When you need a new website, you want to find a team with ample web design experience to take the reins. They should understand how to construct a site that caters to the customer — and looks good, too. But what else should you keep in mind as you search for the best option?
Read on to learn 10 factors you should consider when hiring business website designers!
1. Understand Your Budget
Comparing designer fees should be one of the early steps in your process. Shop around and compare quotes from different agencies before committing to one.
The cheapest option is to use DIY website platforms, such as WordPress or Wix. You’ll pay a monthly fee and choose from templates to design your site. While you may save money, you’ll need to have an employee with the skillset — and time — to make this work.
For example, all photos will need to be optimized to avoid slow loading times. You’ll need to incorporate strong search engine optimization (SEO) practices to move your website to the top of the search results, too. As a result, hiring a pro might be the better way to go!
You’ll also need to make a mobile-friendly website. With over 72% of the world’s population projected to use mobile devices as their only access point to the internet in a few years, you want to be ready.
2. What is the Timeline for the Process
Designing business websites can take weeks — or months, depending on the company. Before you sign a contract, make sure that you’re clear on the timeline. The completion date holds the design team accountable, and it should be indicated in the contract.
Be upfront with the design agency about your priorities. A newer firm may be willing to give you a deal to earn your business. Or, if you’re refreshing a website rather than starting a new one, they may have suggestions to streamline the process.
Also, look into how feedback factors into the timeline. When will you be given a chance to review the site? And what if you don’t like the results?
As the client, you should have the power to ask for changes. Additionally, a quality design firm will build in enough checkpoints along the way.
You don’t want to be surprised by the outcome. If the firm doesn’t present a clear timeline with benchmarks, look elsewhere.
3. Consider the Billing Process
Will the project be billed in segments? Or will it be billed by the hour? Talk with the design team so you know when you should expect to make payments.
If the agency tells you they will bill by the hour, it’s fair to ask how many hours they anticipate the project taking. After all, hourly billing sets up an easy scenario where your budget could become vulnerable. You may want to set a maximum number of hours for which you are willing to spend.
Ask to see a sample invoice. If a design firm can produce one for you to see, this speaks well of their professionalism and organizational skills. The invoice should indicate the type of service, payment rate, and the due date for the bill.
4. Look at the Web Design Portfolio
When you’re shopping for business website designers, take a look at their portfolios. A good agency should have a strong website that offers examples. Browse through their selection — and specifically, look for sites in your field.
You want to see examples that show the agency knows the visual expectations in your area. For instance, if you are head of a law group, you’ll want a website that is clear and easy to navigate. The tone should make visitors say, “This company will offer the professional service I need.”
If you see a portfolio that caters to different clientele, you may want to shop elsewhere. And if an agency is unable to show you sample websites, you definitely want to look elsewhere.
5. Business Website Designers Should Be Accessible
You may want to consider hiring a web design team in your region. This is especially useful if you’re hoping to get updates during working hours.
In fact, your web designer may need to come to your office meetings to talk with the leadership team. This will ensure that the website is reflecting the mission and goals of the company.
If you’re in charge of coordinating the web design process, you may need to give updates to your superiors. But if you hire a web design in a different time zone, it could be difficult to coordinate schedules. When designing business websites, updates and input from the client are key to a successful outcome.
6. Find a Web Design Team Aware of the Buyer’s Experience
The web design experience involves more than inserting words and images into a template. Each website page needs to be intentional if you want the viewer to become a buyer. Your business website designers need to demonstrate that they understand this.
They should be able to explain how they will organize content. The goal is to keep a visitor clicking through your site. Contact information and access to services or products should be obvious on the homepage.
Find some sample websites that you like and share them with the design team. Be prepared to explain what it is about the website that appeals to you. This will provide a valuable window into your aesthetic preferences for the designers.
7. Look at Online Customer Reviews
A satisfied customer is one of the best indicators of quality service. When you’re talking with prospective design agencies, don’t be afraid to ask for a few referrals. You want to get an honest perspective from a recent client.
A quality design agency will tout some of their success stories on their website, too. Look for online customer reviews. If you don’t see any glowing testimonials, reconsider doing business with the agency.
8. Ask About Web Design Experience
A good design agency will have individuals experienced in both web development and design. During the process of building your site, these individuals will partner together. Their goal should be to create a site that runs efficiently, looks good, and drives leads.
The ideal scenario is that you hire a team with broad experience. In other words, you want designers skilled in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design.
It’s normal to inquire about the size of the company, too. A smaller company may offer a better price, but they may be shorthanded and lack the breadth of experience you want. By contrast, a company that is too large may not provide the personalized attention your business deserves.
9. Know What Is Included in the Services
Before committing to a team of business website designers, know what services you’ll actually be getting. Does everything happen in-house, or will the team need to outsource some aspects of your project? Broach these topics to gain a sense of a given design agency’s capabilities.
Ask if the agency can handle email integrations or create custom layouts. Other services could include content creation, Photoshop editing, and branding. Depending on how much you already have in place, you may want to go with an agency that offers more services.
The agency should be able to articulate how they can stay on top of your SEO, alt tags, and coding, too. These elements impact your marketing success. Web design agencies should know what tools and tricks they can use to keep your site visible.
Will the agency provide security updates? Glitches and maintenance situations are inevitable, so you’ll want to know where to go to resolve those issues. A good agency will communicate its plan upfront.
10. How Do the Business Website Designers Handle Updates?
Once a website launches, the process isn’t over. As you expand services or change personnel, you’ll need to update your website. This could happen every month.
Your web design team should be able to tell you how they handle the updating process. Ask how frequently they can offer updates — and how that process is billed.
When images, text, or other design elements are updated, that will require an update to SEO, too, to ensure optimization. Work with the design team to create an updated schedule, for instance, and know who your primary point of contact is.
Ask about the content management system the web designers use. Is it easy to use? And will you have access to login credentials so you can add updates?
In some cases, it may be just as easy to upload new images or descriptions yourself. Ask the agency if you’ll have the ability to make minor edits.
Find the Best Design Team for the Job
When you’re choosing business website designers, make sure you go through a thorough vetting process. Know the timeline and understand the experience level of the design team. Ultimately, a successful site should generate more leads for your business!
For more tips to keep your business running smoothly, check back for new and informative articles.