How To - A Guide to Hiring a Web Design Company

Getting a new website built or an existing one redesigned can be an overwhelming project.  So, to make it easier we have compiled a few questions you should ask yourself and potential web design companies.  Answers to these questions will make your search easier, the timeline and price quotes you receive more accurate, and will save you time and energy.

1. Who is the website’s audience/target market?

The answer to this question will assist the web design company in focusing the design.

2. What are your goals for the website?

This is important because it helps to clarify project priorities for the web design company and focuses their efforts on creating a website capable of reaching those goals.  After all, what good is a website if it doesn’t contribute to your growth?

3. What is your budget?

Every web design firm will ask you this question.  By knowing how much you have to invest, the web design company can help you find solutions to best achieve your goals within the framework of the budget.  This will help you find the right company faster.

4. How will the website fit within your overall marketing efforts?

Any good marketer will tell you that a targeted and consistent message, over all of your marketing platforms, will generate the highest results.  Ensure that the message conveyed by your website works together with your other marketing efforts or that your other marketing efforts are customized to work with your website.  This consistent approach will save you money and help you reach your goals faster.

5. Who in your organization will work with the web design company?

By having a single representative working with the web design company, a single and clear set of instructions will be received and the project will be finished faster, cheaper and better.

Now you are ready to find the perfect web design company to bring your project to life.  The basic formula is simple: find a company that has the necessary experience, a company that can build your project within your budget and a company that fits your personality.  By following the next few simple guidelines you will find success.

1. Generate a long list of web design companies in your area.  Just like with any other vendors, all you need to do is use your local directories or your network.  The more you have to choose from the chances are greater you’ll find the right company.

2. Create a short list.  This will take a little more time, but you will end up with a smaller group of experienced companies capable of handling your project.  Ideally about three to five.  You do this by visiting each of the companies’ websites on your list and examining their portfolios and processes.  A good web design company will have a portfolio representing their skill and experience and will outline the process they use.

Keep in mind that web design is a complex field with many specialties and it is unlikely that one or two people will be masters of them all.  Generally, full service companies that have specialists in each area are better equipped to deliver exactly what you need.  Additionally, they should list their range of services and any support they offer during and after your project.

3. Get proposals.  Now that you have your short list, contact the companies.  You can do this a number of different ways, a formal request for proposal (RFP) or a simple phone call or email. Some companies will even have a form on their website that you can fill out so that when they contact you for follow up they are already familiar with the basics of your project, therefore saving you some time.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • The more information you can provide them at the onset, like a simple site map (basically a list of web pages you want on your website) and/or some sample websites of what you have seen and like, the more efficient the process.
  • Ask for a detailed breakdown of the project timeline and associated costs, preferably by hour. It’s always frustrating when you are hit with hidden costs or if the project is delayed.  A good web design company will have no problems or objections with providing you with this information.
  • Include an estimated start date and deadline.  Ensure the deadlines you are given by the web design companies are realistic.  Simply compare the timelines of each proposal and if they seem too short or too long follow up by asking why.
  • Request that they give you a detailed explanation of their process.  A good process is client focused and includes the gathering of information and keeping you informed during every phase of the project.
  • Also ask them to include any limits they may have pertaining to your project; what can’t they do.
  • Ask what kind of support they offer during the project and after its completion.
  • Lastly, and in some ways most importantly, ask yourself if you like them.  Do you think that you’ll be able to work with them for the duration of your project and after?

We hope this information will serve you well. If you have any questions, even if they don’t relate to our proposal, we are more than happy to help.  Our ultimate goal, is to see you succeed.