Updated: Jul 3, 2021
Whether you need a brand-spanking-new website or you're wanting a redesign of your current site, web design agency choices can be hard (if you don't know what to look for). Your website isn't just another piece of your business, it's the online face of your business, and often a customer's first impression. Here are some important tips to help you decide on the right web design agency for you!
Read testimonials or online reviews. One of the easiest ways to see what customers think of a company is with their testimonials and online reviews. Also, take note of whether or not the testimonials have actual names attributed to them, or links to the company's website. This will help you to find a company that's trustworthy and is presenting real reviews from real people.
Check out the portfolio. Any web design company worth looking at has an online portfolio, complete with links to their client's websites. If there is no portfolio, it's likely that the company is brand new and hasn't done much web design, or that the websites they've done aren't much to brag about. In either case, you'd be better off somewhere else.
Does the company offer marketing services also? The bottom line is, you need marketing services if you have a website. The "build it and they will come"olden days of the internet are gone, and there is no point in having a website if no one can find it! Simplify things by hiring a website design company that offers marketing services like SEO optimization (see definition of this here), pay-per-click online advertising setup, social media marketing, visitor analytics tools, and more.
Is the company only offering websites from one web platform? This one is a biggie. There are website design companies popping up all the time that only will work with one platform (i.e., "we only work with Wordpress websites"). This is a big red flag, because that shows a weakness in their abilities as web designers. The best of the best can work with platforms like Wix, Wordpress, Squarespace, and Shopify. Choose a company that is versatile in what they offer, and you'll get a great result.
Consider if you'll be able to have your staff manage the website after it's built, or if the website back-end will be too confusing for the non-tech savvy. This is something that most business owners don't consider until it's too late. Some web platforms are very user-friendly, where others are like calculus to a person who isn't a coder or a very computer literate person. The biggest complaints about user-unfriendliness I've heard usually come from Drupal and Wordpress, and the most user-friendly sites tend to be Shopify, Wix, or Squarespace. But make sure, no matter what platform is used, that you aren't dealing with a company that refuses to use more than one platform.
Once you find a company that you like, contact them for information or a meeting about your business' needs. A good web design company will be honest with you if they feel that they wouldn't be the best company to meet your needs. Once you find that top pick, you can get your project underway and focus on your business!
Wikipedia Definition of SEO Optimization:
"As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, the computer-programmed algorithms that dictate search engine behavior, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. SEO is performed because a website will receive more visitors from a search engine when websites rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP). These visitors can then potentially be converted into customers."