How to choose the best web design company for your needs?

Are you looking for a web design company to create a new website? Our advice to help you make an informed decision when choosing a web design company

Whether you are looking for a web design company to create a brand new website for you, or to carry out a complete website redesign, it's important to choose a company that will be able to meet your needs.

According to data from HubSpot, it is estimated that Google processes approximately 63,000 search queries every second. That's 2 trillion global searches per year - a lot of people looking for information online. And apparently, according to MOZ, 97% of people learn about a local business online.

Your website is an important aspect of your online presence and can help you to get more traffic, generate more leads, and improve the user experience for those people interacting with your company online. This is why it is so important to make sure that your website is performing well and bringing you the results that you need. 

Today’s internet users are very discerning. It takes less than a second for them to decide how they feel about a website after viewing it. And 48% of web visitors cite web design as the top factor supporting a website’s credibility.

You will have to work with a good web design company if you want a website that converts. But how do you choose one that meets your needs? Read on to find our advice to help you make an informed decision when choosing a web design company.

Get Clear on Your Web Design Needs and Goals

Before you even begin searching for a web design company to work with, focus on your needs and your goals. Obviously, you want a website that looks great, particularly as 94% of first impressions on websites are based entirely on how it looks. But we urge you to take a more pragmatic approach to your website design. A web design company's job is not just to make a website pretty. They should also understand and focus on your and your customer's needs and goals.

Is the goal to generate leads for your business, generate more sales, increase awareness of your products or services, take bookings, grow your e-mail list, reduce the time it takes you to complete tasks, or to improve user experience? 

Does your website need to integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software? Does it need to have a payment option built-in? Does it need a booking system? Does it need to integrate with other applications? Do visitors to your website need to fill in forms? What level of security do you need?

These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself. Once this has been considered, think about the budgets and timelines. You need all this to be clear in your own head before approaching any web design companies.

Next, look for other websites that you like. A website will often have the name of the web design company that created it at the bottom of the page. Also ask friends, family and other businesses in your network for personal recommendations.

Look for Social Proof & Credibility

You should now have a list of companies who have caught your attention. Before making contact with any of them, it helps to do some background research online. 

Look on the company's website to see if they have shared any testimonials from past clients, and ask if they can show you any case studies. Remember, it's not just about how good a website looks, so don't be fooled by this. Ask if they have any statistics that they can share to prove a good return on investment. Did sales increase for that particular client? Did they get more leads? Did they take more bookings?

If possible, try to speak to past clients to find out how the web design company was to work with and how happy they are with their new website. If this is not practical, see if you can find any reviews that have been left online by people who have worked with them before. What are customers saying about them?

Book a Discovery Call 

It can be difficult to get all the information you need purely by looking at their website, so look for companies that offer a free of charge, no-obligation chat. Talk through your project to see whether they seem like people you could work with. Having a good relationship with your designer is the cornerstone of a successful collaboration.

The best designers will take the time to learn about your business. Only when they understand your business can they design an effective website.

Beware of any company that agrees with whatever you suggest. If this is the case, it's highly likely that they are only interested in your money and not really concerned about your website. After listening to your they should offer other ideas of their own. 

Has this web design company any experiences that can relate to yours. Have they worked with other companies in your industry, or your niche? Do they mostly work with local businesses in your area? What size of businesses do they normally work with? If you are a small business, it can help to work with other small businesses that understand your challenges and limitations as well as your goals and needs. 

Ultimately, you’re looking for a web design company that aligns with your values, understands your business and wants the best for you and your website. Rule out any companies who don't give you this impression.

Ask How Each Web Design Company Works?

During the discovery call, you should dive deeper into the working processes of each web design company to make sure that you can work within their framework. 

  • Does the company offer a templated site or a bespoke design? A website built using templates can often be cheaper in the short term but can be more expensive if you later out-grow the template.
  • Do their websites have a Content Management System (CMS) that will allow you to update your website yourself, or would you need to pay someone every time you need to change or update the website?
  • How many people will be involved in the design and build of your site? Will you have one point of contact or will you be working with various people? 
  • How will the project be managed? Will you have regular face-to-face meetings? Zoom meetings? Will all communication be done by email? Can you pick up the phone and talk to someone if necessary?
  • As we mentioned before, having a good relationship with your designer is the cornerstone of a successful collaboration. So, clarifying expectations at the early stage should ensure that your working relationship runs smoothly. 

If you spot any red flags at this point, remove that web design company from the list.

Create a Shortlist of Your Favourite Web Design Companies

You should now be able to create a shortlist of your favourite web design companies based on the data that you have collected so far. If necessary, create a pros and cons list to see who comes out on top and who doesn't quite measure up. 

Ideally, you want to be able to narrow this list down to a final three web design companies. 

Get Quotes

Once you have your top three, you need to ask for quotes, find out exactly what is included in the cost and decide whether your budget aligns with the quotes. 

Companies will often charge a fee to design the website and another monthly or annual fee for hosting. Make sure you factor this in and ask what type of hosting is provided. Do they keep regular backups of your website? Are emails included and if so, how many? Will they set your emails up for you?

Are website CMS updates included? This is particularly important if you are using a WordPress site because it's a security concern if they are not and will leave you open to hacking and cyber-attacks. Is an SSL (security certificate) included in the price or is this an additional cost?

Ask what other services the web design company can offer. Do they provide Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for the websites that they design and build? Even if you decide you do not need a full SEO package, a good website design company should be able to include different SEO techniques to give your website a head-start.

Do you need photography or copywriting, and can they provide these services or refer you to trustworthy local contacts that are specialists in those fields? 

Ask if the cost quoted includes any after-sales service? How much training will they provide to enable you to use the new website? Do they offer ongoing support and for how long? Do they offer revisions, and if so, how many and over what time scale?

What behind-the-scenes extras are included? Will they set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console for you? These are essential additions to your site so that you can monitor and manage its performance.  

As you can imagine, if these are all add-ons, the costs can quickly add up and you want to find this out before signing a contract and getting a nasty surprise.

Compare Quotes

Now it's time to compare quotes. It's very important to compare like-for-like, especially now that you know what is included. 

Payment terms can vary with larger upfront payments and smaller recurrent payments, and vice-versa. Be sure to compare the total cost of the design and hosting of the website over two to three years to give an accurate price comparison.

Make a Choice

You should now be able to choose the best web design company for your needs, based on all the information that you have gathered throughout this process. You will have ensured that there will be no nasty surprises coming your way and you should have a great working relationship that will result in a good-looking website that provides an excellent user experience and allows you to meet your business goals. 

If we have made it onto your shortlist and you are considering working with us to design your website, please get in touch with us to book your free discovery call. We'd love to hear more about your business, what you're looking for from your website and how we can help you to achieve that. Book your discovery call

Jeff Cooper. 13 May 2022

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