When your company starts looking into a web designer to build your company website, you need to know that whomever you trust with your business’s reputation and appearance is worthy – and perhaps more importantly, worth the cost. For a great web designer is worth so much, while a poor one can be ruinous for a small company.
There are a few factors that can help you to find web designers and to reach a decision the first is their portfolio, which should be online and contain active links to their clients’ sites. It’s easy to be thrown off by promises of high rankings and usability, but by exploring the type and number of works on display, you can discover a lot about the company.
Having a Portfolio
Okay, this may seem rather obvious, but if a web design company is unwilling to show its previous jobs it either hasn’t had any, or hasn’t done a good job on them. If there’s no portfolio at all then they probably aren’t worth spending time on. If they only link to websites they’ve worked on, check the footer text of the site to check if they are actually attributed.
Number of Projects
There is no right or wrong answer for the number of their projects. A company could have done fifty websites, but to a poor quality; or five that they spend months painstakingly working on. Compare the number with how long they’ve been active, working out how many they’ve done per month or year.
This is also a personal matter as the number of projects and how long they can take will affect different companies in different ways. If you’re after a well-designed but low budget website to be built fast, don’t waste your time with a company that makes one website every six months – they probably charge a lot for it, or are doing it in their spare time.
Type of Projects
Check out each of the works in their portfolio, and see how close to your desired website they are, in terms of the kind of technology and usability. Just because you can’t see one like you want, that doesn’t mean they haven’t done one, so if you like the look of their sites you can get in touch to ask if they’ve done anything similar previously.
If you require a particular technology or type of website, you will want to see their experience with it. If it’s a fairly mainstream technology they will hopefully have examples, but again you can ask to see what they’ve done for other businesses. Some web design companies have demo packages, or have done mock-ups for certain details like e-commerce sites.
Quality of Work
Once you’ve identified some relevant sites out of their portfolio, carefully study each of them. The first thing is to see what the load time of the home page is – a long load time can have a very negative affect on your site’s conversion rates. If the website is done in Flash it’s likely to take a little longer.
If you notice slow loading times for a number of their websites (and no others that you usually go on, to eliminate the chance of your bandwidth skewing the results) they likely aren’t very professional, and host their sites on a cheap server.
Check these websites to see how user friendly they are, to see whether you like the design and whether the website design would make you want to work with the business. If there are a couple of bad looking ones don’t worry too much, as the web design company won’t always have control over what the client wants.
There are, unfortunately, some unscrupulous people out there, and they like to take advantage of these kinds of highly competitive businesses. Some cheaters out there might copy portfolios from other people, or claim websites that they had nothing to do with.
The web designer’s website should have client information somewhere, so go ahead and get in touch with them to ensure the legitimacy of their claims. You could find out quite a lot this way, and get some honest opinions.
Their Own Website
Decide what you think about their own company’s website. If you’ve searched for something like “web design and seo in Liverpool” make sure they really are from Liverpool, and aren’t trying to appear in rankings for all locations. If their website isn’t to your liking but their portfolio sites are, they probably just spend more time on client sites than their own. However if their website is much, much better than their client sites they have either had their site done by another web design company, or they aren’t as interested in making their clients look good as themselves, which is a big red flag.
With these six considerations, you will hopefully be able to find a web design company who can do the right job for your business, and crucially for the right price!