The Best Web Design Company for Business Success – 9 Tips on How to Pick Yours
It has the power to make or break your business. Your website and the web design company you work with. Are you sure yours is up to standard?
It only takes a quick scan of global companies’ exceptional sites to see that most websites out there (perhaps yours) don’t really make the cut. Just look at Starbucks around Valentine’s Day. All the functions you need and it makes you want to go out for coffee. Can yours measure up?
Or, simply type in your industry and see how high up on the SERP list you are.
That’s the ultimate goal, right? Achieving the prized position of being first on a Google search list. Does yours need some work?
Does Your Website Need Some Work?
Guess what: That starts as far back as creating your website and the web design company you pick, so don’t wait until your SEO process before you start working on your online success.
Newbies: (If you want your website to rank you need to learn about SEO which you can find out about here. You can also watch this video for the latest 2019 updates.) It will clarify how web design is ALWAYS important
But back to web design.
Now, let’s be fair: The factors determining a website’s success are vast, so chances are yours won’t ever be perfect. But the layout, look, and content are all important, so give yourself a headstart by employing a web design company worth their money from the very start.
And don’t worry: If you’ve poured money into a website already there is still hope. Top web design companies can do a website redesign and fix what others have failed at.
Does that sound like what you need? Then you need to partner with a quality web design agency today so you can enjoy the results of it tomorrow.
What Do You Want to Learn About?
We put together a comprehensive guide to bring you up to speed regarding this niche. Vet future web design companies with this background information. Then you’ll quickly identify who you want on your side.
You can scroll down or jump to the topics you need to learn about:
- What Does a Web Design Company Do?
- Corporate Web Design—Understand the Industry
- What Should I be Looking for When Hiring a Web Design Company?
- The Website Design Process—Know what to Expect
- Responsive Web Design—Don’t get Penalized
- What is Mobile Responsiveness?
- eCommerce Websites—What’s Different?
What Does a Web Design Company Do?
The digital world is filled with technical mumbo jumbo, assumptions, and terms used interchangeably. That could lead to you hiring the wrong professional or feeling overwhelmed at the list of pros you come across when Googling ‘web design company near me’.
Which of those institutions will have the skills to help you?
Read through their ‘About us’ pages and see if what they do is congruent with this definition.
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Web design company: An institution that creates a website. This includes the layout, producing the content and doing graphic design work to create a visually appealing platform for your information. In addition, you want the company to handle this too:
- Programming and debugging
- SEO & marketing which includes analysis of the site’s success & how it can improve
- Creating and maintaining a site’s database
You can see this is a comprehensive service, so a vendor that only focuses on design work isn’t ideal.
Can you see how important your vetting process of finding the best web design services provider is? That will ensure all the components form a cohesive unit with the same style as well.
And why pay more for additional services such as copywriting when one entity can do it all?
But this only represents professional website design in broad strokes. Let’s break it down even more so you know who to hire.
Corporate Web Design—Understand the Industry
It took the tech world only 30 years to transform society entirely.
In the 1980s being connected by something as astounding as the world wide web was unthinkable. But since the 90s, in a few short years, it has become a non-negotiable feature of most people’s lives.
The result of change happening this fast: There are a lot of terms flying around.
Let’s clarify a few.
What’s the Difference Between a Web Designer and Web Developer?
Web design is actually a component of web development, a much broader term.
The terms are used interchangeably, which unfortunately leads to confusion.
Let’s make it simple:
- Web design relates to the aesthetic and usability of the website. These pros use design programs such as Adobe Photoshop.
If you’re new to this niche, this is what developer programming looks like. It’s obvious you need an expert on your team to handle this aspect of your website.
When you’re looking for a web design company, ideally you’ll use one that employs both these groups of pros. The web design agency will work with you (more about that later) to determine what you need. They then give their work to developers to bring it to life so it’s functional for browsers to use.
This video could also help you clarify the topic.
Website Agency vs Hiring a Freelance Designer
If you’re wondering if it’s worth hiring a freelancer, you need to consider the consequences: As mentioned above a website company doesn’t simply design the aesthetics of your website. You need so much more to make it a practical success:
- Graphic design
- Content creation
- Correct use of calls to action
- Regular updates
- Hosting services
- Ensuring downtime is kept at a minimum
And that’s only a few of the important services the top web design companies can help you with.
A freelance designer does exactly what the name states: Design the layout and visuals of your website.
Then he or she is done. Can you do all the rest?
If a freelancer offers to do all the above, you’re faced with another problem: Will he or she do all the tasks effectively?
Let’s be honest: Few people can be experts in all those mentioned areas. And in today’s competitive online world you need an expert behind every aspect of your site if you want to move up the rankings.
In short, hiring a freelancer may lead to unnecessary effort on your side and a low quality website.
Hiring a Website Company vs Using a Website Builder
And then there’s the method many have turned to: Using website builders.
- You’ll spend a lot of time learning about the tools, which are hours you’ll spend away from your other responsibilities.
- Your DIY version will never be as professional and relevant to your business as the ones an expert web design company can create.
- There will be payments to photographers and a few other pros to really make it work.
While it’s a good idea for a startup, eventually it will be better investing in a company that does it all for you.
Understanding the different roles in the web design services industry empowers you to only pay for what you really need. Now that you know what type you need, how do you know which one to trust?
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What Should I be Looking for When Hiring a Web Design Company?
It’s the reality whenever you work with someone new (whether it’s a colleague, an employee or a service provider): You only get to know them as you get to know them and you may not like what you discover.
But, is it possible to limit the number of unwanted surprises you’ll face after partnering with a web design agency?
9 Important Factors
Get answers to these 9 questions and you’ll circumvent most obstacles.
What is Their Approach?
How do you ask the right questions about an industry you’re not familiar with? In 2019 you need to discuss the following with your web developent company:
- Responsiveness of websites (more about that later).
- Visitor oriented websites which means they’ll create with your customers in mind, instead of simply making a pretty platform.
- Ask about their areas of expertise and hope they mention aspects such as marketing. The best web design companies not only make exceptional websites but help you get the traction you need. That means they need a marketing team that ensures your content leads to conversions.
- Discuss whose input they allow in the project. You want them to use their expertise to your benefit and add features they know will work. But you also want your custom website design to carry elements of your personal tastes. The ideal web development company will take your suggestions into consideration and make you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts. After all, you know your products and target audience better than they do.
You don’t have to know all the answers regarding these areas of web design to vet your potential website partner. If the vendor is excited about these topics it means they’re aware how important they are for your website’s success.
What’s the Track Record?
It’s their words against the proof of their history. Can the corporate web design agencies produce proof of their exceptional work?
You’re allowed to ask for a portfolio to gauge the quality of their work.
Important: Don’t simply look at the screenshots they’re bound to give you. What you need to consider is:
- Niche compatibility: Do they have proof that they understand your industry? It may not be ideal if they also work for your biggest competitor but they must at least be comfortable working with a similar target audience than yours. You don’t want to be their test project.
- Long term success: Do those websites they brag about still exist? Of course they can’t help it if a business closed down, but at least some of their websites should still be active. If not, it’s a red flag about their ability to create sites that find favor with audiences.
- Client feedback: Can you find reviews online or will they allow you to contact some of their current clients?
- Client retention: You’re making long term plans so your service provider must be known for keeping customers happy over long periods of time. Ask about retention rates and if it’s anything below 60%, pick another vendor.
Yes, it will take you some time to vet your new website company but the returns are worth it.
What Will it Cost You?
And that brings us to what you’ll actually invest before you see any returns. The cost.
Start by considering your budget so you know what’s available. But don’t get too attached to that number. Agencies quote differently and you have to allow for the following:
- Flexibility in light of the fact that a costly feature could improve your bottom line dramatically.
- Some website agencies quote per hour while others charge for a specific project.
- Be ready for upsells that you didn’t consider at first but are worth the investment.
Also know that not everyone will publish their costs online or even send you a quote unless you commit to a strategy discussion. If the latter happens, don’t feel pressured to use these web design packages. It may be risky partnering with someone who isn’t transparent from the start. Unless you’ve heard exceptional reviews, opt for someone else.
Important: Don’t settle for the cheapest developer on the list. Conpared to more affordable web design the ones that have elevated rates often have good reasons to ask those prices: They know how to get it right.
What is the Timeline?
You may request the website in anticipation of a new product or outlet launch. You can’t allow a website that’s launched late to ruin your reputation. ‘Website under construction’ or ‘Error 404′ will tarnish your brand very quickly as consumers will quickly find an alternative site to visit: Your competitor’s.
Discuss the timeline with the website design company and ensure they allow time for unplanned obstacles. If a website company is realistic in what it suggests, it’s a good sign they aren’t simply trying to impress you.
Once you commit and start the project it’s up to them to keep to the plan, but make sure you monitor them at regular intervals.
Talk About Hosting Details
This matters whether you’re employing a new web design company, or doing it for the very first time.
Where will the entity host your site?
Hosting determines how secure your data is, so ask about their servers, security features and whether they align with privacy legislations such as GDPR.
It gets even more complicated when an existing site is taken over for website redesign. If it will move from the previous host you must know the exact timeline so you can warn employees and visitors about possible down times.
You also need to know where you can access it if you want to make your own updates.
A website company must be forthcoming with its plans to ensure a smooth process for you.
What Support Will You Get?
What if you need help?
A web design company’s services shouldn’t end at putting your site together:
- What happens if there’s an error? Can you call them?
- Are they only available during office hours? Your site must serve customers 24/7 so getting all day service is the better option to go with.
- Who exactly can you speak to? If a service provider doesn’t have a customer service center you’ll probably wait a long time to get the feedback you need.
A further bonus worth paying a little extra for: Training.
Below we will talk about you adding your own content to the website. If you find it too difficult, you’re bound to let it slide and your website will quickly become outdated. Your vendor should make it easy by training you to be a pro so it becomes an effortless part of your day.
What Exactly is Included?
It is important to ensure you only pay what you agree to instead of being charged with hidden costs later on. To prevent misunderstandings, ask questions such as whether you need to pay extra if you want design changes later on.
Who Will You Work With?
Here’s an easy way to spot a pro web design company: Assigning you a specific project leader.
Yes, you want a team of professionals—each operating in their areas of expertise—to work on your website. But you don’t want to speak to all of them, do you?
Who will be that one person with whom you’ll share your vision? He or she will then relay the details to the rest.
Paying more for an agency who assigns a single contact person brings you many benefits:
- He or she is accountable for your project so the webs design agency can’t escape responsibility by blaming its group of employees.
- When it’s a single person’s responsibility he or she will drive the project for faster completion, to protect his or her reputation.
- When you call them you don’t have to update a random employee before you get feedback about your website’s progression. hHe or she will stay on top of all developments.
- The project won’t change direction because different people are in charge at different times. Your project leader knows your goal from the start and makes sure the design team reaches it.
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How Easy is it to Use?
Owning a website isn’t a once off action. It’s a continuous process of adding content.
Part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is generating new content on a regular basis.
Creating this content is partly your responsibility. But how difficult will it be to add new blogs, products or images to your site?
A reputable website design and marketing company will ensure there’s a user friendly back end. You should simply be able to log on, add your latest information (a blog, a product or comment) and update the site.
Remember: Your website must work for you in the long term. Consider every aspect before you decide which web design packages to commit to.
The Website Design Process—Know what to Expect
If you’ve tried putting your own website together in the past (with website builders we mentioned above) you probably used a template.
A website design company’s process is a lot more sophisticated. Therefore, being prepared for the long timeline is vital. Getting impatient and nagging the team to work faster could end up in them making unfortunate errors.
Also, if your website is part of a marketing campaign you must plan well in advance. It could take anything from days to weeks or months to have the final product, depending on the intricacies of your site.
To help you understand, here are some of the steps you’ll go through.
Steps in the Website Design Process
- Consultations: Clarifying expectations, company information and your needs for the website.
- Getting a proposal: You’ll receive an outline of the site on which you can give feedback. If costs weren’t agreed upon beforehand you’ll also get a final quotation.
- Agreement: When you’re happy with costs, outlines and promised timelines you’ll sign the contract to confirm your commitment to paying the account.
- Development: Only now the team starts designing your pages, acquiring email addresses (if necessary), purchasing your domain name and organizing web hosting on your behalf.
- Optimizing: You’ll be given updates and you can ask for small changes until you’re happy. The team will also optimize it for ranking throughout.
During this process the pages are invisible to the public. Only when you and the website design company are happy will the site go live.
Responsive Web Design—Don’t get Penalized
Here’s a very important topic that no one with a website can ignore. It’s 2019 and mobile rules.
You need to show Google (and other search engines) that you respect consumers’ wishes.
Mobile browsing has been growing in popularity over the past few years and internet stats prove it:
- The percentage of mobile traffic which makes up general internet traffic grew from 50.3% in 2017 to over 52% in 2018 alone.
- Since 2016 mobile shopping has dominated and now over 60% of eCommerce sales happen on mobile.
- Before making any purchase 82% of consumers first research the niche online.
Is your website geared to cater for this audience, always busy on their phones? If not, you’re losing out on revenue.
What is Mobile Responsiveness?
Mobile responsiveness relates to your website’s ability to:
- Resize itself to fit any mobile device screen a consumer uses to access your pages.
- Provide information with the lowest number of zooming and scrolling necessary.
- Facilitate easy scrolling and navigation.
- Offer excellent viewing and use of the website on all pages.
Responsiveness in 2019—Increased Importance
Google monitors what consumers want and adjusts its algorithms accordingly. At the moment you’ll probably get ranked much higher if you have a mobile responsive version of your website.
Search engines are bound to look at the quality of your mobile site even before they rate your regular site.
What do you need to do? Listen when a vendor describes how to design a website for your business. If he or she doesn’t mention mobile responsiveness they’re not up to date with changes in the market.
Without this feature your website won’t get the traction you want, so prioritize this when speaking to website service providers.
eCommerce Websites—What’s Different?
What type of website do you need? In the same way that a school and a business will market differently, a simple blog is quite different to running an online business.
If you’re aiming to make your fortune online, you need to look for a company experienced in eCommerce web design packages so you know relevant tools are incorporated correctly.
Handy eCommerce Tools
- Payment options: There must be enough options to cater for various types of clients. Some prefer PayPal while others want to use credit cards. Don’t be left red in the face. When a potential client is ready to pay for your wares, you need the proper payment options. And your website designer should guide you in the process.
- Delivery infrastructure: You need a delivery timeline and trustworthy courier services. Can you make changes to your site easily if anything changes and you need to inform customers?
- Product descriptions: You must provide as much information as possible about your merchandise. Will the web design company create a user friendly platform for you to add new items and for customers to view the information?
- Price: Is it easy to change prices so your website can be kept up to date effortlessly?
- Search function: Up to 30% of your customers will want to search for their products on your pages, instead of browsing through menus. Make sure your web design company can cater for your needs and supply a user friendly search feature.
- Security: With eCommerce you need more information than an email address to join a newsletter list. You utilize people’s personal and financial details. This calls for security features such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and encryptions. Make sure your valued customers don’t get hacked because a criminal accessed their details via your website.
- Fast loading: A slow site is never a good thing, but when you’re running an eCommerce store a lagging page could cost you revenue. Your website design company must help you create and manage a fast, effective site people will enjoy browsing on.
A website is all about showcasing something; Whether it’s a product, your personal message or your company values.
In 2019 you can’t afford being less impressive than your competitors because your audience is spoilt for choice: Make sure your website leaves no doubt: You’re THE ONE they should visit and follow.
For that you need the right pros on your side and now you know how to pick your web design company. To start your vetting process, leave a message here and our consultants will contact you with options.
We know how to get this right.