Whether you’re setting up a new website or want to redesign your existing website, choosing a web design agency can be tricky. There are so many options ranging from freelance web designers and small agencies to major award-winning website designers.
The web desiger that you choose will be responsible for creating the look and feel of your website, which presents the first impression of your company to your potential customers. That’s a lot of responsibility and you might be wondering how to choose the right web design company to get the results that you are looking for?
To help with your decision, here are six steps to make choosing a web design company simple:
Set A Clear Brief For Your Website
Your website doesn’t just need to look good, it also has to have all the functionality that your business needs so it’s important to write a clear brief for your web design. Eventually you’ll work together with your web designer to finalise the details but this first step will help you to choose the company who can deliver the results you want.
Some of the features that you might want to consider are:
- E-commerce functionality
- Appointment booking
- Email marketing integration
- Payment processing
Your website also needs to have user-friendly navigation, conversion-optimised pages and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Set The Budget And Timeline For Your Project
It’s really important to set a budget for your website design project right at the start of the process. Different website design companies will charge a wide range of fees, so setting your budget early in the process will allow you to rule out any companies that your budget definitely won’t cover. Remember to allow a contingency for any additional costs or requirements that arise later on in the design process.
Because web design is a bespoke service, you won’t often see pricing listed on web design websites and you will need to contact them directly to get an indicative price for the work. If their price is out of your range, you may be able to negotiate a discount or work out a way to scale back your requirements to keep the cost down.
It’s also useful to set a rough timeline for the project at this stage, so that you can be sure that the agency you choose can complete the work within your schedule.
Draw Up A Shortlist Of Potential Web Design Agencies
Now that you have determined your brief, budget and timeline, it’s time to start looking for potential web design partners. As well as searching on Google for terms like “website design companies near me” and checking out social media, it’s also worth asking friends, family and business connections for personal recommendations. And if you already know some websites whose design you like, the designer may be linked in the site footer.
You might like to work with an agency from your local area but apps like Zoom and Teams make it just as easy to collaborate with designers from any location.
Start off by looking at the agency’s own website, because if their own site looks old-fashioned or badly designed, they probably aren’t the right partner for your project. Look at the quality of the images, check the page load times and see if the site has a security certificate (look out for https in the address bar). This will show you whether they understand some of the key factors in designing a website.
Take A Look At Each Agency’s Portfolio
Once you’ve checked out each agency’s own site, it’s time to delve a little deeper. Most web design companies will have an online portfolio of web design projects, just like the Aspire Shire portfolio here. Clicking through the links to any sites that catch your eye will allow you to check that they also present a good user experience with clear navigation.
Look for variety in the designs in their portfolio, so that you can be sure you won’t end up with an identikit website that looks just like all their other designs. Also check that they develop mobile-friendly websites which pass industry standard tests such as Google PageSpeed. And make sure that their websites successfully incorporate the sort of features that you listed in your website design brief in Step 1.
Successful web designers may publish facts and figures to demonstrate how their designs have helped to increase traffic, reduce bounce rate or improved sales. They might also highlight awards that they have won for their work. Bear in mind that working with an experienced web design company could offer you more confidence and security than a start-up business which doesn’t have much experience.
Check Out Client Testimonials And Online Reviews
Reading online reviews and client testimonials is a great way to see how satisfied previous clients have been with their websites. Any trustworthy web design agency should be happy to provide you with references from their clients.
Look for client testimonials on their website and Facebook page but also check out third party review sites like Google My Business and Yelp. If you only find reviews on their own website, you might want to do a little more research before meeting with them to make sure that they aren’t concealing a bad reputation.
It’s also a good idea to take a look at the websites of the clients who have left reviews, because a simple testimonial quote could easily be a fake.
Make Contact With Each Web Design Company
All of the steps above will help you to draw up a short list of agencies which could be the right one for your project. Your next step is to get in touch with each one by phone or via email.
This initial contact will give you an immediate impression of whether or not they are the sort of web design company that you could work with. You can then schedule a more in-depth meeting to discuss your requirements in more detail and get to know the people who could be working on your website.
During these initial discussions, it can be useful to find out if the work will be carried out in-house or outsourced to a third party. You can also check that your website will be developed to industry best practice standards of accessibility, security and W3C guidelines. Ask what their testing process will involve and make sure that your website will be designed to work across a variety of devices and web browsers.
A professional website design company should be happy to answer all of your questions in terms that you understand, so don’t allow yourself to be fobbed off by vague language or technical jargon.
Finally, you can expect a good web design agency to ask you questions as well. They should be keen to understand your requirements as fully as possible to make sure that they deliver excellent results.
What’s The Next Step?
Richard is waiting to hear about your plans for your website and together we’ll create a website design that you’re sure to love.