The primary considerations for choosing a web design firm are:
Customer service/access to support
Credibility indicators of the design firm
Portfolio and design experience
Other services offered (domain renewal, hosting, SEO)
Let’s take a closer look at each consideration in detail, and explore how to identify and qualify the right design firm.
Like many products and services we purchase, both personally and professionally, deciding on a web design firm can often come down to price. But the value of the services rendered is really what’s important. A $200 web site usually turns out to look, feel and perform like a $200 web site.
The price of your site’s development will depend on three factors: the features of the site, the amount of content, and the service options included with the design package, such as hosting.
Because pricing varies by firm, here are several principles to use when determining the validity and value of a web design quote:
Does the quote state one all-inclusive price for the entire project?
Is there a reoccurring monthly fee for hosting?
Is the site custom-built, or is it customization of an existing template?
Is there a separate fee for content development, such as writing sales copy?
Is domain registration/management included in the package?
Will the firm provide multiple design concepts, prior to actual development?
It’s important to compare quotes from at least three firms to, determine the value of the services offered. Looking for the best value is important in a competitive service market.
There’s nothing worse than signing with a firm that offers a great product, only to find out they are impossible to contact. Consistent, open contact with your web design firm is important for ensuring success before, during, and after your web site is developed.
Throughout the design process, you may identify text, photos, or contact information you’d like to change before the site goes live. If you have immediate questions regarding your site’s development, you’ll be glad to have immediate contact with customer support staff by e-mail, telephone, or live chat.
If you are limited to e-mail technical support, consider other firms that offer a wider range of customer service options such as telephone and live chat support. E-mail is great for convenience – when it’s convenient.
Identifying “credibility indicators” can help ensure a firm is trustworthy, and will be around after your deposit or full payment is sent. Credibility indicators include, but are not limited to:
Toll free telephone support
24 hour customer service
Better Business Bureau affiliation
Human e-mail address contacts
Google PageRank of 2 or above
Presentation of a hard-copy quote/design contract
Does the design firm have experience in working with similar types of businesses? Even if a designer doesn’t have a web site in their portfolio related to your industry, the firm you select should have a strong working knowledge of how to develop an effective site for your business type. Product and service web sites are not the same. Your designer should have a plan of action for developing a site that reaches the maximum number of prospective customers in your target market.
A few good questions to ask about a firm’s design experience include:
Does the firm offer a number of diverse, finished web sites available for review?