Choosing the right web design agency for your business can be tricky. The internet is bursting with web designers from all over the world that range from startup one-man-bands to established award-winning agencies. A simple Google search throws up a whopping 1.8 million results for “web designer” alone! Do you go with the established and reliable agencies, or take the risk on a newer designer with fresher ideas? How do you know which partner will get the results you’re looking for?
Fear not, here are our top 7 tips to help you choose the right web designer.
What is web design and what do web designers do?
Let’s start with the basics. Before you start choosing a web designer it always pays to understand exactly what they do so you know what to look for. Although referred to as ‘designers’, web design is not all about mood boards and colour samples. Of course, aesthetics and building a website that looks great plays a principal role in web design, but that’s only one part of a multifaceted, specialist service that aims to support your whole business online.
Web designers have the technical know-how and skills to build websites that are user-friendly, mobile responsive, secure and optimised for search engines. Good web designers also strategically design sites to guide people through the buying process, and they ensure sites connect seamlessly with other online marketing channels such as social media and e-mail.
Web designer versus web developer
Given the all-encompassing nature of designing a website, some firms split the task across two roles – a web designer to do the visual, graphic design, and a web developer to do the technical coding and building of the website. Having said that, most web designers have web development skills, and in some agencies, the whole process of design and development may be managed by one super talented person.
Tips for choosing the right web design agency
1. Consider your website requirements
The first thing you need to do is decide what your business needs are. Do you need an ecommerce site? Do you want to allow online bookings? How many pages do you need? If you have lots of products, how would you like to organise them? etc. etc. You can do some competitor benchmarking for inspiration or look at similar businesses. This may seem a little daunting, but don’t worry, a good web design agency will help you through this process as getting the brief right from the get-go will ultimately save money and get you better results.
2. Decide on your budget
Before you start approaching web designers, it’s important to establish a bit of a budget so you know what you can afford. As we mentioned before, there’s a lot of choice and pricing can vary significantly. Given the bespoke nature of web design, many designers won’t publish pricing on their sites, so you will need to approach them with an outline of your initial requirements to get a cost indication. If you get a price that is out of your range, you can always discuss how to scale back your project to get a more achievable price point. It’s important to manage your expectations though and bear in mind the Good Fast Cheap principle. Even the best web designers will only be able to deliver on 2 of these aspects in one project, so decide on your priorities.
3. Look at their portfolio and results
Most professional designers will have a web design portfolio of previous work on their websites, so you can browse and see if you like their work. Look out for ideas or approaches that you like and see if you recognise any of the brands/businesses featured. Click through and browse around the previous client’s site to see how it feels as a user too.
A good web designer will build a site that’s tailored to your brand requirements, so look for variety in their designs. If everything looks same-same, then you’ll get the same-same too.
And keep your eyes peeled for concrete results. Web design agencies with a proven track record may publish facts and figures to show how their designs have boosted previous clients’ businesses e.g. increases in visitor numbers, reduced bounce rates, improved load times, increases in sales and even return on investment.
4. Read reviews and testimonials
Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients as most established designers will have these. And it’s better to consult independent sites like Google My Business and other review sites because simple quotations on a web page can easily be faked. Also, research the clients’ names to check they are legitimate businesses and take a look at their website while you’re there. You can always check out the web designer’s social media profiles as well for star ratings, comments, etc. As a completely open forum, social media can give you an insight into how a business is perceived.
5. Get advice from friends, family and other businesses
Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Ask friends and family if they know of a web designer as it’s always good to work with someone with a proven track record. And you can talk to other local businesses too to see who they use. You can also browse the internet for websites that you like the look of. Most designers will be credited in the footer of a site with a link back so you can find their details quickly and easily.
6. Give them a call or email
There’s no better way to get to know a business than to simply get in touch. Pick up the phone or drop them an email. What vibe do you get? How’s their customer service? Do they seem like people you could work with? If you get all the good feels after your initial contact, follow up with a video call or visit to get to know them better and discuss your needs in more detail.
7. Look for a balanced approach
All web designers know how to make an attractive design, but not all will have the skills and experience to consider the overall bigger picture. Your website is the pinnacle of all your online marketing (and even sometimes your offline marketing too). Your site needs to work together with multiple elements from search engines to social media to ultimately drive sales. So it’s important to look for a web designer that has a strong understanding of the overall process, and one that can support your business online – not simply build a website.
Searching for a web designer?
There you have it, 7 tips to help you choose the right web designer for your business.
And if you need some inspiration, check out some of our websites now. Here at Solve, we’ve been in the web design business for over 20 years and have lots of happy clients that like to rave about our service on Google. We provide a holistic approach to web design, ensuring that our sites are optimised for SEO, fast, user-friendly, well maintained and hosted securely. And our results are proven. One of our recent site redesign projects resulted in a 369% increase in conversion rate!
If you’d like to know more about how we can support your business online, get in touch with the web design wizz kids at Solve today.