A strong online presence is crucial for the success of your business. In this age of digital solutions, most consumers first take a look at a product or service online before buying it. Whatever the size of your business, having a professionally created website will help you showcase your brand and will as well become a reference point to your potential clients. But, how do you find the right contractor and avoid the bad ones?
As you might have assumed, the first step to creating a successful company website, is finding a trusted, reputable, and professional web design agency that will be able to provide you with the needed services. You need a website that looks attractive, is fully functional, and adaptable to multiple platforms, among other things. There are many web design agencies out there today, so you will first have to spend some time looking for the one that you’d trust to create your website. Let’s take a look at the key factors you should be aware of, so you do not hire the wrong design company.
The Absence of Portfolio
Web design is widely considered a mixture of science and art, and it is. Therefore, it takes more than just believing in yourself and some Photoshop knowledge to create a professional website that contributes to your company’s success. A reliable web design agency will have a knack for spotting viable trends and design solutions. Moreover, a reputed company will have no problem presenting you with its portfolio. But, if you come across an agency that can’t or doesn’t want to provide its portfolio to you, that should sound an alarm in your brain. There could be two significant reasons for a web design agency not being able to show its portfolio to you, including:
- There is no portfolio whatsoever, and you are the agency’s first project. Although such companies can offer competitive rates for their services, it’s hazardous to trust your website design to an inexperienced and unproven agency;
- The company’s portfolio is full of terrible sites it has created for its previous customers.
Too High or Too Low Prices
Although the web design service niche has already been around for a while, there are no strict regulations as to what service providers charge their clients. In other words, companies and private contractors decide on their own what they want to charge for their services. If you see a web design agency go either extremely low or extremely high on its prices, this is a clear sign you shouldn’t deal with it. Reliable and reputable agencies check the prevailing rates on the market and then try to hit an average indicator to a certain extent.
You may want to remember the following things in terms of prices:
- Each web design agency has its tier (for example, dealing with small businesses, non-profit organizations, etc.);
- Professional agencies form their rates based on their portfolio, experience, and similar things. Either way, it’s important to discuss all the possible details and, if there’s a chance, meet the team in person before making a decision;
- The cost of the services you order will depend on the level of attractiveness, functionality, and security of your future site.
The Company Doesn’t Want to Make a Contract with You
Some people don’t consider the lack of a contract a big deal. However, no contract means there’s no guarantee you will get what you have seemingly agreed upon. Making a web design contract with an agency protects both you and the agency from significant issues and disputes in the future. That is, an unreliable web design agency will never offer you a contract, so you will never be sure that your project is going to be accomplished on time and meet the promised quality standards.
A good web design contract should include such things as:
- Pay rate or hourly rate for the work that is due;
- Final website cost and service breakdown;
- Revisions and edits as part of a verbal agreement;
- Clear expectations and technologies used for their achievement.
The Company Can’t Show Prototypes and Mockups
An unprofessional web design agency will do everything it can to not show you any mockups or prototypes and try to prevent you from asking for revisions upon project completion. The thing is, you must have an opportunity to review your website during various stages before its launch, so you can identify any issues and address them if needed.
Therefore, you can consider a web design agency inappropriate, if it can’t provide you with the following before the site’s launch:
- Website’s static mockup;
- Working prototype of the site;
- Final prototype (that looks just like the completed website before being launched).
You won’t get any clear explanations in an understandable language from a poor web design agency. A professional and reputable design company will be able to talk to you in regular terms that you can understand so that you can make your own conclusions. But, what if the company representative only speaks in professional jargon when communicating with you? If you keep dealing with such an agency, the chances are high that you’ll end up with vague expectations and vision which can ultimately fuel doubts and result in a failed project. When talking to the agency representative, ask relevant questions that will help you evaluate their communication skills before you hire them.
Here are some of the questions you may consider:
- What makes a website attractive?
- How will the site emphasize my company’s top products/services?
- What are the critical web design skills your team possesses?
- What is your design process?
- Why do you charge so much for your services?
The Bottom Line
As a business owner and future website owner, you have to make sure your site will look great, have all the needed functions, have simple navigation, load fast, and work on multiple platforms (desktop and mobile). By following the tips described in this article, you will be able to protect yourself, your company, and your budget from hiring an incompetent agency and instead employ a team of professionals, who will provide you with adequate assistance.