Web design is like ship building – intricate and tailor made. A professional web design firm should be able to combine creative design techniques with ultramodern technology and support to develop a powerful website package that generates results while meeting your core objectives as the owner.
It’s not an extraordinary thing to find yourself doing a full scale research project aimed at identifying the best web design firm for your small business, NGO you’re running or even a large corporation. Finding the best web design company to accomplish these tasks can be a daunting obligation, especially with the numerous web design outfits cropping up online.
This aspect alone makes it a lot tougher to narrow down on the most appealing design firm for your organization without spending your most valuable asset – your time. What is the top criterion to help identify the best suited design firm for your business?
Start with basic considerations that include:
- Web design experience and credible portfolio
- Credibility standards
- Pricing model
- Access to customer related support
- Additional services offered
- Turnaround time
You could add others that you feel may apply to your business type, but let’s inspect each aspect closely to determine how this works.
Web design experience and credible portfolio
This is one of the most critical aspects to reflect on since making a wrong turn here can result in a huge loss of wasted time, money, and energy. Ask yourself, does the design company have any feasible experience working with your type of business? Note that some design companies may either be too small or large for you, so a good fit will be appropriate.
Lack of a suitable website example that relates to your industry in the design portfolio is possible.However, the company that you select must be able to demonstrate robust working knowledge concerning the development of an effective website for your type of business. In web design, a one size fits all usually isn’t a good idea on long term.
This is because the more you learn about your visitors’ and users’ behavior patterns, the more you’re inclined to improve the site’s appearance, functionality and overall user experience, and a turnkey solution mayimpede such efforts as its not structurally flexible and can prove to be an expensive venture later on.
Of course there is a lot to consider besides just looking at their previous work portfolios, like the ability to build a reliable website from scratch, pre-system analysis consultation, multi-faceted system integration knowledge, etc.
This is a critical aspect that helps you establish whether the company is upright and dependable even after the website has been delivered. Nobody wants to work with a company that may not exist in 3-5 years to come. Such entities are called “ship by night operations” and they’re an entrepreneur’s nightmare.
Some of the credibility standards that you can look for include:
- Years of operation – go to who.is and enter their web address and you’ll quickly learn: when the site was setup, registration location, registrant names and contacts (if you’re lucky) etc. If this info is hidden, that should raise a red flag.
- Better business bureau affiliation (BBB).
- 24 hour customer service response.
- Toll free phone support.
- Professional presentation of business documents such as web design contracts, quotations, invoices, etc.
- Humanly replied emails addressing specific concerns.
Price is among the top key factors to consider when choosing to buy something as it is directly used to assess the affordability range. It’s also a common fact that most people tend to use price as a major determining factor in decision making. Even professionally, in the end everything always boils down to the price.Keep in mind that the most important aspect is the value of the service delivered while matching your expectations/objectives.
The end price for your website’s development will largely depend on three main factors:
- Features to be incorporated into the site
- Amount of content
- Other service accessories included in the package, such as web hosting
Since pricing differs according to design firms, it’s hard to come up with a probable benchmark to develop a gauging formula. Below you’ll find some ground questions to help you determine the validity of a bespoke web design quotation.
- Is there a recurring monthly/annual fee for the website? Hosting fees can be separate.
- Does the quote cover all costs involved in the whole project?
- Are hosting and domain registration included in the quote?
- Will the design firm provide multiple variations of your design concept before actual development?
- Is the site built from scratch or is it a mere improvement of an existing template?
It’s always wise to have multiple quotes that you can compare with in order to keep track of all the important benefits provided. The web design market is very competitive hence do not limit yourself to only one design firm because, as competition continues increasing, the buyer will always win.
Access to customer related support
Websites are virtual properties that need to be updated and/or maintained from time to time in order to ensure that your business operations aren’t interrupted. For this reason, you need a reliable design firm to partner with, a firm that understands your site’s structural architecture better than anybody else. This calls for an open and dependable line of communication with them. This is so critical in achieving success in all stages of your web development objectives, especially after the work is complete and delivered.
During the design of your website, developers may, from time to time, update you on their latest progress, and this gives you an opportunity to pitch in and project your concerns, and ask for slight changes before moving forward. At the same time, the designers you’re working with should leave an open line of communication for you to reach out to them at any time within their hours of operation. These channels may include, live chat, telephone supportor email.
If you feel constrained to only one line of communication, such as email, or chat, consider looking elsewhere for diversified options. Most design firms deliberately limit their communication channels to save money. It shouldn’t be sensible to you if you’re already paying them, and in return you get poor support.
Typically, a good web design project should be delivered from between one to two months on average, since the official commencement. Even though you’re offering thousands of products and/or services, there are tools that automate such processes and simplify things; therefore,it shouldn’t go beyond two months.
Your best agreed TAT should encompass these elements:
- Transferring your website to your preferred host
- Configuring relevant web scripts on your website
- Domain propagation operations – The ability to access your site and emails through your website
Additional services offered
Generally, most web design companies now offer holistic solutions involving other pertinent services that go with web design such as domain registration, hosting and even email configurations. This is a plus because, in case of unexpected hitches and bugs,you can rest assured that your call will be answered and everything sorted out. It’s a slightly different case if you hire a different design firm to design your site, buy the domain from a different provider,and acquire hosting from another company,unless you’re an experienced techie.
From your end, be sure to conduct appropriate research on each firm to find out other additional services that your business may require.This should be handled from one location so that when issues crop up, you can always contact support to handle them for you.
Narrowing down on the fastest, cheapest or most expensive design company does not always translate into the tangible results that you’d expect. Good research can save you time, money and other valuable resources that could have been wasted. You want a reliable firm that can handle the design and technical stuff skillfully as you focus on your core business activities.