We have noticed over the years that many of the business owners who come to us for help feel like they are flying blind. Often, they know they need a company that can help them build a custom website, but aren’t sure how to evaluate their many choices and options. After all, you could embark on an almost endless Google search just by looking through web designers in the area, which is to say nothing of the numerous DIY template companies and overseas providers out there.
So, how does someone who needs a website – and possibly isn’t all that familiar with industry jargon or the latest internet marketing trends – find the right web designer to work with? As with everything in life and business, it’s all about the right fit. To help you find a vendor who is right for your situation, here are five criteria you should consider…
#1 Artistic Style
One of the first things you need to do when evaluating a web designer is look at their portfolio of samples. It’s not necessarily important that you see a website that looks exactly like the one you want, but you should get the sense that their own style and sensibilities match up well with your own. If that’s not the case, you may not end up being satisfied with the look and feel of your new site.
#2 Case Studies and Client Feedback
Website visuals matter a lot, but they aren’t the end of the story. Ultimately, you want a creative team that can help you with search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and more after your new website has been launched. We are past the days when websites generate their own traffic and demand. If you want to be profitable online, you have to have a plan in place to bring customers to your web presence.
#3 Fees and Terms
Different web designers have different fee structures, and some fine-print items (like payment terms, delivery dates, whether ongoing support and hosting are included, etc.) are going to vary from one firm to another. Tedious as it might seem, it’s important take a close look at these items so you know exactly what you’ll be getting for your money and when you can expect to receive it.
Ideally, you would like to have a web designer located close to your business. That way, you’re both working within the same time zone and there won’t be too many communication issues like missed calls or trouble with accents. Additionally, it helps to have a local web designer so you can meet face-to-face and explain the finer points of your business and the challenges you’re facing.
Personality fit is something that’s difficult to quantify, of course, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it isn’t important when choosing a web designer. If you are constantly bumping heads with your creative team or account representative, that’s not going to allow for the kind of healthy give-and-take process that leads to the best creative result.
On the surface, it might seem like all web designers essentially do the same things. But, once you get into matters of style, effectiveness, fees, and other determining factors, you’ll see that there probably a small handful of teams that are uniquely equipped to help you reach your business goals.