Designing a website is not a project that gets done within a week. You would not want it to be designed in a week, anyhow. This will mean there was not a lot of effort put into the design and it may have a lot of bugs. We are going to explain the top 5 things to look for when trying to find a web design firm to do business with.
1. Find a web design firm that is local to you. Now although it is not a necessary requirement to use a web design firm, you should take this into a consideration when looking for a firm. You should want to be able to sit down face to face with the people that will be taking your money. A web design firm will tend to work better if they are able to get a better understanding of you as a person and understand what it is you are trying to accomplish online. Now as I say this, it is not always the case. Maybe you were on a website that you really liked and saw at the bottom a link to the web design firm that created the site. Without this website is going to be your direct competition, I would pick up the phone and ask their opinion of the company. Usually if they have a link at the bottom of their site there is a chance that they are happy with the company. But it is still a good idea to check, sometimes companies will not know how to take it off, while others still will not even notice that there is a link at the bottom of their website.
2. Review the design firm's portfolio. If you are on a web design firm's website and are trying to see if they will be able to design a website that you will be happy with, check their prior work. For example, if you are trying to create an e-commerce website and the company has never designed an e-commerce site, they may not know how to do it. You usually do not want your website to be a guinea pig, it may take a lot longer and you might not get the features that you want. If you do see that they have designed websites like the one you are trying to create then check this off your list of requirements needed to work with them.
3. Turn around time for a website. Now this will be something that you can determine when sitting down with the design firm. It is good to note that here you are looking for honesty. Give them a time line that you want your website to be designed within. If they jump at it and say, "we can make you a website within a week". Be concerned. You will have to be realistic with what you are asking of a website design firm. If you are asking for a 4 page website then it may be true they can design it within a week. However if you are asking for a 10 page website it could take weeks if not months. The reason is and should be their response, is that usually the client (you) will have to supply them with the content. You would not want them to try to talk like they know anything about your business. You would not be able to talk confidently about their business would you? So it will take effort on your part to provide them with more content then they will need. You will also want to have them go through the wire framing process with you, so that you are not leaving anything out. The wire framing and site map will be processes that you will want to have a little bit of integration with. Do not try to control the process as the design firm may want to lay it out in a format that is better for usability and for the search engines.
4. Pricing structure – We have all seen the signs totting – Get A WEBSITE For $ 200! If you see this sign please do not call. This is the new online way to bait and switch. What they are not telling you is that the first page might be $ 200, but all the other pages will be $ 200 as well. That is not counting the hosting and maintenance contracts that they will try to get you on. These signs are really bad for the industry as a whole, they tend to devalueize the whole website design process. Pricing can vary from anywhere from $ 700 – $ 100,000. The best thing to do when trying to find a price that is fair for your project is to get quotes from as many companies that you can find. Once you have a median idea of what it will cost to design your website, use the other factors to determine which company to work with.
5. Find a company that you like. Nothing is more of a pain than when you feel like you are bothering somebody every time you call. If it looks like the design firm does not really need your business and you are not being treated with the amount of respect that you think you deserve then walk away. A lot of firms think that everyone understands the process of getting a website. Which is totally false, you usually only get a website every 5 years or so, so how should you know all the ends and outs of the web design process. Usually in a good firm there will be one person that is able to translate the process in terms that you can understand. You do not want to hand over your money and leave confused and feel like you just made a bad decision. A lot times you will get this response if you have not taken into consideration what it takes to design a good website. If you call and you have a budget of $ 300 for a 20 page website and need it done next week, then you will be blown off or scammed. An honest company will tell you what it will take to accomplish your goals and actually give you the price that will take as well. You have to understand it from a design firms perspective as well. They will not do bad work or do work that they are not proud of just for money. They will not want to be associated with mediocre work. Because others will see it and then place them in a category that they do not want to be associated with.
I hope that this helps in giving you an idea of what to look for when trying to hire a web design firm. It can be a long process and a headache at times. However you will want to consider this is a decision that you will have to live with for a while, and something that you will see every time you visit your website. So take pride in it and find a design firm that will leave you with a smile and good luck on your project.