When 57 percent of small businesses and 51 percent of tech companies outsource website and graphic design, it’s clear that the service is of high demand for hiring.
However, if you’re looking to hire someone to handle all things web design, there’s a good chance it’s because no one at your company knows much about web design. Just because you know how to hire a top-notch Ops engineer or a tester who’s the perfect culture fit doesn’t mean that handing your website over to an agency will be just as easy.
So, what should you look for when you go to hire a web design company? These tips will help you understand what to look for, what to consider, and what to ask before making a final decision.
When You Start Looking
First things first — you’ll need to ask the big ‘why.’ What is the business goal of your website redesign? If you don’t have that answer you’ll need to figure that out before you do anything else. Your goal may be to increase sales by 10% with a newly updated website. You can further break down that goal into the number of visitors and leads you will need to increase sales by 10%.
Next, you need to know if you need to build a website from scratch or if you’re looking for a redesign. Does your startup need to launch a homepage that includes navigation with a product, about us, and blog page? Or, are you looking to revamp your current website and make it more mobile-friendly?
This distinction will be important when it comes time to hire a web design company and relay your vision. Either way, you’ll want to be able to communicate how many pages you need to be created or what you want to be changed.
You should ideally with some research to find a few examples of websites you like that align with what you’re looking for. Look around for the name of the designer or the company who made the site, or send a quick email to someone from the organization to inquire about their information and ask their thoughts about working with them. You’ll also want to save the websites you’re interested in so you can reference them when it comes time to work with your chosen designer.
Once you find a company, you’ll want to check out their full portfolio in order to decide whether or not they can do what you’re looking for. You may also want to keep in mind websites, features, and pages that you don’t like so your vision is clear and communicative when you begin the process of choosing a website design company.
What to Consider
Once you have a running list of companies you’re going to have to analyze their strengths and weaknesses a little closer to assess which is the best fit to do the job.
You don’t want a web designer who builds a site and leaves it alone for your users to find out whether it works or not once it’s “done”. If you’re investing in a design firm, they should have an immersive testing and QA process in place.
Do they evaluate the functionality of different features and perform usability testing? Do they run the website on different browsers and devices once the product is finished?
Pay individual attention to UI/UX details. Is it easy to use and navigate? Is it visually pleasing? Do they have a solid record for optimizing responsive design? The usability and user experience of your own website should be priorities of your website design.
Paying for a website that’s not properly tested will just mean you have to invest more time and money into that component of the process. Instead, a good web design company will include in-depth QA and follow-up support.
For example, LyntonWeb is an agency that focuses on designing modern websites that work to achieve your business goals by using a well-defined website design process to make all aspects of a website redesign are fully addressed.
Questions to Ask
- What’s included in the service? – Maybe you think you’re just looking for a company to design your website, but you probably don’t realize there’s a lot more to it than that. Hiring a company that has an extensive knowledge around marketing tactics and SEO strategy, who can come up with a plan for content will prove to be of high value.
- Do you have any case studies or customer testimonials I can refer to? A good company is more than just an impressive portfolio. You want an understanding of how well they work with their customers straight from the source. If a website looks nice, but it isn’t what the customer wanted or didn’t fulfill all requests, you might want to rethink working with that agency.
- Do you have any hard figures to back up some of your results? Did site traffic increase? Did bounce rate decrease? Have sessions gotten longer or shorter? Analytics will help you understand whether the company’s redesign helped meet inbound marketing goals.
- What does the company look like? How many people work at the company? How many people work on each project? What are the different roles? Do most people work remote or in office? Who will be managing this project? You want to make sure you’re working with a team whose culture and mission aligns with your own.
- What’s the design, development, and implementation process? Have your potential hire walk you through their design plan so you can familiarize yourself with their ideas. Where do they start? How will they come up with a design, implement it, and maintain it? What about afterward? Will your team have access to content? Will the company keep up with website maintenance? You want to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- What’s the communication like between the client and the company? What information do they gather before, during, and after design to ensure they’ll be able to fulfill your vision? You want the agency to check in with your needs and make sure they’re on track to complete all requirements, not just take a rough idea and run with it with no communication. You should both be working together throughout the process to establish goals, wishes, and requirements — that way you won’t run into the awkward dilemma of disliking the first design.
- What’s your experience with responsive design and how do you ensure quality? Again, if the company just hands you a finished design with no testing, you will quickly experience issues. Make sure that whoever you hire knows how to design a responsive website, test it across browsers, and ensure it’s fully-functional before launching it.
Choosing a web design company can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. In fact, if you take the proper steps, it should be pretty clear which one is the right choice for your brand, company, and team. By assessing what you want your website to look like, researching your options, and communicating with the designers throughout the process, you’re almost guaranteed work with a great company who will give you a website you’re happy with.