Today more than ever, using web design services is an effective way of getting the word out about your business. Not only are more people spending time online looking for new products and services, but they are expecting to have a good experience on your website if you want them to buy from you. Here’s how to find reliable professional web design companies that can help your business get what it needs.
What Is A Website Design Company?
Many small businesses don’t realize that there are different types of website design companies available. Rather than hiring one company for every part of the process, it’s often easier to hire one firm who can handle everything from A to Z – including domain hosting, search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, graphic design work, etc.
Here are some different types of web design companies you might come across:
Solo Designer / Developer – this is the person who does everything from start to finish; including designing, developing and programming your website, building your blog (if needed) and more. This type of company focuses on one area only.
Full Service Agency – like a solo designer/developer, but with multiple people working for them; agencies will do everything mentioned above in addition to writing content for your site or managing social media campaigns. They may or might not outsource some work if they don’t have the expertise in-house. And just like a solo designer/developer, they can also be very expensive – especially if they’re really busy.
Offshore Web Design Company – this is when you hire someone offshore to build your site. While they are usually much cheaper than US or UK-based firms, you need to be very careful when choosing an offshore team because there’s a risk of poor communication (even if the agency says they have native English speakers). The key here is to make sure that there is someone who can communicate in writing or over the phone with you in case anything happens; otherwise, it will take forever for your website to get posted online.
Web Design Agency – like full service agencies, but they focus on multiple types of services like SEO, social media campaigns and blogging; they might outsource work as well. Web design agencies can control costs better since they don’t focus on one type of service, but may not be as specialized as a full service agency.
Web Design and Marketing Agency – this is like a web design or web design and marketing agency with the added benefit that you’ll get help with your SEO and social media campaigns right from the start; plus blogging assistance. This can be great because it helps your site rank higher in search engines and drives traffic to the site which usually means more sales. However, these types of companies often won’t do print work such as brochures or fliers so if you need those types of services done too, you might want to hire separate companies for those.
Finding A Web Design Company
Once you’ve decided on how much work you want to handle in-house, it’s time to hire your web design company. If you’re looking for a full service agency or web design and marketing firm, start by talking with friends or checking out online reviews. If you have a small business, the best bet is to search on Google for “website design [your city]” – so if you live in San Francisco, search for website design San Francisco. For local agencies only, try Googling “web design [your city + state].” You can also check out the American Marketing Association directory.
For bigger companies that are willing to pay higher prices (and might need more technical work done), hire someone who specializes in custom website design services. They often have their own team of developers who can create a website from scratch, so you don’t have to worry about hiring a separate developer. If you’re looking for an offshore team or low-cost alternative, start with Google as well and read reviews posted by others who have used those companies before. You should always try to communicate with the company via email first to see how quickly they reply back – oftentimes this is a good indication of their customer service skills later on if something goes wrong.
In addition to checking out reviews, make sure the agency has experience building your kind of site (e-commerce versus informational versus blog) – otherwise, they might not know what works best for your business. If you already have a vision of what you want your site to look like, upload a few of your favorite sites to your favorite web design company and ask them to create something similar. One way to find out which companies truly have the expertise you need, check their portfolio. If they have a lot of websites that look great or if they have been acknowledged for their designs, these are good indications that they know what they’re doing – at least within the industry.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask about how long it will take to launch your site. Web design agencies may give you an estimate on this after looking at some of your current content and discussing what you want from your website in greater detail. A smaller firm might only take a month while a bigger one could take up to six months if they’re really backed up.