What Business Owners Should Look for When Choosing a Web Design Company

The right web design company can make or break your internet marketing efforts. As a business owner who wants to grow your company, gain new customers and increase your bottom line, having an attractive, informative and easy-to-read website is the key to success. In order to achieve the goal of having a productive and beautifully designed website you will need help. You will have to establish a business relationship with a high-quality web design agency. But what makes a great website design company? First of all, you want to hire a web development company that knows what they’re doing, not someone who will just make your website look good. If the web design firm you hire has a background in digital marketing, they will know what the website needs to stand out for both usability and Google rankings. Make sure you check out their portfolio of work they’ve done for other businesses and ask yourself these questions: Are their websites easy to interact with, navigate, and can you quickly find the information you’re looking for?

An experienced website design company should also act as your internet marketing partner. A great website will help your business achieve its online marketing goals and whoever you hire to build it will ultimately dictate your website’s success. To determine which digital marketing company is right for you, put them through the hiring process, like you would any new employee. You’ll want to interview them, review their performance results, request a portfolio of their work and check their references. This will also give them the chance to ask questions and get to know your business, target audience and objectives for your website and online business goals.

If you’re considering hiring a web design company to redesign or build your business website, here are 17 questions you should ask to help make the best decision possible:

What website building services do you offer?

Some companies only offer barebones website building services, but most business will benefit more from an all-inclusive package. Look for a digital marketing company that can also host your website, and offer copywriting and digital marketing solutions such as social media management, Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well.

It’s ideal if one business handles all of your online services. To stay competitive, many web design companies include digital marketing services as well, but that doesn’t always mean that they really know their stuff. Take a look at what they’ve done for other businesses to ensure they are reputable and can help you gain an increase in sales and traffic.

Will our business get a custom built website or one from a pre-made website template?

This comes down to budget and time. Both types of sites will get the job done, custom sites are just significantly more expensive. The price difference can be $15,000, so do you want to spend $5,000 or $20,000? Custom sites make sense when there is a very specific goal for the site and using a template will not work.

However, keep in mind that if you’re working with a limited budget, a templated website is not a bad idea. Templated websites will allow you to save money with a premade theme that can be customized with your logo, content, and colors. Consider your timeline, budget and business needs and discuss what is the best fit when reaching out to a prospective web design company.

Can I see examples of websites your company has designed in the past?

Scoping out the website design company’s previous work will help you determine how diverse they are in their web designs and abilities. Pay close attention to the sites’ performance, how well it’s crafted and matches the business’s style if the designs are up-to-date and how easy it is to navigate.

Do you have results from previous website redesigns available?

Designing a good website is about more than just having a nice looking site for your business. If you really want to make sure you are getting a good return on investment you’ll need to have a website that delivers results. Seeing results from past clients like how much traffic and leads have increased and whether or not the conversion rate went up after a redesign will help ensure you get the most ROI from redesigning your business website.

How will your company design the website to generate more leads and revenue?

You want to hire a company that is going to be just as concerned about generating more leads and revenue with your new website as you are. Put them on the spot and ask what proven strategies they plan to incorporate into your site’s design and make sure these approaches are in line with your goals. For example, if you want more calls or visits to your business, the phone number or address should be visible at the top of the website and calls to action throughout the site should lead to your contact page.

Can you review my current website and analyze its performance beforehand?

This helps you see if they really know their stuff. If you are not creating a website from scratch, not every page on your current site may need a redesign, especially if they are performing well already. See if the web design company intends to analyze your current site’s metrics to gauge its strengths and weaknesses before making any changes. You don’t want them to charge you for extra work when you don’t need it. Sometimes a site can be tweaked to improve lead conversions. It is amazing how a few different images, properly placed Calls To Action (CTA’s) and the right headline text can get a site to start converting.

How much say will I have in my website design?

During the first consultation, a web design company should ask you questions about your business. You want to make sure they understand the tone and style you want to portray to users visiting your site. Look at competitor sites and discuss the types of web design styles they use that you also want on your site so your vision becomes a reality. You want to make sure your website has the proper site components, converts your target audience and features the right type of content.

Can my website’s capabilities expand as my business grows?

You want your business to grow and develop over time, so your website should be created with the capability to meet these future demands, especially if you plan on adding new products or an online storefront in the future. Ask about the scalability of the website design and see if new capabilities can be added later on without having to pay for an entire site redesign. If they want to charge you for a revamp when all you want to do is add a new tab for new products or a plugin for added capabilities, it’s best to take your business elsewhere.

How much do you charge hourly for web design and what exactly am I paying for?

Speaking of price, it is vital that you know exactly what you’re getting when you sign the contract. Ask for a detailed list of what’s included in the price and what isn’t. A clear understanding of what is included is critical to a successful ongoing relationship. If you find out expected items aren’t included after the fact, you may end up paying for something you didn’t budget for.

Will my website be responsive and compatible with various sizes of mobile devices?

If you want to have a solid online presence, your website should be compatible and look great both on desktop computers and mobile devices. This is because a responsive design will be able to accommodate all visitors to your site regardless of what type of device they’re using to get there. Ask how the web design company plans to tailor your website design for mobile devices and have them explain their approach to checking the site for varying screen sizes. While the type of device (desktop or mobile) depends heavily on the industry, Google places serious SEO-value on website responsiveness.

Does your website design company offer domain name registration?

Before a website can go live and be accessible to your potential customers, it needs a name. This is where domain name registration comes in. See if the firm will check whether the name you want for your site is free, or if they will register it for you. To maximize your site’s longevity, ask how many years the domain name registration is good for and inquire about the cost for performing this service so there are no surprises later on.

Can I see the website as you’re building it?

Reputable web design companies will have no problem letting you see your website during each phase of the design so you can make suggestions, content edits or any other type of changes. Make sure you ask exactly how the review and input process will go so you know what to expect.

Will you test how well my website functions before it goes live?

Prior to launching your site live, it’s vital that you test it first. It’s better if you see flaws and hiccups before your new customers do. The website building company should be looking for syntax errors, cross-browser compatibility, correctly uploaded files and how well forms, links, scripts, and other elements function on the site across various browsers.

Will I own my website once it’s finished?

Find out if the domain name and hosting account is registered in your name or the web design company’s. Also, ask if the website design firm requires your site to be hosted on their servers. Find out if you will be able to get all source files for your site and access to your hosting account, backend administration platform and server. It’s also a red flag if you will be required to lock into an ongoing contract to keep your site live and functioning correctly. Ideally, you want the completed site to be delivered to you with full access and control upon completion. Also, ask about the name of the company where your website’s domain name will be registered and make sure you have access to all usernames and passwords and the name of the hosting company as well.

Do you offer web hosting services?

Even if you already have a web hosting provider, it’s a good idea to ask whether the website design company offers web hosting. All hosting companies are not created equal and you generally get what you pay for. If your hosting is slow Google will not rank your site in a good position, so cheap hosting does cost you sales and leads.

Do you offer ongoing web maintenance after my site goes live?

Technology and trends are always changing so you may very well want to have additional web design and development work done on your site in the future. This could include updating or refreshing content or changing something around so it is compatible with browser changes. Ask the web design company how much they charge for maintenance services and if they are provided on an as-needed, ongoing or retainer basis. Websites require ongoing updates, having a company that can handle them for you improves security and reduces site errors.

How do you measure results after my site goes live?

You should continue the relationship with your web design firm after your site goes live. Ideally, the firm should measure the results of its design and you want to be on the same page in terms of how they will do that. A good web design company will look at things like page views, unique visits, time on site, bounce rate, conversion rate, inbound links and search engine ranking. Inquire about what numbers or benchmarks you should expect to see and find out how often you should expect to see them.