The time has come to update your website. You just got a call from your favorite client and they nicely told you your website is looking outdated. Or you went to your website on your phone and realized you can't view anything easily. Either way, you need an upgrade and you don't know where to go. With so many web design companies to work with, how do you know which will deliver the highest value for your investment? Here’s a quick list to help you hire only the best.
1. A Strong Portfolio
First and foremost, you’re going to want to take a look at what websites they’ve built for other companies. Having several strong examples in terms of design and functionality is a great indicator that they can deliver a quality product.
2. Relevant Work
It helps if the company can show examples of work that are similar to what you’re looking for. This can be work for your same industry, a specific design style you would like to use, or a particular piece of functionality you are hoping to utilize in your next website.
3. Attention to User Experience
The company’s own website and the ones in their portfolio should be easy to use. If you can easily navigate the site to find what you’re looking for, that’s a good sign. Top-notch companies pay special attention to user experience on mobile devices. Test out their site on your phone and make sure it’s easy to use there. If not, move on.
4. A High Regard for Branding
A good web design company understands the importance of your brand and will make every effort to uphold yours. Not only can they follow branding standards in their design, but will infuse your brand into the copywriting, the photography style, and the overall “look and feel” of the site.
5. A Knack for Custom Design
If the web design company really listens to your wants and needs (and those of your users), you should come away with a design built to suit. If a unique design or advanced features are important, make sure the company can deliver them for your business specifically. The frequent use of website templates can be a red flag. You want a website that is truly yours—not one that 700 other companies have.
6. In-House Designers & Developers
You want a company that has their own designers and developers working on your website. You’ll likely be able to work directly with those who are actually building your website to give your input and direction along the way, minimizing the risk of miscommunication. Not only that, but since they’re in-house, you can be confident that the work you saw in the company’s portfolio was done by the same workers who are now working on your site. You will also have the ability to be in contact with a support team should you have any follow-up questions or requests.
7. Non-proprietary Solutions
You’re hiring a company to build a website, not make a life-long commitment. You want to make sure that in the future, you’ll be the owner or have access to your website code, databases, and all of the files should you ever decide to hire another company and need to transfer your data. A company that uses a well-supported content management system (CMS), and not something they built themselves (proprietary solutions), is a good indicator that you’ll be able to easily get what you need later.
8. A Collaborative Process
The web design company should be experts in web design. But YOU are the expert at your business. A good web design company will listen to your business pains, try to understand your unique audience, and deliver a website that serves your unique needs. Be wary of a company that claims to do it all without your input and knowledge, or doesn’t involve you in the process.
9. Above all Else…
You want to hire a company you are confident can do the job well. If the company puts you at ease by having enough relevant experience, a showcase of quality work, an established process, and a proven track record, you should be in good hands. If you find yourself uneasy, questioning their tactics, or seeing any red flags, move along. By looking for these traits, you’re setting yourself up for a great business relationship. An investment in a great website for your company should yield a great return!