The success of your business website project starts with selecting the right design team. Whether building from scratch or overhauling an existing website, you want a partnership that can enhance the reach of your business and strength of your online presence. Below are ten tips for choosing the right designer and starting your project on solid foundations.
1. They Understand Your Industry
Working with a web designer that has experience and knowledge in your industry goes a long way to ensuring a quality end product. The strategies and techniques that work for an e-commerce store won’t be as effective for a restaurant’s brochure website.
Consider how they approach client work when evaluating your options. Do all of their previous client websites look similar? Do they make design choices based on the clients target audience or just because they look good? An experienced design team should be able to discuss the needs of your business and provide solutions that are catered to your audience and align with your business goals.
2. They Know the Importance of Conversions
Web design is much more than just creating a “pretty” website. What use is a beautiful website if it doesn’t help your business achieve its marketing goals?
A good design team knows how to convert traffic into leads and paying customers through appropriate page layout, calls to action, and information architecture. Your web designer should use proven techniques to build your website, and then use data to drive improvements and increase conversions.
3. They Go Beyond Frontend Design
Your website should be a reflection of your brand, be effective at engaging your audience, and encourage visitors to purchase your products and services. Lot’s of agencies are capable of building a slick and visually appealing website, but do they help their client hit their SEO targets? Do they design with user experience in mind?
Your website should be appropriately optimized for search engines and design choices should be influenced by user experience and conversion optimization. An experience design agency should be able to provide solutions that go beyond creating a “pretty” website.
4. They Offer Responsive Web Design
A responsive web design isn’t optional, it’s now a must for any business website. Mobile usage is growing every year, and it’s predicted there will be 5.5 billion mobile users by 2020. As more and more people access the internet from their smartphones, you need to make sure that your website is optimized to perform on every device. If your agency is still suggesting that a separate mobile site is a better option, you should consider whether they are a good fit for your project.
5. Don’t Choose on Price Alone
Magicdust, one of Australia’s longest practicing web design companies, advocates that your website is your online salesman, it works around the clock to grow your business and never takes a day off. A good web designer understands how vital your website is to your company and will discuss your business goals, marketing strategy, and time scale of the project before providing a detailed quote.
If you’re given a quote without discussing these factors, it’s a sign that your web designer might not be the choice.
6. They Set Goals and Measure Progress
Great web design goes beyond just building a website and saying goodbye once it’s launched. If your site is left to sit on the shelf, your losing a competitive edge to your rivals. Testing and improving is a critical factor in good marketing and website optimisation.
An experienced design team knows that your project is an ongoing partnership and process. They set goals, measure performance, and strive to improve results.
7. Talk to Their Previous Clients
Real client feedback is a transparent and valuable resource for evaluating a design agency. Inquire with previous clients to assess the quality of a designer’s work, their responsiveness, and their project management skills.
Partnering with an agency is a big step. By talking with people that have already gone through the process, you can better judge whether an agency can meet your business needs.
8. Hidden Fees
Make sure you know the upfront initial costs involved in building your site and any ongoing fees for maintenance and management. Your website will require regular maintenance, and you should know these costs beforehand so you can anticipate and budget for them. Ask your designer about:
Most agencies provide a packaged monthly or quarterly fee for these services. Whatever the costs involved, your designer should be clear and give an accurate quote before they start working on your project.
9. Ensure Your Business Owns the Intellectual Rights
Make sure that your company will own the intellectual property rights to your website. Although you might assume this will be the case, it’s important to get clarification from your web designer to prevent any misunderstandings at a later date.
If at some point you choose to sell your business, not owning the rights to your design and web content can derail a potential sale. Signing over intellectual property rights is standard practice, but it’s always a good idea to clarify.
10. They Have a Track Record
What’s the best way to evaluate a web designer or design agency? Check out their previous projects and experience the live websites they have created for clients. Don’t base your decision purely on mockups or screenshots of previous work.
You want to get a hands-on feel for the websites they are capable of building – it’s even better if your designer can share details about the goals and strategy behind the project. If you don’t see anything that resembles what you are looking for, they might not be a good fit for your project.
Choosing a web designer isn’t a process you should rush. Do your research and make a shortlist of possibilities based on recommendations and reviews. Schedule consultations with your shortlisted designers and be clear about your business goals and what you expect from the project.
Good designers are confident in their abilities and should be honest if they are a good fit for your project or not. Once you have the right design team on board, you can focus on running your business safe in the knowledge you have a competent team developing your online presence.