3 Best Practices for Choosing a Web Design Firm
You’ve decided that you or your company needs a new website.
One of the first things you do is ask around your network for a recommendation. Then you begin researching potential firms. Next, you narrow your list of possible agencies, but how do you know if the ones on your list are best for your business?
There are many things to consider, such as does the design styles of the agencies reflect the style you’re looking for? Do the features they offer match your requirements? Is the firm available to meet your timeline?
In addition to these common questions, there are other questions that should be considered when looking for a firm to design and build your website. This includes the agencies’ communication styles, support, and more.
Building a great website goes beyond the actual work. In fact, since your website is often the face of your business, getting it right means looking for a firm that will act more like a partner to your business than simply a design agency.
A build and run approach doesn’t work out in the end. You need an agency that does more; one that takes the time to understand your long-term goals and that follows through.
For this reason, I’ve put together three areas of advice when it comes to seeking out a website design firm.
Find a firm that listens
The client-agency relationship flows both ways. In order for a project to be a success, clients need to find an agency that listens. To clarify, when I say “listen” I don’t just mean gaining an understanding of what the project should look like or how it should work, etc., but an agency that takes an interest in learning about your goals, your needs, what your vision is and why.
While every project may have a clear end goal, agencies should ask questions that get the client to discuss the “why” of the site.
This is akin to asking someone “how is your emotional state today” instead of a simple “how are you?” One provokes a deeper, more meaning response. Agencies should take the same approach.
Find a firm that challenges you
In addition to listening and learning what your needs are as a client, a firm should challenge you by asking questions and following up. Are you requesting a portfolio to be added to your site? If so, what are your goals around the portfolio? Are you hoping to have a site designed that will bring more people to your business? Can you handle an increase in business? Are you prepared for the outcome of the project?
Great firms will ask questions that challenge your plans and goals around your own work and that may even cause you to consider things you may not have yet considered when it comes to your website presence.
Find a firm for the long term
There are small firms and designers out there who design and build websites and then hand them over to their clients. As a results, many of these sites sit stagnant and don’t end up meeting the long-term goals of the client.
I’ve had clients who needed to hire me to fulfill the work that a previous designer did, and then left them without anyone to makes updates or perform site maintenance.
When seeking a firm to build your website, find one that is in it for the long haul and who will build a relationship with you and your business for the sake of seeing their work through. As website build should last a few years at least, your firm should stick around for the life of the site.
Seeking out a firm to design, build and develop your next website can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to. Look for an agency that will take the time to understand your business, its goals and demands, as well as the “why” and “how” of your business. By doing so, you’ll save yourself a lot of extra work and gain a business partner at the same time.
At Acme Design, we don’t looking for opportunities. We look for problems and we solve those problems for our clients. What problem are you working to solve?