it’s unlikely to build a successful one for your brand. Is its site compelling, contemporary, clean, user-friendly, attractively designed, well written, and otherwise appealing? If it’s ugly, confusing, full of typos or grammatical and spelling errors, or doesn’t give you a clear sense of what the company does, move along. Every aspect of the site speaks to the team’s abilities, mastery of craft, pride in their work, and attention to detail.
Check Out the Web Design Firm’s Portfolio
Assuming it has one. If it doesn’t, skip it. Does the firm have a respectable amount of experience? Does it serve a broad range of industries or specialize? There are pros and cons to each, but most importantly, does it have experience relevant to your brand and project? What sort of clients does it work for?
Try to put your personal taste aside when reviewing the portfolio. Creative elements are subjective, and great web design companies design their sites to speak to a carefully chosen target audience. Rather than asking yourself if you like the site, ask yourself if it sends a clear message about the brand’s value. If you’re interested, we talk more about this in our piece “Hey, What Do You Think of My New Website?”
Does the Web Design Company Have a Brand Development Process?
To elaborate on the above, if you want a website that successfully generates leads and sales, it has to be specifically designed to directly address your target market. Because again, so much of the creative side is subjective; it’s just as impossible to build a website that everyone loves as it is to write a book or make a movie that everyone loves.
The key is to build a website that is well aware of who it’s talking to and what they do and don’t want.
You may already have gone through the due diligence of brand development, and that’s fantastic. If not, your web designer needs to be equipped for this. But even if so, the agency must smartly translate this into practical implications for your new site. If you want an effective website, it can’t just have pretty pages. It must have built-in branding.
Look for Testimonials
Testimonials—which should only be considered if attributed to real people representing real brands—are a great source of social proof that a web design company delivers great work and great customer service. Not every company publishes these, but typically, those with a solid record of delighting clients find it easy to get testimonials and are obviously proud to display them.
Confirm There’s a Team
A lot of web design “companies” are actually just individuals who build websites. Sure, some of them turn out attractive work. But if you want a successful business website that helps you grow your brand and your income, it requires a good deal of analytical, graphic design, copywriting, and marketing talent. It’s not likely you’ll encounter any one person with talent in all these areas.
Consider Additional Services Offered
Many web design agencies also offer a variety of graphic design, digital marketing, and traditional marketing and branding services. If you have some of these services in mind, it’s convenient to work with a single agency that can handle all your needs. Even if you’re only looking for a website now, you’ll probably want additional services in the future. There are lots of advantages to getting these services from an agency that’s already well acquainted with your brand.
Talk to a Representative About the Process
You can learn a lot before talking to anyone, but much of the most important information comes from your contact once you have a promising candidate. This is when you get more into finding the right match for your specific needs.
Below are some areas you want solid details about. And pay attention to how good you feel about your interactions and how well the agency communicates, as these are important clues to how much you’ll like working with the people there.
- The price structure and whether there are hidden costs
- The brand development process
- How the team works
- How they approach usability in design
- How they incorporate responsive design
- Their functionality testing process
- When you review and provide feedback on progress
- How revision and redesign requests are handled
- How long the project should take
- Whether they provide a content management system (CMS)
- Whether you retain full ownership of your site and domain name
- How website results are measured, reported to you, and used
- What website security is put in place
- What technical support is offered on an ongoing basis
We invite you to take a look around our site to check out our portfolio and testimonials, and to find some information about our team, services, and process. We’re happy to chat to answer all your questions, including everything covered above.