Your online presence is one of the most critical aspects of your businesses and it all starts with your website. It’s the place many of your prospective customers will go to check you out before they take those first steps to forming a relationship with you, and for many businesses it’s also the place their customers can go for self-service when they don’t actually need to interact with a real person.
Take a look on the web (or in your spam folder) and you’ll see there’s no shortage of web design companies touting their wares and promising you amazing results if you put your business (and a decent chunk of your money) in their hands.
Choosing the right web designer for your business is a bit like choosing the right partner in life – choose correctly and it’s a marriage made in heaven, but choose the wrong partner and acrimony is sure to follow.
So how do you choose the best web designer for your business? Here are our top tips:
Know your requirements
The first step is to know exactly what it is you want to achieve. Your web designer isn’t a mind reader (although they will be able to give you plenty of advice), so make sure you’re ready to tell them your objectives for creating your new website (or upgrading your old one).
Think about the journey you want to take your customers on when they hit your website, and in particular if and when you want to capture customer information – and how you want your website to respond to that information.
Do some online research
Once you know what it is you want to achieve, it’s time to do a little online research to check out the web designers that appeal to you. Most designers will have examples of their work on their websites and these will help you get a feel for the breadth of design talent and the unique styles available. Take a close look at some random samples of their work by going to the actual sites
and checking how responsive they are – and don’t forget to check them out using a mobile device so you can see if they are mobile responsive or not (the Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2017 shows 88% of Australians – and 95% of millennials – own a smartphone, and 72% of us access the internet at least as often via smartphone as we do via computer).
Check the services offered
Even if you’re just wanting a simple website and nothing else, it’s a good idea to find out how comprehensive the services are that the web designer offers. If in 12 month’s time you want to add some custom code or step up your SEO or SEM efforts, it’s important to know that your web designer is there to help. Look for a Google accredited partner – according to netmarketshare.com, Google held a whopping 71.98% share of search engine traffic in July 2018 and with numbers like that you need to ensure your search engine strategy is in knowledgeable hands.
Once you found a designer who ticks the boxes, the next step is to hook up with them – either face to face or via videoconference or phone. It’s important to remember here that location is not an essential criteria when choosing your web design partner – but attitude, experience, professionalism and approach are.
In your first meeting with your potential new web design partner, find out how they work, how they charge, how long the process usually takes, what platform they use and try to identify how they can add value to your business on an ongoing basis.
Ask for a proposal
If you’re happy with the way your first meeting went, ask for a proposal that outlines exactly what the web designer will do for you and what it’s all going to cost. The proposal should include project milestones, progress payments, hosting charges and any ongoing fees that may be payable. How changes to content are managed can make a big difference to the lifetime costs of your new website so ideally you want to be able to have the flexibility to make basic updates yourself.
A final word
Your website represents your business and it should fit with your brand values and business philosophy. The right partner will listen carefully to what you have to say and add value to your thinking. If you need a hand, we’re always happy to help – why not get in touch today so we can start the conversation about designing you a bright new future.