Choosing a Web Design and Development Company that's right for you!
How to Pick a Web Design Company for your Business
--June 26, 2006
Internet usage has doubled since 2000 in North America to where almost 70% of the population is now connected to the internet. These are astounding numbers because your business can market to almost everyone in the country. What makes the web so powerful? It is a direct marketers dream. When people search on the internet for something, they know what they are looking for and with today's search engine technology they can get it quickly and efficiently.
So how do you get your business onto the net with a website? Well, one route is to do it yourself or hire a relative or friend. Sometimes this can work out, but most of the time it does not. There are too many factors in crafting a website for the average individual to learn in a reasonable amount of time and that is especially true for business websites that require shopping carts, databases, search engine optimization, etc. For most company owners who have been in business for decades, venturing into the web may be an intimidating experience
The route any reputable business should take is to hire a professional web designer. As expensive as that sounds, price should be the last item on your list for choosing a professional web design company. A properly designed website should pay for itself in a matter of months from new exposure and sales. Many multi-billion dollar blue chip companies can spend upwards of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on a website, but that's not something any small to medium business should have to do. You can find a reputable web designer in your area that will be within your budget by looking in your phone book or searching the web.
Web Design and Development Company Checklist
Honest, Trustworthy, and Interested
Your business is your life and you want someone whom you can trust with your online presence. The number one priority in choosing a web design company is being able to trust them with your company's image. Your web design company should keep open communication with you to gain knowledge about your market and at the same time offer advice for what works on the web. Face to face meetings about the progress and goals should be common. Web design companies should not claim to be industry experts in any industry except design. If they don't ask for your input on your specific industry, then chances are they may not be in your best interest.
An interested and honest web design company will make it easy for you to understand what is going with your website. While designing a website is not a rocket science, the terminology can be daunting for those who are not tech-savvy. Any good web design company should be able to break down what is being done into simple terms for you. A web design company shouldn't make it difficult or undermine your ability to understand the factors that go into designing a website.
There are a lot of amateur web designers out there who work part time or on the side of a job. These types of designers should only be used if a) you have used them before and were satisfied with the results, or b) come highly recommended. While they may be cheaper, you often get what you pay for.
A professional web design company has the resources to work full time with you and your website. They can get it done quicker and have the experience to deliver the results you are looking for. You should have no qualms about contacting them with any questions you have and they should no problem answering them for you.
Artistic and Creative
You don't want your website to look like it was made in a few minutes using Microsoft Frontpage. Choose a web design company that creates beautiful, eye-catching graphics. Not only should a great web design company make graphics that stand out and make your website unique, but they should also have the ability to make them load fast as well as being legible and accessibility friendly.
A good web design company should meet all of your standards and timelines for your website project. A great web design company will meet and exceed your expectations earlier than the deadline. Look at your web design company's body of work to see that the results they delivered for other companies will be what you are looking for.
Due to the growing amount of people using the web, there has been a direct increase in people doing their shopping online. Choosing a web design company that can do e-commerce is imperative if you plan on selling your products online. Accounts set-up, database, and shopping carts must be integrated into your website and must be easy to use for your visitors. E-commerce can significantly increase the price of your website, but if done correctly it will easily bring more business to your company.
Design and writing are two completely different things. Some web design companies can produce a beautiful web site but it can't convert your visitors to sales, and while other companies can bring you some leads with copy writing, a poorly designed site can put off many others. When you choose a web design company, make sure their design is eye-catching but also make sure their copy writing can convert your traffic to leads. Simply describing what your company does will not interest most people unless they are called to action by good copy writing, headlines, promotions, etc.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engines are an important factor in leading your customers to your site. While your site may become popular by sheer luck, it takes some extra work and effort optimizing your site for search engines to find you. Choose a web design company that knows these tricks of the trade to make your company website easily found and absorbed by search engines.
A professional web design company should have competitive prices. If you feel they are too high against the market average and you are not willing to pay, then don't. Most small to medium business web sites should cost between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on your options. These are prices not set in stone, and can vary greatly depending if you want Flash, database, e-commerce, programming, etc. You can feel out how much to pay by asking a few companies for a quote and then choosing one to your liking. In any case, if you find a good web design company that is within your budget, your site should pay for itself in due time by bringing new leads and sales.
Some of the items in the above list can be more important than others to your company. It all depends on your goals for the website. When looking for a web design company, the best place to find one is by a recommendation from someone who has used them before. Nothing beats a referral from someone who is happy with their product.
Other places you can find a web design company are on internet search engines (i.e; Business website design your city) or in the Yellow Pages under "web design." It takes time for new companies, like Shycon Design, to come up in traditional searches. Once you find them, make sure they meet your criteria for a professional company that will be with you every step of the way.
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