Choosing a Web Design Firm for Small Business
If you’re in the market for a reputable, yet affordable web design firm, you’ve probably done your homework. You’ve also probably scrolled through Google listings, clicked a few links, read a few websites. How do you weed out the top performers from the rest? How do you find a web design firm that matches your passion, your vision and your budget? Once you’ve determined how you want your website to work, get down to the nitty gritty.
What do you need your website to do for you? Are you building your brand or repairing your online reputation? Do you need a full revamp, website assessment, or are you building from scratch? Make a list of the things that are important to you in a website (effective e-commerce tools, gripping graphics, informative copy). Compare your essential requirements to the web design firm’s specialties. Need SEO but the firm doesn’t offer this service? Keep shopping.
Take a look at the designer’s portfolio. Good designers take pride in their work and expect you to ask to see previous projects. Looking at a designer’s portfolio can tell you a lot about his/her style, preferences and specialties. Are the sample sites aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate? If you see something you like, make a note.
Good web designers understand that your website is also your business. If the designer doesn’t have much interest in your company, industry and goals, keep looking. Without good knowledge of your product or service, it’s impossible for a designer to build the ideal site. A consultation is the prime opportunity for the designer to understand what you’re trying to accomplish; s/he should ask the right questions, dig deeper and instill confidence.
Think about the weeks or months or years after the design is done. Will you want more help and ongoing collaboration? This will help narrow your search. Many web design firms are just that – they design and the job is done. Other firms welcome an ongoing relationship; they thrive on helping you with maintenance, expansion, and strategy.
In the end, there are thousands upon thousands of web design firms and freelance designers to choose from. The trick is finding one that cares about your goals and one with whom you can build trust and a long-term relationship. Like any investment, put the time into your research and you’ll be rewarded in the long run.