Everything You Need to Know Before You Hire a Web Design Company
Web design is a relatively new industry that’s been created throughout the past 10 years in direct response to the growth of the internet and the birth of digital media. There are thousands of individuals out there who have started their own online companies and have become successful. But creating an online business isn’t as easy as you might think. As an online business, you need to attract buyers and make them want to buy your product or services. In order for customers to want to work with your business, they need to know about it first. This is where an effective website comes into play. Creating an online presence where your customers can visit and view your products or services allows them to make decisions about your company.
An experienced website design company can provide you with the necessary tools to create a successful business through digital marketing and easy access. Not all design companies are alike, but there are a number of services that each should provide to prospective business clients. We believe these are the 3 things every great website design company should do for you:
- Design. First off, let’s answer any lingering questions you may have about website design. What is a web designer and what do they do? A web designer is a professional who can build or redesign websites through creative and innovative means. A web designer needs to understand what your goal is for the outcome of the website, as well as figure out how to make it functional for your business. Another important part of website design is making it aesthetically appealing to the average user. However, the goal shouldn’t be to just to make it pretty. The goal is to sell your product or service. So try not to get too caught up on the aesthetics. Form and function are just as important.
When meeting with a web designer, there should be several boxes that they check off in order to create the best possible results. You will want to have an initial consultation with them to explain what your company does; then you can move into the design phase to see what your website will require so that it functions effectively.
- Development. Once the design has been configured, it’s up to the development department to ensure that all parts of the website are working in tandem. Programming of a website is just as important, if not more so than the design. If you want your customers to be able to click around on your website and explore, the links need to work properly and take the customers to the correct places. Different companies will use various programming languages, which could affect the overall function of your website. If any of these languages are at odds with one another, certain functions of your website will not work properly, creating a big problem when clients try to access your web page.
- Marketing. In order to have a successful business, you need foot traffic. Marketing is a large part of any business, particularly for a business that doesn’t have a storefront and relies on internet communication. If you work with a web-design company, they should have a marketing department that will help create content for the website and analyze your business goals to see how they can be met. In many ways, marketing goes hand-in-hand with the design of the website. Everything about the website needs to be cohesive. Your business goals should also align with what your company is about and its mission.
Every step of the process needs to be understood by the developers you are working with. Don’t try to micromanage them—let them do their job and then you can make adjustments. Ultimately, the web design company will create what you want and need out of a website. Furthermore, let it be a collaborative process. The more open you are about your company and the goals you would like to achieve, the more a web developer will understand your company, making for strong results based on mutual understanding.
Great web design companies will offer you many services to boost your web design because they know it’s about more than just the design. Making sure the website designer you choose includes full web development and can help with your marketing, will ensure you get the most for your investment.
What you don’t want from your web design company
Great website design companies should not only be offering you the three things mentioned above, but they should be companies that stand firm in the things they won’t do as well. What do we mean by that? Well, a trustworthy web design company will make sure they not only offer the best services but that they work in a way that benefits their client and not just their own company. Below is our list of 3 things really great website design companies refuse to do. Make sure you are on the lookout for these when deciding who you want to work with for your web design needs.
- Use a Multisite Network
The use of a Multisite Network is a huge indicator that this company is in to make a quick buck with as little effort as possible. These types of companies rely on templates which makes sites cheaper to design, but greatly reduces both their originality and functionality. Good design companies will assess your vision and goals and build your site around them, adding any functionality or tools that are required to do so. Multisites tailor your vision and goals to the capabilities of their template, squeezing in things wherever they can fit, essentially captive to the template’s capabilities. Multisites are also on a shared server and are very restricted as to what they can and cannot change.
Great website design companies should promote new ideas and push the boundaries with you while creating your website. Multisites tend to do the opposite, locking you into a template and hindering any growth or originality. Seeing your site succeed should be very important and highly valued by the company’s mission. Check out our blog post about Multisite Networks for more information.
- Settle For Less
Great website design companies will not settle for half-completed designs, botched coding structures, or bad SEO practices. These elements take longer time to complete but the quality is so extremely vital that it is worth the wait. Having a strong design and coding structure avoids painful headaches in the future. If the design was settled for and not fully executed with the user experience in mind, there will be loop holes for getting users into the sales funnel. If the website development isn’t properly structured, then Google will count negative points to your site, there will be bugs and flaws in the coding, and the speed of the site could suffer. You should want your website design company to have as much passion as you to do see that your website is a success.
- One And Done
After you have your website setup, then what? What happens next? Websites should be considered as living tools that require maintenance, updates, and monitoring. If your baby has a deep cut after tripping and is screaming, you wouldn’t throw a bandaid on it and walk away would you? The same care is required for your website. Post-launch, the site will require consistent updates, monitoring for hacks, and the occasional grooming, especially if you are using a content management system such as WordPress. If you want your website to grow to be successful and generate leads through high rankings in Google, considerable effort will required.
Your website design company shouldn’t just supply you with a website and send you off on your merry way. Ultimately, the choice is yours as to how to handle the maintenance and grooming of your website, but you should consider leaving it to a professional as it can be a full-time job. The digital world is a busy place, and is not known for its compassion. Your website will inevitably run into trouble left unattended. If a physical hacker doesn’t get to your site, brute force attack bots will, either way it ends with your site being compromised. This can result in your site being held for ransom, having your site redirect to an adult entertainment site, or incur a slew of malfunction issues. All of the possible damages that can happen to your site if left unmonitored will lead in huge costs to repair. So always carefully consider what your next steps are following the launch of your website.
How to work well with your website designer
Now that you know what you should expect from a web design company and the things to lookout for before hiring them to build your website, it’s time to learn a few things you can help them with. Web design companies face many hurdles throughout the design process when it comes to giving their clients exactly what they’re looking for. As the client yourself, we believe it’s important for you to know some of these challenges so you can understand where your web designer is coming from in order for all parties to get the most benefit out of working together. Here are 6 hurdles website design companies often face:
- Getting Approvals & Response Time: The number one cause in delay of a project is not receiving approvals on a phase or aspect of the project in a timely fashion. It can be difficult for website design companies to receive approvals quickly when there are multiple stakeholders involved on the client’s end. The holdup in the process is caused from vacation days, other projects, and schedule conflicts. This isn’t necessarily the client’s fault but the nature of the beast in the office pyramid. Other instances is where the client doesn’t hold the project as a high priority so there will be a delay in response. We have had instances where client’s miss meetings, ignore phone calls, and oddly avoid the project all together. This is even a strange concept to us to track down a client who is paying for our services. But these things do happen, so please don’t be that guy.
- Client Rewriting Content Themselves: Most of the time when organizations are seeking a new website they are also looking to update their message. Copywriting is not a cheap service so clients often times take it upon themselves to rewrite the copy to save money. Copywriting isn’t cheap for a reason and those that think they can do it themselves quickly realize why that is. Writing, rewriting, or editing copy can be very tedious and time consuming in addition to your daily workload. Getting the copy from a client tends to be the longest process. In most cases, the site is designed and developed, ready to roll; the last component we wait for to launch is receiving the copy. It might be best to save yourself time, headache, and stress to let your website design company handle it for you.
- Ever Changing Google Rules and Algorithms: It is basically a full-time job to keep up with Google’s new rules, regulations, and best practices. The major changes and trends that set in place are normally given a couple of months notice before taking major effect. We always try to warn our clients as quickly as we can to the new updates that are necessary. Sometimes the changes require additional coding efforts that would need to be billed separately for. No matter how urgent of an email we send to our clients they oftentimes do not understand the severity of the change and the impact it will overall have on one’s website. As we stay up to date keeping your software in tip-top-shape, we advise our clients to also keep an ear out to educate themselves in the IT realm so they have an understanding as to how they are impacted. The bigger changes or releases Google sets out are noted in numerous articles and can even be found on TV broadcasts. Also if you are unaware of a specific technological update is or how it impacts your business, give us a call and we can help explain and sort it out with you.
- Explaining Technology to Non-Technological Individuals: It becomes more and more difficult for older generations to digest and understand the importance of new technology. High ranked seasoned employees don’t always understand the value in a website or feel flustered when it comes to technology. This frustrated and conflicted senior CEO hears from the younger generations how horrible the company website is and that it isn’t attracting new business. Though the senior CEO tends to be set in their ways, they are willing to try and adapt to the new business environment in efforts of keeping up with competitors. The seasoned CEOs need the website design and development processes explained differently someone who is a bit more knowledgeable and aware in this area. The whole process, expectations, and deliverables need to slowly be explained using various methods of relaying information to bring the CEO up to speed. This process can be a bit daunting and frustrating for website design companies. Also, the CEO’s expectations could be misinterpreted or misunderstood due to the IT language barrier. A great website design and development team will know how to handle this type of clientele so there shouldn’t be too much of a hiccup.
- Bidding on Projects: Clients not seeing the Apples to Apples Comparison: Often times companies put out an RFP for a website design and development project (or other digital marketing needs). In these scenarios, vendors bid and are blindly pinned against each other for their services. The price range can vary significantly on the estimates due to the vendor’s knowledge of the project. If the hiring coordinator doesn’t clearly layout the project’s scope in detail then there can be mixed communication. During this process the board, that selects the vendor, might not be getting an apples to apples comparison with the services provided against the other vendors. Each vendor has their own way of attacking a project that could include more or less services that are noted in the RFP. Since the company isn’t as knowledgeable in this area, what vendor they vote on might not be executing the way they thought it would.
- Being Branded as “The Web Guys”: Most website design companies do offer other services and not just website design. We cannot speak for other companies but here at David Taylor Design we offer full digital marketing services from SEO, video production, logos, to conference materials. So when selecting your website designer, find out more about the other services they offer rather than seeking out another vendor.
Hiring a web design and development company to help you launch or relaunch your business’s website is not an easy task. It’s important that you’re choosing the right company that will respect your goals, vision and budget throughout the entire process. Make sure that when you’re looking to hire a web designer you find one that will offer you the best services, be honest in the things they do—and don’t do—for you and one that you work well with. If you have any questions about web design services, please contact our team today.