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How to Choose a Web Design Company

Website Design Development Victoria BC

Okay, so you've decided its time to upgrade that clunky old website or you've finally emerged from the dark ages and realized its about time you had one of your very own.

A poorly designed, outdated or barely functioning website will have a huge affect on the public's perception of your company. You wouldn't hire an obnoxious sales person with body odor and little knowledge of your company's products. Both scenarios are guaranteed to cost you money, leave a bad taste in any customer's mouth and ensure they avoid you like a plague.

With so many website design companies out there, and so much riding on making the right choice, where do you even begin.

  1. Understand your needs. Make sure you identify why your organization needs a website and what value will it bring? Begin by making a list of 5 goals or objectives for your new website and rank them. No objectives can be equal, period.
  2. Does the website design firm ask the right questions? Make sure any website design company you select clearly understands your business model, the market you play in, your customers, objectives, desired outcome, success factors, creative taste and who the key staff involved in the decision process and upkeep of the site's content are? Steer clear of any company who doesn't make a concerted effort to understand your company. This website design company is creating a powerful communications tool for you, and you have to make sure they understand who you are and what you do.
  3. Check out their portfolio. It's essential that you research any web development company's work so you can evaluate their potential. Once you've found a few website developers you like - through recommendations, web directories or competitors' sites - evaluate their online portfolios and fees. A site doesn't have to be flashy to do its job, but you must appreciate the website developers design sense. Also, consider hiring a firm familiar with your particular industry or who learns about your industry from the expert, you.
  4. Evaluate their skills and services. Decide if the website development company meets your needs. If you want to sell your products online, look for e-commerce experience. Determine what extras the firms offer, such as copywriting, marketing, SEO and other services.
  5. Make sure you meet face-to-face. Your website design firm, whether a one-person shop or a multinational company, is going to communicate your company to the world. You must be able to work collaboratively. Ask yourself these questions and rely on your gut reaction:
    1. Do they listen to my needs?
    2. Do they explain issues in ways I can understand?
    3. Do they know my industry?
    4. Do they share my vision for the site?

  6. Ask the website design company for references. Browsing a company's work is helpful, but you also want to know how they work. A website design firm can be the most creative in the world, but if it never finishes your site, it won't do you much good. Contact past clients and ask if the design firm:
    1. Adhered to deadlines
    2. Met their requests
    3. Was responsive to suggestions and questions
    4. Fixed problems promptly
    5. Worked within the original budget
  7. You should ask whether a design firm will accept payment in stages or whether they'll demand most of their payment up front. Firms that aren't willing to link payment to their own ability to deliver might not be worth the risk you'll take to deal with them. A typical payment term is 40%-50% up front and 60%-50% upon completion, although large website development and design projects may have more granular milestones.