Are you a small to medium business and struggling to figure out how to proceed with your new business website?
Well the good news is, you are not alone! At this very second there are hundreds of thousands of business owners who are trying to navigate the unknown and determine what steps to take to find the best web design company. There are also the horror stories that are in the background to deal with; of businesses that have been ripped off by web design firms, or websites that are incomplete or have no visibility with Google. Given the uncertainty and complexity involved, it is actually remarkable that a business owner gets an effective website built at all!
So what are the steps to take when choosing a web design company?
Based on our experience as a web design firm, and talking with many clients about their experiences, here is a series of simple steps to go through that will help ensure you get the best possible website produced for your business:
Word of Mouth
Sometimes the simplest step can be the most effective. Talk to colleagues and others in your industry and find out if they are happy with their business website. For those that are, ask them who designed their website for them, and how easy the process was. Ask them things like:
- Was the web design firm responsive initially with contact and follow up?
- Did the web design company ask what the key goals were for the new website?
- Did the design firm provide all inclusive agreed services, with no nasty excess fees or charges?
- Were you onboarded effectively and told about the features of your new site and how to edit it?
- Does their web design co provide support services on contract or ad-hoc, and how timely is the support?
Do a Google Search
Generally speaking, a reasonably sophisticated web design company understands the importance of SEO and SEM, so will ensure that they are featured near the top of Google results. Simply go to Google and type in “web design company”, and checkout the first page of results. You will likely see three kinds of results:
- Google Ads in the first 3 or 4 spots (These have the ‘Ad’ designation on them);
- Organic results, which are the natural rankings for your search, and;
- Google My Business results – these appear like ‘mini maps’ and usually show a map with 3 listings.
A good rule of thumb is to shortlist those firms that appear in 2 out of 3 of those places; for example, they are at the top of the page in Google Ads, and they also appear in the GMB listing; or, they appear in the GMB listings and also at the top of organic listings. By using this ‘2 out of 3 rule’, you are ensuring that the web design firm knows enough about search marketing and has done the hard work to appear in multiple places on the SERP. THis means that they are more than likely able to get your website to do the same, as well as being able to design a great quality website that serves your interests.
Sometimes the best thing to do is simply listen. When contacting a prospective web design company, listen closely to how they talk to you, and what words they use when discussing your possible project. If they are talking more about themselves and saying things like “we have been doing this for many years and know what we’re doing”, or “last year we received an award for our web design skills”, or “we can help you with a great web design”, then it is time to hang up and move on. You don’t want to work with a company that only talks about themselves, because during the web design process they are more than likely to follow their rules and processes, and not listen to what you actually need! What you are listening for is a web design firm that says “so what is the main reason you want a new business website”, and “who is your ideal customer and where do they hang out online?” and similar questions. If they are listening to you and asking you questions, you have a very high chance that they will produce a business website for you that serves your needs and brings in new clients.
Good luck with your search for a new web design company. By using these three steps you give yourself the best chance of receiving a great website that will serve you for many years and bring in goodwill and most importantly, new customers.