Posted at May 23, 2019 3:43:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share
One of the biggest steps you can take as a company is deciding to commit to a professional website design. Is this new territory for you? Or is this territory that you simply haven't had to tread for several years? Either way, a lot will seem new and different. Technology and marketing philosophies change now faster than they ever have before. How do you find the best web design company? Look to fit and experience among many other factors:
1. What is your budget?
Have your website design roughly budgeted out. You may not know where exactly that budget will end up in the design process, but you know it's what you have to work with. Don't present your ideal budget in order to show off or impress anyone. Present your real budget.
A professional website design company can be extremely flexible and adaptive in the right circumstances. If you have a lower budget, it may not be as creatively limiting as you think. An agency that knows what it has to work with can be very effective. One that has to pull back its ideas mid-process because a budget was misrepresented won't be as useful to you.
2. What is their pricing?
It's difficult for agencies to give you top-down pricing straight out. Every job is different and has unique requirements. The best web design company may not list its pricing online because it's used to customizing plans for different needs.
If you stick only to agencies that list online pricing, you'll needlessly limit your search. Be willing to have conversations with agencies that don't list pricing. These are often agencies that can tailor a plan more uniquely to your needs.
3. Are there fees or charges?
This is important. Some agencies will end up listing fees and charges on top of the pricing that they've prescribed. You don't want to budget something out perfectly only to find that there are hidden fees to surprise you at the end.
You'll want to know whether the agency charges for unscheduled updates or bills you for work outside the agreed-upon pricing. These questions can help protect you from less professional agencies.
4. Have you checked their references?
Checking the past work of a professional website design agency is remarkably easy. After all, their work is online for all to see. Look at the websites of their past clients. See how easy they are to load, how navigable they are, and whether you like the aesthetic and design philosophy. Do you think their past websites encourage you to linger and continue clicking the way you want your customers and clients to?
Contact these businesses to ask about their experience with the agency. Perhaps they'll tell you they nabbed the best website design company. Perhaps they'll say they're eager to leave their contract. Ask for their experiences. This step is far too often skipped, but it's one of the most useful ways to verify that you'll get to work with a worthwhile agency.
While you're at it, check their client retention rate. Most agencies will have rates around 60%. This is reasonable. Websites need updating and maintenance, so those agencies with higher retention rates do work that clients find valuable. Rates of 70-90% are good to exceptional, so take a long look at these agencies.
5. Who will you work with?
Remember that you don't work with an agency as a whole. You'll have a point person who's chiefly responsible for your site design. Perhaps the agency will give you a choice and offer strengths and weaknesses of different representatives. Perhaps they'll make a recommendation based on the fit they think is best.
This person won't be accessible to you all the time, and that's OK. They'll have other clients, sick days, emergencies, etc. You'll want a second point of contact as well. An agency must also be prepared to give you constant access to customer support.
6. How will updates work?
Once the website is up and running, you'll want it updated regularly. Before you commit to a professional website design, you need to know how this design will be maintained down the road. Have a blueprint for how updating and maintenance will work. Perhaps a great design feature will need some additional tweaking. Perhaps you'll find one tool is popular with customers and you want to capitalize on that.
If all goes well, you may see a boom in visitors. You need to know you can accommodate them without your site having problems. Part of website design is reacting quickly to the things customers and clients respond to. You need to know that updating will happen with immediacy and responsiveness.
7. What's the long-term blueprint?
A blueprint is necessary. This can include any number of elements, depending on the complexity and timing of your needs. You may need to switch hosts, improve security, create a new maintenance schedule. A website design incorporates a lot more than just putting together a nice site and launching it. You need to make sure it works on a multitude of platforms and devices, that it's safe to use, that it protects your customers' data... the list goes on.
A good site design from an aesthetic perspective is one important element of professional website design. The best web design company will also design a safe, secure, and resilient infrastructure the site can use to protect you, your customers, and make itself ready for later expansion and evolution.