Goal Setting, Outcomes and Results Driven – What Qualities to Look for When Choosing the Right Web Design Company
In today’s social media-driven society, having a stellar web presence that’s properly branded across all social media platforms is very important. Each web design, marketing message and image speak loud and clear about what your company represents. You only have a few moments to capture and maintain the attention of online viewers. Therefore, working with an experienced web design company who understands the basic marketing elements is critical. So as a business owner, it’s your job to find the right web design company that understands your position in the marketplace.
To help streamline this process, some key points have been developed as provided below.
1. Goal Setting
It’s important to set goals and know what you want your website to do before bringing on a web design company. To begin, you should first determine what it is you want to achieve with your website. Setting goals for your website allows you to measure your success. For example, if you sell products or services and your goal is to increase sales, it will be easy to determine if you’ve achieved those goals (if they’re already in place.) Once they are in place, then you can measure areas such as sales conversions or ROI. If goals are not in place however, it will be difficult to develop a strategy to meet goals that are not there to begin with.
Once you’ve mapped out your online marketing and sales goals, then you’ll be able to hold web agencies accountable for their work.
2. Budgets, Outcomes and ROI’s
Most companies steer clear of expensive web design costs, especially with the numerous do-it-yourself web templates that are available – making it easy for companies to set up websites themselves. Some will even consider hiring a freelance web designer, or someone who works part-time who offers similar services at a much lower cost. You’re in essence taking a risk for going this route. For example:
- The project may take much longer to complete
- They may not have the manpower to manage additional work while maintaining
quality or offer on-going support.
- Their full-time job may become too demanding, forcing them to stop working on
your project altogether.
So even though cutting costs might seem practical at the time, there could be a lot of elements that perform poorly as a result of going with the cheapest web designer.
To that end, setting up a website is only half of the battle, a lot of marketing expertise is also needed in the overall web development process. Not only do you need to have the right look that best reflects your brand, your mission and your purpose, but you must also bring on an experienced company who can assist you with getting your website to do what it’s being designed to do – accomplish the goals that you’ve laid out beforehand. So consequently, the fee should reflect the value that you receive when the overall work is complete.
Determining the Value
You can determine the value of your site by what you see visually, by physically looking at the layout design and its functionality. But to determine the true value from a marketing and goal-setting perspective, the value may not be as apparent for several months. Therefore, the overall value in relation to the cost will need to be measured over time. So when accepting bids from multiple web design companies, you can compare apples to apples, qualifying various web design companies based on the value that they bring to your project, including in the areas of:
- Site Design
- Maintenance and Support
Always keep in mind however, that you get what you pay for. And in this case, the companies that will likely deliver quality work are the ones that add value and are results driven. They are the ones who fit the bill, justify their costs and earn their keep.
3. Hire Companies with Solid Track Records
Consider working with companies with a solid track record. That allows them to bring some experience to the table and introduce new ideas and solutions, hence, justifying their costs.
The best way to approach this area is by first performing some initial research. You can start with their websites, where they will likely have testimonials and mention of prior accomplishments.
With the information from your research armed in hand, you’ll be well equipped and better prepared to interact with potential web design companies during interviews and meetings.
During the interviewing process, ask more specific information about testimonials, other claims and results-driven solutions that appear on their websites.
4. First Things First – Develop Your Content
Whether you’re redesigning, relaunching or developing a new site, it should be centered around your content. Although most websites have nice visuals that allow visitors to capture a glimpse of what their company represents in a very graphic and sometimes entertaining way, it’s the content that tells the story, provides information and serves as a platform for potential customers to interact with your company.
Another telltale sign that you’re working with an experienced company is if they’re asking the right questions about your business, your customers and your industry – because this is the information that lays the foundation for your overall site. The artwork and design are merely the framework that supports your content. Thus web design companies must delve deep to obtain the information needed to produce clear, quality content.
5. Communication Indicators
After you’ve performed adequate research and you’ve approached your top, ideal web design companies, your next step is to see who actually responds and the next step is to see how long it takes for them to respond. This is an indication of how they will communicate with you and how they will likely handle your project. Companies who are the most responsive will likely have similar work ethics.
What to do Before Contacting Potential Web Design Companies
Before you reach out to potential web design companies, it’s important to be well prepared before contacting them by having specific, clear goals in mind and ready for discussion as indicated above, such as:
- You want to launch a new product
- You want to increase online sales or
- You want to increase brand awareness
It’s equally as important that you also have key questions lined up beforehand as well. The following are some questions that you can ask to assist with your selection.
- Find out approximately how long it will take to complete the project and request a timeline.
- Ask if they have sample work that they can show you and / or ask if they could provide more details about previous claims and testimonials made on their website.
- Let them know what your budget is and find out what the total cost will be before the services begin (rather than waiting to receive an invoice for triple the amount that you were expecting or can afford to pay.)
- Ask them if it’s OK to contact their references.
- Find out who the go-to person is who will be assigned to your project and responsible for the overall assignment.
- Find out what’s needed from your company before the project can begin, and what’s needed throughout the project.
Quality and Maintenance (After the Site is Launched)
- Will the web design company also make sure the site is SEO / search engine friendly? Will additional costs be added?
- Who will be updating the content and performing ongoing maintenance, such as broken links, changes of address, removing outdated information, and so forth? Will there be additional fees these services?
- Will they also provide domain, hosting and email services? If so, is it included in the current price or will there be additional ongoing monthly fees?
- Find out how they plan to measure your site’s performance? You’ll need to ask them what measuring tools, analytics and other methods they plan to use to track your site’s performance.
Other Minor Details That You Should Ask
Although the remaining questions may seem minute, you may find them to be very helpful.
- Ask whether or not the website will be programmed from scratch or if a web design template will be used?
- Find out how many samples or mocks will be presented before you are able to decide on your top pick. If this process is not used, find out what similar process is available.
- Will the web design company also assist you with ensuring that website properly integrates with your other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, and other platforms?
Having these questions lined up beforehand not only shows that you’re proactive and professional, but it also lets potential web design companies know that you’ve done your homework and have specific areas that you expect them to meet. You’ve basically set the bar for them.