One of the hardest things for many business owners is launching a new website. There’s a lot of important things to consider when choosing a web design company to market your business. Many business owners are wise enough to know that some things are best left to the professionals and would prefer the peace of mind that choosing the right web design company brings.
Choosing A Web Design Company That’s The Right Fit
There are a lot of web design companies to choose from. Trying to figure out which one is the right fit your business can be a daunting task
Choosing the right digital marketing agency is a critical decision. The right company can often lead to a significant jump start in your businesses success.
After all, your website is going to be the first impression that many prospective customers will have. It will be the face of your business, and in many situations, it is the best lead generator that you have. Your site will be a driving factor behind whether or not people choose to do business with you or your competitor.
That’s why it’s so important to choose a web design company that will help you reach your target audience. They will also help you achieve your business goals, and ultimately help your business grow to the next level.
It can be tough, even risky. Especially, with so many fly-by-night freelance designers and snake oil salespeople promising overnight success and number one Google rankings.
We’re here to help, but before we do, we want to go on record and say: “Every business has different needs and goals. We are selective with whom we work with, and you should be as well. We know if a business is a good fit for us and we believe that every web design company should admit when they aren’t the right fit. That said, this article is to help you identify if an agency is a right fit for you.”
Now on to the good stuff…
16 Tips For Choosing A Web Design Company
1) They Listen To Your Ideas
You’re an expert in your industry. As such, you know what you’re selling, and you have some idea of how you want to present your business/product to them. No one knows your business better than you do. If a web design company doesn’t listen to your ideas or isn’t open-minded enough to see how to market it, then you probably shouldn’t work with them. Your marketing agency needs to be able to perfect your ideas, improve upon them, and put them into action.
2) They Bring Up Their Own Ideas
While it’s important for your web designer to listen to you, you need to work with someone who will challenge your opinions and bring an outside point of view to your idea, concepts, and strategy. You may know your business, but your website needs to be designed by someone who knows design. In fact, we suggest taking this a step further, your website needs to be designed by someone who knows conversion-focused web design. If a web design agency does nothing but nod their heads and produce an exact replica of whatever you say, then you aren’t getting your money’s worth. Your designer must be able to bring expert knowledge of their field, to match the expert knowledge of yours.
3) They Have An Experienced Marketing Team
Sometimes, people don’t want their website to grow their business. Believe it or not, some people think they want their site to just sit “out there.” If you’re in that very small number of people, then this may not mean much to you. For everyone else, if you want your website to grow your business, then make sure to choose a web design company that has marketing experience.
A web design agency without a marketing team is like a Ferrari without an engine. Yeah, it may look great, but it’s not going to go anywhere or do anything. The internet has evolved and it takes active digital marketing to make your website perform. You need something that doesn’t just look pretty, it must work. When a web company has designers, developers, and marketers, you can be confident that the finished product will be more than just a pretty paperweight- it will get results.
4) They Know How To Use A CMS
A quick sign that the web design company is stuck in the stone age, is if they discourage a Content Management System. You need a CMS for your website. Without it, you’ll be at a significant disadvantage in the marketplace. Any web design agency worth anything at all is familiar with the best content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Magento. If your designer recommends a static HTML website, then you need to find a time machine and return to this decade. If they suggest Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly, politely thank them for their time and move on to a web design company that does not use “10-minute-do-it-at-home” software.
5) The Use Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design is not a fad and it isn’t going anywhere. It is simply the best way to design a website these days. Google has even gone on record and said so. While there are some cases where a separate mobile site might have some advantages, responsive web design is generally the preferred solution. As mobile usage continues to grow, you need to be sure your business website is optimized for every device. If a web design agency isn’t well-versed in responsive design or suggests a separate mobile website is always better, then they haven’t caught up with the times and probably aren’t the right fit for you or anyone else for that matter. The right digital marketing agency will make it happen.
6) They Have Case Studies (Or At least A Portfolio)
What’s the best way to know what to expect from a web design company or marketing agency? Review real projects they have worked on and experience the live product. Don’t trust screenshots of homepages or mockups of design work for unlikely brands (like the coffee shop freelancer showing a Nike website). You want to see real websites they’ve made, that are publicly accessible. If they will share information about the goals and strategy that are in play, it’s even better. Take the time to look through their work and judge their progress. If you don’t see anything you like, they’re not going to be a good fit. Also, be aware that as you move up to more exclusive companies it is normal for their client list to be more restrictive and even protected. Don’t worry, just ask them to see real-life examples. Lastly, it is important to know the type of company you are speaking with. Web design companies are hired to build a website, they tend to build the website and move on to the next client, therefore they typically show a portfolio. Marketing Agencies are hired to grow sales or reach certain goals (like ROI, increased traffic, or leads), considering a website is just a “tool” for them, they tend to show case-studies of client growth and statistical information showing what their work achieved.
7) They Have A Proven Track Record & Aren’t Going Anywhere
The internet changes extremely fast. You need a web design company that stays on top of these changes for you, so you can focus managing your business- not them. It’s risky to trust a fly-by-night web design company that probably won’t be around in a year. Every year there are tons of new design companies that start up and just as many that shut their doors. A true test of a web design company’s ability is their longevity. You want a company that’s been around long enough to be sustainable and one that plans to be in business for the long-haul, better yet, one that plans to grow.
The more talent and experience that a design company has, the more they’ve had to evolve and adapt to all of the new trends that the internet goes through. If they aren’t adapting and staying in front of leading-edge technology, like using HTML sites or discouraging the use of a CMS, it may be an early sign that they are in danger.
8) The Design Team Knows The Importance Of Conversions
A web design company has to know a lot more than how to make a pretty website. A good web design agency includes a team of experts who know how to convert your website traffic into leads. That means they know about proper design layout, information architecture, usage patterns, calls to action and even color psychology. A “pretty-makes-visitors-buy” philosophy doesn’t work in today’s world. Your design team needs to use proven methods to create your site and scientific data to improve it and increase conversions.
9) They Have Experience In Multiple Industries
You might think it’s great if your web design firm only works with one industry. After all, if they only do websites for dentists, then they must really know a lot about dentists, right? Maybe, but it also means you’re probably going to end up with a cookie-cutter website that looks like eighty-five other dentist websites they made last month. A web design company that works with a wide variety of industries is more likely to create a unique website that will reach a bigger and more diverse audience. Your website can’t be like all the others. It has to stand above the competition, in order to surpass them.
10) They Have Both, National Experience & Local Experience
Whether you’re a national brand or a local small business, you need a web design company that understand the strategies behind both. If your designer has only worked with local businesses, then there’s a good chance your new website won’t be designed with a foundation for the next level, larger success. Web design strategies are much different on a national or global level than they are with hyper-local areas. The more strategies and audiences your designer knows, the more likely it is that your site will be able to help you reach your business goals. You need a web design company that can think both big and small and understand how to bring it all together in a way that helps you grow strategically.
11) They Keep Up With The Latest Design Trends
The last thing you want from a new website is a design that looks like it might have been popular ten years ago. Web design needs to keep up with the latest technology and modern design trends. Customers are much more likely to trust a business if their website looks fresh, modern, and constantly updated. High-grade design companies incorporate what’s hot into their websites. A web designer needs to be familiar with parallax scrolling, flat design, responsive design, and dozens of other styles and elements. Of course, that doesn’t mean they should just push all the newest fads. There needs to be a balance between what’s modern and what’s proven. A website has to do more than just look fresh and pretty, it has to convert.
12) They Understand & Plan For The Big Picture
There was a lot less “internet” fifteen to twenty years ago. Back then, a website was something you did with your leftover yellow pages or radio commercial budget. Today, we live in a digital world that is more interconnected than ever before. Your website company must show a full understanding of the digital space and be able to build your website with the big picture in mind. If they don’t know the differences between off-site SEO and on-site SEO, or the difference between rankings and traffic, how citations can help or hurt you, and the importance of link building; they are probably not the right for your business.
13) They Have A Documented Process For Success
The best web design companies have a clear discovery process that helps them achieve success. It may evolve as the industry evolves, and it may get tweaked slightly for a specific project or unique circumstances, but they have a systematic plan for success. This proves that the web design company has the experience needed to bring similar success to your business.
14) They Establish Goals, Measure Progress, & Are Always Improving
The best web design companies do not stop once the website is built and launched, it’s where things really take off. In fact, if your web design company quits there, it’s a huge sign that they aren’t the right fit for you. Great web designers and marketing agencies establish goals, measure their progress, and continuously improve upon their work. In today’s world, the moment your website sits static is the moment you lose business and your competitor gains business.
15) You Can Trust Them To Get Results
Once goals are established, remarkable web design companies don’t have to be told how to execute a strategy. They will be working to achieve the agreed-upon goals in the best possible way, to ensure you have a return on investment and their reputation grows. If you feel like you have to babysit your web design company and tell them how to do their job, then you may need to meet with management to review expectations. If this doesn’t improve, then they may not be a good fit for you or your business.
16) They’re Not Cheap
Your website is one of the most vital pieces of your business and when done right, it will make you money. Even with a great return on investment, your website may be one of the most expensive parts of your business. When built and managed correctly, many businesses view their website as their best employee who never gets sick or takes a day off. Since this is such a vital part of your business, a good web design company will discuss your marketing budget, business goals, and timeline before establishing a proper quote.
If they give you a price without knowing these three things, it’s a sign that they are not the right fit for you. If you want a website that’s going to effectively grow your business, you have to be willing to have an open dialogue about it and invest in it. A great website will yield a high return on investment for a well-run business. Even with the best-run business, a bad website will result in hindered business, slow growth, wasted marketing budget, and buyers remorse. This is not an area where you can afford to cut corners.
Choosing The Right Web Design Company Isn’t Easy, But It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard
Finding the right web design agency isn’t the easiest job you have as a business owner. If you’re starting the process, our best advice is to start asking around. Other business owners have been down this road, ask them about their web design experiences and the companies they have used. If you’d like to use a local company, search online by Googling “Web Design _______” (fill in the name of your city) and take a look at the top companies. Pay close attention to reviews and watch out for fake, spammy ones. If you see someone you know that has left a review for the company, reach out to them and find out first hand about their experiences.
If you decide you like what you see and hear, schedule a meeting to speak with someone at the company about your growing business. A good web design company doesn’t fear or bad mouth competition. In fact, the best web designers are confident in their abilities and know the good companies from the bad. They will be honest with you and admit if they are not a good fit for your business and may be able to recommend a company that is a better fit.
Once you find the right web design company that you can trust to achieve your goals, your job becomes much easier and you can focus on what you do best.