Hiring a web designer or an agency is one of the most important parts of expanding your business. Startups and SMEs have a lot of hurdles to avoid at the start of their life, and a designer can help leave them in the dust. From integrating new technologies to utilizing SEO, the right one will ensure you stand out from the crowd. In an industry where 600,000 new companies are starting up each year, it’s essential to grab people’s attention. That way, you may have a chance at avoiding the 50% rate of failure and make it into the second term.
Like the industry itself, the web design sector is crowded and choosing a suitable partner is tough. Although you need to do it, you’re not sure where to start or what to look for in an organization and that’s problematic. Pick poorly and you’ll end up regretting the decision for a very long time as your website is the virtual brand, the flagship of the company. Everything is based on its effectiveness, so there’s a lot of pressure riding on this one decision.
Thankfully, there’s no need to make this journey alone. Below you’ll find six of the best tips to make sure that the web agency and design team you pick is of the highest quality. Scroll down to find out more.
Lean On Your Contacts
As always, there is an urge to consult the oracle of all knowledge when you need an answer: Google. With one click of a button or a flick of a wrist, you’ll find millions of results which all relate to web design. It’s a quick and straightforward way to learn more about the topic yet it’s flawed. For one thing, it’s the same as taking a step back if you have no idea how to differentiate between the services on offer. Secondly, it’s tempting to let the search engine do the work and not do your due diligence. Did you know that 75% of all users never scroll past the first page of Google’s SERP?
Rather than a random results page on a search engine, it’s better to ask around for a recommendation as there are multiple benefits. Firstly, you trust their opinion as you know they are legitimate business people with a wealth of knowledge. Plus, you can see the results for yourself by visiting their website. Secondly, your contact can make an introduction so that you can meet face-to-face and gauge their products and services. Face-to-face recommendations influence more than 80% of purchases.
A good tip for Googlers is to use the search engine to assist you in the “finding help” stage. Lots of virtual influencers exist and you can sort the men from the boys by using reviews and forums.
Confirm Your Suspicions
Once a friend puts you on the right track, the last thing you should do is treat their word as the gospel of God. The truth is that they are an excellent resource yet don’t understand the needs and wants of the company. Therefore, it’s imperative to confirm everything you read and hear by checking it out for yourself and making an informed decision. Meeting in person is a fantastic technique which you are already aware of, but there are more on the table.
Probably the most accessible and straightforward is to analyze their work. To stand out from the crowd, designers produce a web design portfolio which showcases their talents that is available to everyone. Usually, it’s available on their website with links to previous jobs. Of course, it’s not hard to cherry pick the best results and put them out there, which is why you need to go one step further. Take the names of as many previous customers and clients as possible, call them, and ask them for their unbiased opinion. How was the service? Did they deliver on time? What about the cost?
By doing some extra digging, you can make sure the results are published in context by securing their impartial view. Not to sound cynical, but some agencies will gladly lead you on to generate leads and boost their conversion rate.
Know Your Site
Okay, it’s tough to know it inside and out when you aren’t sure how it will look or operate. That’s the whole reason you’re hiring a web designer in the first place. Still, it’s vital to understand the basics before signing on the dotted line. With this information, you can tailor the search and pick a team or individual with specialist knowledge and experience in the area.
Think of web design like medicine or the law: it’s a broad spectrum. On the one hand, there is the aesthetics to worry about because every platform needs to be good looking. However, it also needs to be navigable and that’s where problems can arise. By incorporating features such as social media widgets and advertising, it may impact performance. And, that’s without mentioning the eCommerce aspect if your site isn’t merely information-based. Considering it’s a $2.3 million industry with an expected growth rate of 15% each year, you will want a slice.
In that case, the smart move is to opt for a designer who understands the nuances of an online store. Then, you’ll be able to rely on subtle and direct calls to action to boost sales and make more conversions. The moral of the story is to pick a specialist in the relevant area, and the only way to do that is to know what your site is about beforehand.
Create A Vision Board
If you’re not sure what you want from your site, there is only one option: flesh it out. Your mind is a powerful tool yet it isn’t infallible and ideas can come and go in a flash. By putting them down on paper or a computed powered software program, they’ll never dissipate into thin air. Plus, 65% of people, adults, and children, are visual learners and react best to visual stimuli so a vision board can make it seem concrete.
Start by listing the things that are non-negotiable. For example, it may include a range of colors and fonts that you think help make the brand relatable. Also, you should consider including social media accounts, multimedia such as video, and brand awareness. Your logo, as well as the company name, should be present and very conspicuous when people land on the page. Next, write down the stuff which is important but not essential. Finally, finish with the features that you think are cool but you are happy to omit if they are too much hassle.
What you will have is a vision board that dictates the agenda of your search. Designers who aren’t able to meet your demands should be dismissed and you should choose one that is capable of delivering. You can use a traditional vision board or virtual ones are available too.
Set Your Budget
As always, money is a vital factor because you must know how much money you are going to spend. Not only do you want to keep the costs low, but you also don’t want to opt for an underpriced service. Often, the price is low because they are overcompensating for their lack of skill and experience.
One thing that is inevitable is a bump in costs. Site estimates aren’t on the money and they are a rough guide. Therefore, try and save a little extra, between 5 and 10%, to cover the spread. Also, be truthful with yourself and the designer. People don’t like putting their options on the table as they are scared of being exploited. However, it’s impossible to offer a valuation without a thorough understanding of the job. Remember there are dozens of services so you should consult your plan.
Finally, reach out to other websites and ask them for tips and recommendations. When you find one you love, don’t be afraid to send them an email and inquire about the designer. Not only will you generate a lead, but they will enjoy the compliment and should be happy to pass on the details.
The last thing you should do is hire a third-party and not speak to them until the deadline is almost over. It’s a lazy and incompetent way of dealing with an issue that will have a major impact on the company’s future success. The key is to communicate, so you must choose a partner that is easy to reach and explains things in a clear and concise manner.
A basic test is to call them on a different number. If they know it’s you, the firm may answer to make sure they secure your custom and then act differently later on. Using a new number will give you an insight into their attitude and work ethic as a whole. Also, don’t forget about the various tools that are available too. As well as a phone number and email address, you want to be able to contact them on Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook.
Ask them about their Google Docs and Dropbox accounts too so that you can transfer copy, images, and videos.
Hopefully, the above will help you find a designer that is the perfect fit for your business’ needs.