Web Design is an area that includes a wide spectrum of service providers such as web designers and web developers who may be individual freelancers or part of small and mid-level digital agencies with niche skill set employees or the bigger high-end design studios with bigger employee count, larger infrastructure and capability to provide expanded services.
Web Design companies always strive to exceed the expectations of their clients in providing services; however, companies who desire a web presence have to be extremely careful in choosing the right web design company primarily because the service provider has to intuitively understand and provide what the company needs for a wholesome web presence. Factors such as user-friendly navigation, compelling design and flow, SEO friendliness etc. have to in addition be attractive but productive enough to convert prospects into customers.
Every company that needs a web presence has to ask upfront some very pertinent questions; these could be customized depending on the need-of-the-hour but broadly cover the following areas.
• The web design company’s qualifications, designations and experience – a long standing company has earned its reputation by longevity which is a fairly good indicator of skill and the stability of the enterprise. It also translates into sound design work and reputation for excellent customer service. This is very important because several start-ups die out leaving an organization flustered when looking for upgrades and maintenance. Any agency with fair amount of experience, client interaction and sound qualifications is worth a try.
• The employee count and specific roles and skills – the agency does not have to be a big one but specific skills need people to play those roles – web designer, web developer, graphic designer, programmer, project management, etc. along with skilled sales & marketing people.
• Other skills provided besides web design – for an effective web design, the agency has to be adept at search engine marketing, content writing, search engine optimization, social media marketing etc. The services provided have to match the requirements of the company seeking the services. In addition, capability in defined areas such as quality checking and testing, programming languages, operating systems and conformity to web standards is a must.
• Willingness to understand business knowledge and provide a formal proposal – any agency that takes time to understand what the business needs in terms of current existence, improving sales and turnover goals, future prospecting, and many other aspects will clearly have the upper hand in creating a website that plays a great part in brand and internet marketing goals.
• Average timelines for job completion – the formal proposal of the agency should include realistic timelines with systematic tracking of design approvals, changes and amendments as work progresses and provide fresh timelines at each stage with proper co-ordinated effort from the rest of the team.
• Payment terms – any web design company that charges a full upfront fee should be kept at arm’s length. Only those who design payment terms on stage by stage basis with agreed deliverables and payment milestones should be encouraged. It may also be necessary to know if payment terms include future maintenance, providing updates and versions, providing relevant content and testing etc.
• A sound Privacy of Information and Non-Disclosure Policy – this is extremely crucial as the agency may have access to sensitive information that cannot fall into wrong hands. Besides, the concept itself should be kept in strict secrecy to prevent competitors and business adversaries getting hold of it and taking away the originality of the design and content.
• Outsourcing to third parties – if the agency is in the habit of outsourcing components of the worth to third parties, it is better upfront to know what components and who the third-party agencies are. It is also necessary to know if they are in different geographical locations.
Most companies make one crucial mistake in hiring a web design agency – picking the one that quotes the lowest price. A web agency that quotes a lower rate is not always the one with best service. At the end of the exercise a badly designed website can frustrate the business as well as visitors resulting in poor impression, loss in sales and revenue and bring down the web presence even before it takes off.