MKS Web Design
MKS Web Design - Kansas Web Design

Selecting The Right Web Designer

Written by Anthony Richter
Posted on May 7, 2019

What are the key factors to consider when selecting the right web designer?

This seems like a general question. I don’t think it needs to be. Here are some things I would recommend looking for:

1. Does the company have an excellent website itself? Does their website provide easy access to their portfolio and the websites they have developed? Is there plenty of information that is easy to find about their services, their expertise, and what they specialize in? As dumb as this seems, if the web design company doesn’t have a great website, you have to question their ability to produce an excellent website for you.

2. Does the company provide a strong design portfolio on its website? The best way to see how good a website design and development company is – is to look at their work. Do they have a good portfolio – do they explain the different industries they develop for and identify the features involved with their portfolio. Moreover, do you like the websites in their portfolio?

3. Does the company offer expertise in multiple disciplines? This should include graphic & web design, web marketing, web development & computer programming, web hosting & management, and business development. It would help if you were looking for a company that will collaborate with you from the start of the project to web hosting & support.

Does that mean hiring a large company with many different people who have these skill sets?

Not at all – but you want to make sure you have a complete understanding of the team that will develop your website and have the necessary skill sets. It generally takes at least two people, in my opinion, to ensure a great website. You should have a dedicated designer and developer and then at least one other person managing the entire process (Project Manager and Customer Relations). When you consider how subjective graphic design can be, it is always a good idea to have the client, the web designer, and the project manager all working together during the design process.

The designer and developers’ primary jobs are producing the best possible design and then successfully developing and implementing that website. Their focus should be particular. A project manager helps keep the development on track and looks at areas such as hosting, management, support, training, and domain names. You also want this process to be mean and lean – and within your budget and time frames – so look specifically at the team that will build your website and makes sure they can deliver.

Other key points to consider are:

4. Does the company offer Web Hosting and Management? Beware of companies that sell you on the best website designs – and then look you in the eye and state – “You can host your website anywhere….”. This is a sure sign that this company does not see your company’s role once the website is launched. They don’t see you as a long-term relationship – and they are there to design and run.

5. Will the company meet or conference call to discuss your business in detail? You want a web design company with a collaborative approach to your website – teaming up with you to produce a successful outcome. It is unlikely that filling out a quick application form online and a “we will be back to you shortly with your quote” is going to cut it. Your website is an extension of your business and marketing models, and collaboration is required to successfully incorporate that into a website.

6. Will the company provides client referrals for design, development, hosting, and management? Speak to the web design company’s new client(s) and discuss the design and development experience. Then contact an existing client to discuss hosting and support experiences. This should give you a good feel for whether the company is right for you.

7. Will the company provide you with a detailed proposal/quote? This should include hourly billing rates, specific breakdowns of the project, timelines for tasks to be completed, and should consist of domain setup and registration, and hosting. The proposal should cover from the start of the project to annual hosting, support, and training.

You seem pretty passionate about this. Care to elaborate?

MKS Web Design provides fixed pricing on all our proposals and quotes. We are passionate about delivering a client’s website on budget and on time.

I think a web development project can go south before it even gets started, pending the proposal and quotes you have in place. I cannot imagine how many businesses have entered into a web development project and not got fixed costs and guaranteed timelines. Months later and thousands of dollars spent, the client still hasn’t got the website they want – and worse – the web design company doesn’t host websites – so now the website’s full responsibility falls back to the client.

The proposals and quotes don’t have to be pages of agreements to be effective. They must cover all aspects of the web project – hourly billing rate, specific development tasks, time involved, hosting and domain name setup, and training. You want to cover everything, and you want to have a guaranteed cost on these tasks. Moreover, if things need changing – if the first sample designs don’t meet your expectations – what happens – who pays for extra project work. All these items must be clear before you commence your new website.

8. Do you feel you can get communication effectively with the company? This should be established in your inquiry calls, meetings, and proposal/quote process. Your website is such an essential part of your business, and in many cases, it will be part of your daily business operations. Do you feel confident you can pick up the phone for support or analysis discussions with this company in these cases?

9. Can the company identify bright units of measure to track the success of your website? This is an area that is often overlooked. What are the most critical parameters to the website – is it overall traffic (unique visitors), or is it specifically the e-commerce dollars generated or prospects established. It may be a combination of each – but your website’s measurement should not be based purely on “it looks nice” – it should be based on statistics – so make sure the design company has a strong knowledge of websites.

10. Does the development include training for your CMS Website? I have seen several web design companies stating “how easy” it is to update your website content with a CMS system. Of course, this statement is generally written by an industry-based professional – and although the CMS systems are reasonably straightforward to use – always ask about training – does the design company provide users manuals. Establish whether the web design company has the heart of a teacher in their approach to working with you.

In summary, there are some excellent questions that you can ask when researching a web design and development company. Look for a company with a long-term view of your relationship, which will help guarantee your long-term success and satisfaction. Stay clear of the design and run companies and make sure your development has a fixed budget. Ask plenty of questions, and make sure you find a company that you feel comfortable communicating with!

menuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram