How do I choose a web design company

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If you are wondering how to choose a web design company, you are not alone.  You might wonder why one company gives you a quote of $500, and another company gives you a quote of $5,000.  Is the $5,000 website better than the $500 site, or can you really tell a difference?  The answer is absolutely!  As with most things, you get what you pay for.  So how do you tell which company to go with?  Here are a few tips and questions you can ask that will help you get to the bottom line.

1. Budget: First is your budget.  If you have a $500 budget, you have to make an investment decision.  I bought an ‘economical’ computer one time, because I just needed something I could carry around with me to meetings.  I had it for about a month before I filled up the hard drive.  I called the manufacturer to see about upgrading, and they informed me that my system was not upgradeable.  I made a bad decision.  The point, don’t decide on a ‘economical’ site just because you don’t want to spend the money.  Weight out your situation, and look at the big picture.  A well developed site should pay back your investment in leads.

2. Portfolio: Look at the companies portfolio.  If they don’t have an online portfolio, you should keep moving.  Visit the sites in their portfolio.  Most companies will link to the sites they have developed.  See if their sites have things such as contact forms, and click the submit buttons and see if you get a pop-up box requiring information.  This is one of those features that require experience, and design companies with less than adequate experience will leave these off.   Another important thing to mention, does their design match your style.

3. Templates: Is the company a real design company, or are they using templates.  I recently had a client I lost a deal to.  I gave them a well written and well planned proposal, something that would set them apart from anyone else in their industry.  Another company gave them a cheaper proposal, and they were looking at cost as the deciding factor.  Five months later, the site went live.  As soon as I looked at it, I immediately knew it was a template based system, and even knew which template it was.  For some, a template will work, but if you are looking for a professional website, one that will help your business succeed, it takes planing.  You have to develop your site with your client in mind.  How will they navigate your site?  Where will they end up before they contact you?  How will they get there?  What are the most important items, the ones you will highlight?  You cant answer these questions with a pre-designed  template.

4. Local: Is the company a local company?  Can you meet in person?  I like to meet with my clients.  I like to see them, and talk with them about more that just a website.  If I can learn about who they are, and what they are trying to accomplish, it helps me relate better to where they are going in their business.  Also, ideas are not conveyed as well over the phone or by email.  A lot of web designs start right in from of the client, during a face to face meeting.  As we are discussing the site and objectives, likes and dislikes and learning about each other, sketches are being drawn on paper on the table by both me and the client.  A personal exchange of ideas.

5. Technical: The technical aspects of the site are to vast to go into here, but it is all so important.  Sites should be developed so that they work and look the same on all of the major browsers.  You also wan to make sure the company uses and is proficient in CSS.  This type of design is the web standard, and will help in consistency regarding colors and fonts.  It will also make future updates and changes much more economical.  You want to make sure Divs are used instead of tables.  Tables load slower, and are an older way to develop.  Designers that are less than proficient may take shortcuts and layout with tables.  Another important development tool is a Dreamweaver template.  Do not mistake this for a pre-designed template from above.  Creating a Dreamweaver template from your custom design will drastically cut down on the expense of major changes to your site in the future.  The idea is you will make the major change on the Dreamweaver template, and it will update the entire site.

There are many more factors that are important in choosing a web design company, but these are some important items to look at that should get you a great jump start on your quest.  These are some quick questions you can ask by phone or email, that should narrow the inexperienced designers from the experienced companies.  If you have any additional comments on what you have looked for in a web company, I would love to hear them.  And if you are in the market for a website, visit our website at http://www.blackbeardesign.com and see what we are all about.  We would love to speak with you in more detail about any of the above items, or any other questions you may have.

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2 responses to “How do I choose a web design company”

  1. Lucas Tadeu says:

    Great post.What most called my atention was the Budget part.Most of clients want to go with the cheaper way.As I read in another article, they don’t know that a CMS based website is better than a static website.Before I start working for a client, I explain all this stuff and its advantage.

  2. Many companies often encounter difficulties and conflicts within the design process. These are simple steps, although often overlooked, and can be the difference between a design process rough or smooth. Keep this in mind when looking for a web designer and you should find the right one to create your website.

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