As a business owner, you understand and see that to succeed in a competitive marketplace it’s imperative that you have the superior brand experience for your customers. Over the past few years there have been tides of marketing change and mobile web has given the consumer power to choose on a variety of platforms. That’s why it’s more important than ever to searching for the right web design company to deliver your company’s message in the most elegant, effective and efficient way possible.
We’ve made a list of 7 tips on hiring a web design company to help you on the decision making journey when choosing an agency, or freelance designer.
#1 Know your bottom line
The first tip is to know your goals very well. What do you want your website or online marketing campaign to achieve? In addition you need to carefully consider how you are going to measure success.
For example, let’s say your website is mainly an eCommerce site. Your focus is going to be on return on investment (ROI), customer checkout flow and building and maintaining your customer base. If you’re about to launch a new business and you need increased brand awareness, you will be providing information about your services. In this case, online visibility through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is your focus.
When you know exactly what you need to attain your goals you will be able to see if the web design company is the right fit.
What to do? Ask the web design company you’re interested in working with to provide clear examples of what they can do. Sometimes evidence is in the form of case studies published on their website. Other times you may have to ask directly for case studies or work examples that show how they have provided a solution.
#2 Know your cost vs. value
It’s usually the very large elephant in the room. Cost can certainly a deal maker or breaker when it comes to hiring a web design company.
As with any purchase, the phrase “you get what you pay for” is no less true in the world of web design development and online marketing. If you start to cut costs just to save a dollar or two now, you probably won’t experience as much value in the long-term when it comes to measuring the results you planned for in step one.
So how do you justify the costs of your web design project? It’s all in the numbers. Simple math really. This is where you can stop right now as a business owner and do some research. How much have you spent this past year on advertising and marketing? What about the past 5 years? How have those efforts brought forth a return on your investment? With traditional printed advertisement marketing, your results can be hard if not impossible to track, but with online marketing everything is trackable.
What to do? Ask your chosen web design company if they can provide clear evidence of the value delivered to their clients. Always remember that it’s all about value, not costs. If the web design company can provide ROI then it certainly isn’t a deal breaker. Don’t let sticker shock prevent you from making the right investment in your business, with your goals in mind. After some research you might find you’ve been spending a lot of money in the wrong marketing for quite some time.
#3 Identify a solid track record
Now this isn’t necessarily how long a web design company has been in business. In fact, many new agencies have awesome ideas and are already on the cutting edge technologies, methodologies and approach to their work. The main thing to look for is how much the web agency understands your specific industry and whether they’ve delivered a similar solution to their other clients.
What to do? Ask for client testimonials, performance data or a case study demonstrating their approach and the results.
#4 Communicate and Learn
The web is a dynamic and ever changing monster, even for us living and breathing it every day. So it’s super important that you actually understand what your chosen web design company is doing.
When you enter into a discussion about your website and how it will work on the web, they should be on your side. They should not be patronizing, but instead explaining exactly what they do in simple terms. Most importantly, why they are doing it. If you’re ever confused or lost, ask for clarification.
What to do? Ask the web design company about their process, and why they’re making certain recommendations on the project. Best case scenario is they actually know what they’re talking about, and offer a recommendation paired with a reason at the same time, without needing to be asked. You should never feel like you don’t know what’s going on with your investment.
#5 Content is your problem
The first thing that comes to mind when coming up with your own reasons for a re-launch of a new site is how your website looks and functions. These are definitely very important, but the absolute most important bullet point on your checklist to a great website is content.
If your web agency completes the artwork before tackling content, you know you’re in the wrong place. Content dictates form, and therefore function. It’s design 101.
Your web design company should be asking the right questions at the start of the project to yield the right answers that will help guide the creation of the content. Content creation is building the framework that holds your content. By having a website that has an excellent, well thought out structure to its content, you can be ensured that your website will continue to deliver the proper message to your intended audience for years to come, and have room to scale.
What to do? Help your customers with awesome content. Guide their clicks and make it easy for them to find exactly what they’re looking for. This includes great copywriting, image, videos, icons, graphics and more. Either your team needs to provide the great content, or you will hire your web company to do content creation.
#6 Know what your goals are, and be realistic
Make some smart time investments into your goals and expectations from your web design agency. Define what 6 months to a year’s time looks like in terms of your goals to make sure it will be money well spent. My Bellingham SEO clients are usually very specific with their goals.
Go ahead and think beyond “ranked first on Google” or “getting more traffic”.
What are some goals you can shoot for?
- Generate more leads
- Increase online sales
- Improve brand awareness
- Be connected with your customer base
What do do? Ask your web design company what tools and services they offer that will bring measurable traffic to your website. They should understand your sales process so that the website can work to optimize it online.
#7 Maintain the quality of your investment
Having a powerful website goes far beyond the launch date. After the initial launch, a good web design company will maintain a healthy relationship with you. They will assist you in your analytic reporting, and offer ongoing SEO services to ensure your website stays above your competitors. It’s also very important to stay up-to-date on all security updates to protect your investment.
What to do? Ask your web design company about their ongoing maintenance and support offerings. How do they assist their current clients? Do they have monthly or quarterly SEO, maintenance and security plans you can sign up for?
Stambaugh Designs is a Bellingham, Washington based web design company.
At Stambaugh Designs our process starts with you. We look forward to calling you one of our own!
Good day, and good design!
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