10 Things You Should Know
How to Choose A Web Company
Choosing a web design company can be overwhelming. At Retromatic Studios we want to simplify the process for you by speaking clearly without computer jargon. This article is just one more example of how we are different from the average design company. These 10 topics are a great starting point to help you ask the right questions when choosing a design studio. If you have a question or concerns that is not addressed here, please contact us.
1. Ask for proof.
Don’t be afraid to ask the web company you’re dealing with for proof that they’ve designed a project similar to your needs. The last thing you want to be is someone’s FIRST when it comes to this type of investment. Ask to see sample websites produced by the company. Or even ask for past client names so that you can speak with them to get first hand knowledge of what it’s like to deal with the design company.
2. Read the fine print.
Some web companies want to control your domain name and content. Be sure that the contract you sign with them gives you full rights to your domain name and that it remains registered in your company’s name. Be sure that you have access to your hosting account, just in case you ever need to move it, or for some reason your web company goes belly-up – your website will still be functioning. As much as you can, keep the control in your company’s hands.
3. Expect normal fees.
Re-occurring fees are normal on any website if you’re talking about an annual domain name renewal, or your hosting fees. If your designer is using a third-party software and any extra type of widgets, extra fees might be expected there, but other than that, a website should not require large fees after the initial design investment.
4. Expect Homework.
Unless the design company has experts from your industry on their staff, expect to have some homework when it comes to helping with building your website. Truth is, a web design company is here for you to help code, script and design the layout of your website. The content – like articles, blog posts, service lists, about us info and such really has to be written by you, or your staff. The best thing to do would be to write the text in a Word doc or a Text editor and send it to your web company electronically so that they can Copy and Paste the content into the new page built for it. You may even have to work with the design team to help them understand your demographic and how the navigation of your site should function specifically for them. Your new web company should be able to give you expert direction when making these decisions.
5. Get things customized.
So many companies these days use templates that restrict their designs because they cannot customize the site to fit your vision. Be cautious when starting out. Ask plenty of questions and be sure that the designers can get creative for you! Your site should be unique to your company and service! If a design uses a WordPress or other open source template to design from – that’s fine. Just be sure that they customize it so much to meet your look and branding that no other site out there looks just like yours.
6. Get access and Get trained.
Maintenance fees can really hit your budget hard on a monthly basis. While you do want to keep your website up-to-date, you do not need to pay someone ridiculous fees. If you want to have access for changing content on your website – you’re looking for a Content Management System (CMS). Your new web company should be able to build your website on that type of platform and provide you / your staff adequate training on how to use the system.
7. If you build it (right), they will come.
Even if your site looks amazing –it will not be profitable if no one sees it. No one can guarantee placement on search engines unless you pay the individual search engine for that placement. However, there are ways that a design company can better your placement organically.
If your site is designed properly with the correct meta tags and keywords, titles and content – you can expect to advance on the searches quickly. We will work with you to target the correct keywords for your service or company.
8. Do they answer the phone?
One of the nightmares of doing business online is that sometimes the company can be online one day and gone the next. What happens when you need help with your website? What happens if your website is down or you can’t get your emails? Be sure the agency you work with is going to be there for you in the long run.
9. Do they listen or do they only speak?
Yes, they might be the experts in the web design field, but do they listen to your vision or do they just push their own budget, design limitations and concepts on you? Every web company can bring solid ideas to the table, but this is a partnership between you and the web company. This should be a networking together that makes sense and one that can last for years to come. The two of you are joining in an endeavor to better both of your companies. You get a better web presence. They get a happy, dedicated customer and a great looking addition to their portfolio. Be sure you feel comfortable communicating with your project manager. This doesn’t mean that the entire project will run smoothly, but it does mean that things should be able to be worked out easily and quickly.
10. Your company is growing – so should your website.
Along with your CMS website should come the room to expand and evolve with your company’s growth. Technology changes daily and the scripting used on your website today could be obsolete in 5 to 10 years. Will this new web design company be able to keep up with all the latest so that you look up-to-date still? Will they offer you ideas and solutions to reach out online and expand your reach? Be sure that this new company is willing to revamp even their own thinking to keep you looking the best!