You have probably heard the expression that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your website may be the first thing a potential customer sees, so your site must make a good first impression. The key to a good website is a good website designer. These strategies can help you find the right web design company for you.
Decide What You Want Your Site To Look Like
How your website looks will have a big impact on how people perceive your company. Do you want your site to be edgy and cool or professional and authoritative? Should your tone be friendly and casual or strictly business? Most design firms will have strengths and weaknesses and a specific aesthetic that may work better for one type of site than another. You’ll also want to keep in mind how you expect the majority of your visitors to access the site. If most of them are going to be on a mobile phone, you may want to prioritize a design that is easy to navigate and loads quickly on a small screen.
Decide What You Want Your Site To Do
A great looking site that isn’t functional won’t impress people for very long. If the main function of your site is to provide information, then you’ll want to make sure you outline everything you want visitors to your site to be able to know. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the design is user-friendly. If you want to be able to do other things, such as sell products, solicit customer feedback or provide interactive content, you’ll want to make sure the firm you hire has the technical skills to incorporate these functions into your site.
Set a Budget
Once you have an idea of what you want your site to be, you’ll need to come up with how much you are willing to pay for it. Because you can’t always predict what your final expenses will be, it is probably best to set a budget range, rather than one fixed amount. This will allow you some flexibility, should you decide that you want to incorporate design features that you hadn’t originally anticipated.
Different Orlando web design firms may have different pricing structures, but they should all be able to give you an estimate of what your design project will cost so that you can determine if it fits your budget. Depending upon the complexity of your project, the quote may be based on a standard package of services or it may be a custom design solution that will come with custom pricing. It may be useful to ask for a breakdown of how each firm arrives at its total cost so that you can more easily compare the offerings between different firms. You will also want to ask specifically what is included in the quoted price. If support, marketing or other services cost extra, you will want to know this up-front.
Ask for a Portfolio
One of the best ways to evaluate the quality of the work of a design firm is to ask to see the work they have done for other clients. It can be particularly helpful to see the work they have done for clients who are operating sites similar to your own. This will not only give you a better feel for how your site may look and function but will give you a better indication of how much experience they have designing for similar clients. You may also want to look for testimonials and reviews of the firm’s work by past clients or even contact them in person to ask for their opinion of the firm’s work. While you’re at it, take a look at the site the firm has designed for itself. This should give you a good idea of both their design aesthetic and their technical ability.
Find Out What their Support Options Are
No matter how well designed a website is, something will probably go wrong with it at some point. A malfunctioning website can leave a bad impression on visitors and cost you potential sales. A good web design firm should stand behind their work and offer prompt, accessible support when problems arise. Additionally, you will likely want or need to make changes to your site. You will want to ensure that you can get in contact with the designers in a timely fashion, should you need their assistance in this process. Some design firms may also offer marketing services that can be extremely valuable in attracting traffic to your site. If you don’t have a marketing department, or could use some assistance translating your existing marketing efforts to the digital world, a design firm that offers these services could be particularly attractive.
Determine How Hands-On You Want To Be
Some companies prefer to have a web design firm to create their initial site and then provide them with tools and training so that they can manage it on their own after the design is complete. Others prefer to let the designer handle any future updates or maintenance to the site. You will want to decide what level of involvement you want to have with managing your site and make sure that the design firm you work with is willing and able to provide you with the tools to manage the site on your own or the support you desire after the initial build. If you are already doing some of the maintenance and upkeep of an existing website and wish to continue using the same tools, you may want to ask the firms you are considering if they are willing and able to incorporate those tools into their design.
Research Your Hosting Options
Where you choose to host your site can be critical to your site’s functionality. A site that is frequently down or loads very slowly or with errors can be worse than having no site at all. Some design firms will be willing to develop a site for whatever host you choose, whether that’s a dedicated web hosting service or on your server. Other design firms may have agreements with specific hosting services. If that is the case, you will want to make sure that the web host the firm plans to use meets the needs of your site. Additionally, if you are having them redesign an existing site, you will need to make sure that they are willing to either work with the existing host or relocate the site to a new one.
Set Goals and Deadlines
Chances are, you don’t have an unlimited amount of time in which to get your website completed. Setting long and short-term goals, with deadlines for each, can help set expectations for the designer and ensure that your project stays on track. Setting these goals upfront can also help you choose a design firm who can complete your project within the timeframe you have in mind. Whether you are considering a small firm with just a few clients or a large one with many clients, you will want to make sure they can devote the necessary resources to your project to get it completed within the agreed-upon timeframe.
There is no one perfect web design firm for everyone. The best match for you will depend on your specific needs and budget and the strengths and weaknesses of the individual designers. Incorporating these strategies into your selection process can help you find the best match between the two.