Choosing a Web Design Agency: 5 Questions to Ask
Can I Contact References?
Seeing samples of the web design company’s work is a given, but references are another must. Websites themselves, after all, show only one part of the picture. A company could provide a great website, yet former clients might explain that they can be difficult to get in contact with when changes are needed. Make sure you get an idea of the reference’s experience during and after the design period.
What Do You Think of My Current Site, and What are Some Main Changes You Would Make?
The market is saturated with web developers and designers, but that doesn’t mean all of them know what they’re doing. A company that is relatively inexperienced -- or worse, experienced in crafting cookie-cutter designs that do nothing for specific client needs -- won’t be able to give you a lot of specific feedback here and will likely try and continually refer to their previous work.
What is Your Design Agency Doing to be Mobile Friendly?
Responsive design -- or web design that adapts to the device the user is on -- is extremely important in 2016. Why? Mobile traffic has been continually on the rise, and as of 2014 there were more people around the world accessing the internet through mobile than through desktop. You need a website that is flexible -- it needs to look good and be easy and quick to use no matter if the user is on a tablet or an iPhone.
How Will You Bill Me?
There are two main ways that design firms bill companies: either a flat rate for the entire project, or an hourly fee. There’s no right “fee structure” and there are benefits to both (flat rate: you won’t be stuck endlessly paying for the project. Hourly: it’s easier for the company to be responsive as you go along and evaluate the progress. Designers won’t feel a need to rush simply to meet an arbitrary timeline). On a related note, you’ll want to ask how often their project do go over budget, as well as what fees companies might pay for upkeep after the major design work is finished and the website is up and running (will they be hosting the website, for example?).
How Do You Ensure Website Security?
As Roundhouse points out, website security should always be a top concern for online companies. Consumers don’t trust websites that look less-than-secure, and if you ever have a data breach it can be incredibly bad for business -- just look at Target. The time to update your website is now, but that doesn’t mean you should go into the process completely blind. Ask these 5 questions -- and come up with some of your own -- in order to find a great web designer for your project.