No matter what size enterprise you run, learning how to choose a web design company is critical. While agencies may purport to offer similar services, no two outfits are the same. And, because of this, the gulf in quality can be enormous.
In this post, we explore how to choose a web design company, including what you should look for in a designer, and what should be included in the price. Read on to learn more.
Find a designer that offers value for money
Shady web designers may provide you with an upfront quote for “basic” web design services. But these often only offer the bare minimum. Because of this, you find yourself continually forking out cash for additional elements during the project that you didn’t anticipate beforehand.
By contrast, quality web design services include the following service features upfront:
- A predefined minimum number of custom pages
- Enhanced security optimization
- Quality and highly compatible CMS, such as WordPress
- Performance optimisation
- Hosting included
- Specific services for different types of websites, such as professional service pages and e-commerce websites
- Client portals with project tracking
- Transparent billing
Look for web designers that offer examples of case studies on their websites
High-quality web designers do great work. Because of this, many take the opportunity to list case studies on their websites, showing you the kind of results you can expect if you work with them.
Benefits of this approach include:
- Being able to view examples of websites completed by the agency that are similar to what you want
- Seeing the overall level of quality that they offer
- Determining whether their style is compatible with your branding requirements.
Find designers with a proven track record of success
High-quality web designers make robust, measurable claims on their websites detailing how they help their customers. They might list their average return on investment or other business-related metrics, such as improvements in sales volumes.
Confident web designers will also display testimonials on their sites, demonstrating the benefits customers experience by using their services. Look for reviews that prove the benefits of using the provider both short- and long-term.
Check that they charge reasonable prices
In the past, creating a bespoke website cost tens of thousands of pounds. Today, though, prices have come down considerably. Therefore, any web designer you choose should offer reasonable rates. If they don’t, it could be an indication that they are using outdated methods or simply trying to boost their margins.
Here’s a rundown of how much you should expect to pay for a website, depending on its size:
- Small website: One-page, custom-designed websites built on standard platforms should cost you around £400, including hosting fees and VAT.
- Medium websites: Medium-sized websites with up to 10 custom-designed pages should cost around £699 and include security features, hosting, and CMS functionality built-in
- Large website: Large websites containing dozens of pages and features should cost between £1300 and £2500. They should offer unlimited custom pages, payment gateway integration (for eCommerce sites), business-grade security, and performance tuning.
Unfortunately, you may pay significantly more than this if you are not careful when choosing your provider. Some web design agencies will apply complex cost structures, breaking down prices into subcategories, such as agency rates, hosting costs (usually chargers per month or per year), security costs, maintenance and support fees, and so on. Total costs for these services can range from £4,000 to £60,000 upfront, and from £30 to £2,000 ongoing, depending on who you use.
Find an agency that’s been around for a long time
The website design industry has low barriers to entry. Practically anyone can set up a company and start selling design services online. Licences, training, and accreditation are not required.
Because of this, there are thousands of agencies operating across the nation and quality can vary significantly. Some outfits are exceptionally good at what they do, while others are just looking to make money fast.
In a market like this, how long a web design agency has been around is a good indicator of service quality. Due to the market’s competitive nature, it is hard for low-quality firms to survive and thrive long-term. Only companies offering genuinely beneficial services continue operating for years on end.
Know your timeline and budget
Before you approach a web designer, you should write down your timeline and budget. Then, when approaching web design companies, you should quote these to see if they can meet your requirements.
For instance, if you only have a limited amount of venture capital, you may not be able to afford a £50,000 website. Likewise, if you have a hard launch date for a product, you may need web designers to complete your website in a matter of days.
When approaching a web design company, always ask them whether they can meet your time and financial constraints. If they can’t, find another agency that can.
Look for evidence they understand recent design trends
Web design, like other partially artistic pursuits, goes through phases and trends. That’s why it is critical to choose an agency that understands the landscape and can produce results that are suitable for modern audiences. 75 percent of website visitors say that they judge a brand’s credibility based on how its website appears, so being up to date is critical.
Probe them to see if they understand the big picture
Lastly, while website designers should be able to create compelling, attractive pages, they should also have a degree of business acumen. Teams should understand what your website is trying to achieve and how you are leveraging it to win.
If a web designer mentions “strategy,” it suggests that they have business acumen. Quality design agencies understand that websites are more than just shop fronts, but rather strategic tools that brands can use to seek out leads and convert. If they don’t have this conversation with you, it might be a sign that you need to look elsewhere.