Choosing a website design company is by no means an easy task. The market is full of new and established companies, all with different price brackets that are fighting to get your hard earned cash.
So what can you do to make sure you pick the right one? As with anything you are taking a bit of a chance, but the great thing about web companies is that they should have some sort of a reputation, which with some of these techniques you can investigate and use to your advantage.
1.)Check Their Portfolio
A portfolio is a web company’s demonstration of their previous work. This will usually show all of their websites that they have designed and built. Be careful to analyse these, check for bugs, speed issues and general overall standard of the website.
2.)What Do Their Existing Clients Think?
It’s vital to find out as much information as possible on the potential company. Scour review websites like Trust Pilot and search for reviews on the company. Try searches like “company name reviews” and you should be able to get some results back depending on the size of the company.
3.)Do They Outsource Their Work?
This is a common occurrence in many web design companies at the moment. The sales are all done locally, i.e. in the United Kingdom and all of the support, design and development work is outsourced to countries like India, Romania and Lithuania.
It’s not essential that they don’t do this, but often if the support is outsourced, it can be time consuming because of the language barrier when your explaining things.
More importantly, if they outsource their design and development work, this means that their costs will be a lot lower. This is due to the lower cost of employment in lesser established countries.
Barter with them and use this as justification for a price decrease. Only if you think it is appropriate.
4.)What Support Do You Get?
From time to time problems will inevitably arise and you will need to change the text for a link or alter an image. Make sure that the company states clearly what will count as support and what will be paid work. Also, make sure that you know how many hours that you will get from your support agreement with them.
5.)What is the chain of command?
When a problem arises and you need to speak to someone in charge, it is reassuring that you can pick up the phone and speak to them directly without having to wait for an email response. Find out who is responsible for issues related to support, payment and hosting etc and how you can contact them should there be any problems.
6.)Make Sure You Agree All Work Before Paying A Penny
Once you decide on your chosen web company, make sure that you receive a full website specification that will list every little part of functionality and design in the website. If you are not happy with it or there is something missing, discuss this with them. If they won’t include it or alter it, take your business elsewhere.
7.)Find Out What Happens If You Want To Terminate Your Agreement With Them.
It may be possible that your company expands massively and you decide to move the website to an in-house service within your company. Find out what their terms are and any costs involved if you decide to do this further down the line.
8.)What Happens If The Website Goes Down Or A Problem Arises Over The Weekend?
Most web companies only operate during the working week (Monday – Friday), but as you will probably be aware, websites operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Make sure that you know what will happen should your website go down or a critical problem arises out of hours and at weekends.
9.)Don’t Pay Everything At Once
This is a huge point. Whatever you do, do not pay for all of the website build upfront. If something goes wrong during the build process, you could loose your money.
Web companies will usually ask you to complete the payment in stages during the build cycle. Usual payments are half upfront and half on completion.
You could be using this website for your business for a very long time. Therefore it’s critical to make the write decision to pick the company that is right for you. If a company is charging low prices, this does not necessarily mean that they are a company of poor quality. Likewise, if a company charges high prices, this does not necessarily make their websites perfect.
Take your time and do plenty of research.