Before hiring a web design company, it’s helpful to follow these steps:
- Know Your Goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your website. Is marketing or eCommerce? The vast majority of websites online are marketing sites which promote a company’s products and/or services. If you have a corporate site, its not unusual to build a separate eCommerce site. If you need your website to collect money and/or sell products online your web developer needs to know that up front. Generally, an eCommerce is inherently more complex and costly because of the security concerns and issues surround the processing of credit cards.
- Set a Budget: Have a budget in mind up front. Know much you are willing to spend on your website design project. This will help you narrow down your options when choosing a web design company. Provide the web developer your budget so they can come back to you with a realistic estimate. In general, large agencies with lots of staff and fancy buildings are going to charge a premium. Going with a smaller, well established web developer (like Cymax Media) can often get you more “bang for your buck.”
- Study Your Competition: Look up your competition and similar companies online. Not just in your state either. Study websites of similar firms. Look at those websites from two points of view: the content and the design. What web pages are valuable. What imagery and design features work best? Get inspired! Provide the web designer with one or two links to websites that you like and tell them what you like about them. A great web designer can use your feedback and information about competitors’ websites and make something that is both unique and even better-suited for your company.
- Focus on Your Customer’s Needs: The best marketing – including online marketing – is customer-concentric. Think about what will grab your customer’s interest and motivate them to call or email you. Then develop the website around their wants and needs.
- Research Several Web Design firms: Thanks to Google, this is easy to do. Look up a handful of web design companies online. Are they an established company? What is their history? Are they a company like Cymax Media that has been serving customers for over 20 years? Is their website attractive? Check the developer’s website portfolio to see if their design style matches your needs. Can they provide custom web design and fine tune your website to your needs? Read customer reviews from their previous clients. Before you hire them, call a couple of their clients. Keep in mind that a custom built website will provide a website and UX (user experience) which can be perfectly tailored to your customer’s needs and create a better user experience than an off-the-shelf DIY website template. Last but not least, can they help you with SEO? Many web design firms have no clue about SEO.
- Create a Punch List: Write a brief outline or have bullet points to touch on for your project requirements, goals, timeline, and budget. These bullet points will help you communicate your needs consistently with each of the potential web design companies and ensure they all understand your needs, budget and the scope of the project.
- Gather Content: Start gather the content and images you’ll want to include on your website. This includes text, photos, videos, and any other media you want to showcase on your website. You don’t need 100% of your content initially. It will take some time to build the website. Keep in mind that a talented web designer can be a BIG HELP in the design phase. You don’t need to overthink the design – unless you’re an expert at design yourself. At Cymax Media, we develop custom websites that are handcrafted to fit each of our customer’s style and taste. We often bring imagery and new design concepts to the table and provide options and choices for the customer to select from which make the design process fun and exciting for most of our clients.
- Think About Branding: Many of our clients overlook and undervalue the importance of their brand. Your logo should make a lasting impression! If you need help with a new logo or a logo redesign – Cymax Media can help you. We’ve built 100’s of logos. We can also help you with larger branding issues – such as brand identity, what type of “brand personality” do you want the website to embody, etc. Larger and more sophisticated companies may have branding guidelines, if so – make sure you share them with the web design company to ensure your website aligns with your brand identity.
- Prepare Questions (and be prepared to listen!): Similar to the Punch list (above), prepare a list of questions to ask the web design companies you contact to ensure they are a good fit for your project. Ask about their process, experience, skills, and pricing. Any healthy business relationship is a 2 way street. A talented web design firm will not only answer your questions but provide helpful answers and solutions on the spot and should have insightful questions of their own. Listen to their responses and questions – quite often you can learn from them during this process and consider whether they are a good match for you based on their apparent understanding of your project, communication skills and feedback they provide you.
Whether you’re a small business or a startup company, by preparing ahead and following these essential steps prior to hiring a web design company, you’ll be better equipped to communicate your needs and expectations, and make an informed decision about who to hire. Following these steps will help can ensure a successful project outcome. Of course, we would encourage you to contact Cymax Media about your new website design or redesign project and see how we can help you!