Last time, we talked about defining what you’d like to accomplish with your website, from outlining your needs to deciding on budget. The next step is to find someone to clearly hear, understand, expand upon, and execute your ideas. There are generally four ways you can go about choosing a designer or website design company to build your website:
- Contact a referral from someone you know and trust.
- Snag a designer whose work you’ve seen on another site.
- Scour the Internet with key search words.
- Respond to an advertisement or solicitation.
There’s no one “right” way to find a reputable website design firm or social media marketing agency. Once you’ve completed your initial worksheet (see our last blog post for a three-step worksheet) that outlines what you need to accomplish, we suggest that you interview a minimum of two website design agencies to see who can add value and zing! to your ideas.
Consider these questions when selecting companies or freelance web designers to interview:
Is personal interaction important for you during the development phases of your website?
You’ll be able to slash millions of choices from your search if your preference is to work with a local design company or freelance developer. Additionally, laying eyes on the development team does bring many people a certain peace of mind about their project. If the design team lives and works in the same geographic circles, there seems to be a stronger sense of accountability and access. There’s also a chance to develop a trust factor because it removes anonymity from the equation.
If you’ve scoured the web, you’ll also find that you can farm the work out overseas, generally at lower rates. If you choose this option, try to go with a freelancer or company who has done good work for someone you know, speaks and writes fluently in your desired language, and will deliver your product and passwords prior to your submitting a final substantial payment, as many U.S. business-centered laws will not protect you internationally if someone under-delivers or walks away with your money.
What is the condition or state of other websites this firm is responsible for developing and providing upkeep?
Of course a disproportionate number of people request references and then never actually follow up with a phone call or email. Why not? One of the best representations of a company is its past and present work. Check out a company’s portfolio and ask them whom you can contact directly to ask a few questions.
How quickly and thoroughly does the company respond to your requests for information during this hiring phase?
You can tell a lot about a company by how it handles potential customers. If they are too busy to answer your questions and help you feel comfortable and confident about your hiring decisions, what would cause you to believe their levels of availability and concern would increase once you’ve hired them? Companies tell you a lot without even trying. We would encourage you to pay attention to this vetting process and follow your instincts.
Next up, we take a look at how you can manage your website design process without hindering the company’s progress for you.