When you have a need that takes you to the market for a web designer, confusion might be one of the challenges you face. This is because many have studied web design professionally and there are others who are self-taught. Both continue flooding the profession. Consequently, choosing the right web designer or design agency can be a daunting task, all the more so with several claiming to offer the best services. This is why you need to find out how to choose a web designer from the growing sea of competition.
Bear in mind that your business is unique and it needs a distinct website. Therefore, you need to look for a web designer or design agency capable of creating a custom website that makes a mark for itself. The designer/agency you choose determines the quality of the website you get, which is why you need to approach the process with caution.
Here are the most important aspects that require your attention when you’re sifting through the top web design companies or designers to select one that suits you best.
Establish Your Needs
The first step in selecting a web designer or a web design agency is to identify your specific requirements. You may get on the way by answering a few simple questions.
- What type of website do you need? For example, do you need an informational or eCommerce website?
- Will your website have just a few or a large number of pages?
- Do you want your website to have any particular functionality?
- Do you only need help with your website’s design and development, or are you looking for additional services as well?
- How much are you willing to spend?
- Are there any websites that you like and wish to draw inspiration from?
Pay Attention to Pricing
When it comes to how to choose a web designer, the budget you set aside is important because money goes right to the heart of the issue. The cost of creating a website may vary greatly depending on your specific requirements. What’s important is to ensure that you pay the right price and get value for every dollar you spend.
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Web design is not cheap so don’t expect to pay peanuts. This is because, if some of the worst web designs are anything to go by, that’s exactly what you might get. Don’t pay an exorbitant amount either, because while not dirt-cheap, web design is not as expensive as launching a rocket. The cost essentially depends on what you want from your website and the level of expertise you seek.
Consider the Level of Experience
There are scores of web designers and web design agencies offering their services online, which is why looking for specific qualities will help you choose the best of the lot. It’s a good idea to work with experienced designers but it’s even better if they have experience in your industry. More often than not, working with a web design company as opposed to an individual web designer is the ideal way to go. This is because the former brings more collective experience and expertise to the table.
Narrowing down on web design companies that have created websites in your line of work ensures that you deal with professionals who have relevant experience. This is because the design agency you select will know what’s important for your website and understand the audience you wish to attract.
Remember that even a single successful project in your line of work might make a web design agency a potential candidate. In most cases, selecting a designer or agency with no experience in your industry might result in many back-and-forth edits.
What About Technical Experience?
While this might sound like a no-brainer, it’s crucial that you select a web design agency that knows what it takes to create user-friendly websites capable of attracting the desired organic traffic. Bear in mind that web design technology continues to evolve, and even Google’s algorithms are a long way from being static. It’s for this very reason that the top web design companies keep adapting to the latest in technology and trends.
Data released by Statista shows that more than 90% of the world’s internet population (around 4.32 billion people) makes use of mobile devices to access the internet. As a result, it’s imperative that the web design company you select should be adept at creating responsive websites that work equally well across all types of devices and screen sizes.
Static HTML websites no longer make the cut, so it’s important that you partner with a web design agency that knows how to work with a content management system (CMS). If you’re wondering what the best CMS for business websites is, WordPress is the preferred choice of most. Web designers and agencies use this CMS to create a wide range of websites, from simple blogs to extensive eCommerce platforms.
The designer or design agency you select should also ensure that your website relies on a good user interface (UI) and delivers a great user experience (UX).
Methods, Knowledge, and Strategies
Regardless of the means you use to find a web design agency, it’s important that you learn about its methodology, knowledge, and strategy. If it struggles to explain these, chances are you might encounter various challenges along the way. Professional designers do not hesitate to explain the steps they follow to ensure that your website carries your ideas and delivers results along expected lines.
Experts who can tell you what they know, how they work, and what their plans are for the successful implementation of your project are most likely to give you exactly what you want and more.
Take a Look at Portfolios
While you may hire a web designer who is just starting out, you could be gambling with the project. Beginners might be talented but one of the key qualities you need to look for is experience (backed by a good track record). That said, it’s a smart move to narrow down on agencies that can show you portfolios containing the work they’ve handled for previous clients. This way, you’re in a better position to determine who qualifies to work on your project as well as the best fit.
Portfolios don’t have to be flashy; they just need to be a collection of links that showcases their work. Going through a portfolio gives you a chance to ask questions related to the choices an agency has made in relation to certain layouts and the overall design. If the portfolio is impressive, it might serve as an indication that you’re going to have an easy time working with the design agency and be satisfied with the end product.
Seek Designers Who Go That Extra Mile
Just about every web designer or agency you shortlist will want to discuss your goals, needs, and budget. However, you should ideally look for an agency that acknowledges and understands your expertise. This is because you know your business best, and while a web design agency needs to recognize this, it also needs to determine how it can help you achieve your goals in a time-bound manner.
It’s important to look beyond a web agency that simply says “yes” to all your requirements and does not offer any suitable ideas of its own. Ideally, you should partner with an agency that’s confident in its skills and expertise, and does not hesitate to go that extra mile in creating a website that surpasses your expectations.
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When it comes to what to look for in a web designer, focus on finding one who is able to think out of the box and bring new and exciting ideas to life. In addition, given that your experience, observations, and opinions will help differentiate your business from its competition, you need to partner with someone who puts your input to good use.
Think About the Services You Need
It is possible for a web design professional or company to offer other digital services. Some of them give you complete packages that include web design, web development, content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and more. These are services that most website owners typically need, and getting them under one roof is great.
These packages tend to work positively in creating a website by following a holistic approach. When working with individual web designers, it’s likely that your options are limited since they might not be in a position to offer such packages. This means solo web design freelancers will usually give you exactly what their job title says, web design.
Is Website Maintenance a Factor?
Many web design agencies offer maintenance services after the launch of the websites they create. These services ensure that your website keeps working properly and that you and your target audience don’t face any major problems. Ask the design agency you narrow down on if it provides web maintenance services after it completes the design and development of your website. In most cases, solo web designers don’t provide this service.
Use Requests for Proposals
If you think that any of the web designers or web design agencies you shortlist fall short on the communication front, don’t bother contacting them again. Send the others your request for proposal (RFP). An RFP refers to a document that businesses use to inform potential vendors and contractors about a particular project with the aim of soliciting bids. Upon receiving bids, the issuer of the RFP may compare costs, scope, and overall fit based on information provided by the bidding parties.
Creating an RFP for a web design project requires paying attention to different aspects. These essentially help highlight the reason for the request as well as the desired outcome. In addition, you need to ensure that you answer all queries accurately and in a timely manner. If you feel that other members of your team are better equipped to answer any particular questions, get them to do the needful.
The usual components that find their way into web design RPFs include:
- Background about your business
- Your web design goals (increase brand awareness, build a strong online presence, generate more leads, improve user experience, etc.)
- Examples of websites you find inspirational
- A statement of work (SOW) that highlights your project’s scale and scope
- A timeline for submitting responses to the RFP
- A timeline for completing the project
- Contact details to answer inquiries
Benefits of an RFP
The effective use of a good RFP gives you the ability to collect proposals from multiple web designers and web design agencies. This lets you compare them across different parameters so you may select one that suits your requirements the best. The process also helps you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of potential web designers and agencies without needing to carry out in-depth research about them on your own. In addition, by outlining the scope and scale of the project along with your budget in your RFP, designers and design agencies know what to expect before submitting their proposals.
Determine Reasonability of Contracts
To protect your investment, you should work with an agency that provides a suitable contract. It’s crucial that you read the contract before signing it because you might be getting into a deal you may not like later. Read between the lines and make sure it stipulates deliverables, payments, and contingencies in case there are unexpected problems.
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Reflect on Your Own Confidence
At the end of it all, you know your business better than others. This means that the confidence you have helps determine the designer you choose. If you fall in love with the work of a web design agency and think it has what it takes to deliver, choose it because your gut feeling may well be right.
No matter how long a list of web designers or web design agencies you might have, selecting the one that suits your needs best requires paying attention to different aspects. For example, while your budget plays an important role in the decision-making, taking a look at the proficiency levels of potential candidates is equally crucial.
Bear in mind that, like most other things in life, you typically get what you pay for when it comes to web design, so there might be better options than cutting corners on this front. Consequently, if you want your website to deliver desired results, you should ideally look at what the top web design companies have to offer.