Unless you have been living under a rock or in Pakistan where the government can curtail or even cutoff your internet access, you know that the internet has changed the way we acquire goods, services, and information. If your corporation doesn’t have a website today, it is like you don’t exist.
However, even with this never ending explosion, many small and mid-size businesses are still hesitant about adding a website to their marketing plan. I am not telling you this just because I produce websites. I am telling you this because common sense dictates that I do. It is the common sense in me that says having a good website will not only give your customers access to your services 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, but it will also expose your company up to a wider customer-base.
Unless you feel confident about designing, developing, and programming your own website, you need to hire a professional website development company. But, before you interview web development companies, you should first determine what your goals are for you website, including:
- Are you strictly interested in e-commerce?
- Do you want to attract more customers?
- Do you want to give your existing customers better service?
- Do you want repeat customers?
- Are you interested in showing video, commercials, interviews, etc.?
- Are you looking for an informational site that would introduce your company to individuals or companies?
Once you determine your goals, you are ready to begin the process of hiring a web development company. But, simply doing a Google search won’t do; you must find a web team who will help promote your professional image to your customers while making the online process as easy as possible for you. Below are some basic steps to take in order to find the website development company who will build the perfect site for you:
Do Your Homework: Examine the Competition’s Websites
Before you hire a web designer, you should have an idea of what you want for your web site. Sometimes the best place to start is with your competition. Research your competitors’ sites and take note of who designed them (it is usually listed at the bottom of the home page). Take notes about what you do and don’t like about their sites. What do you think of the design of their website? Does the functionality in their website make sense? Do they offer shopping or are they purely informational? Is there enough of what you are looking for or too little?
Then take your research a step further. Start combing the internet for any type of site that you like. A good starting point is reviewing a web design company’s portfolio. Two of the best web design portfolios are: Digital Peabody Portfolio and Unleaded Software.
Do Identify Your Individual Business Needs
Once you have done your homework and have selected a web design firm that meets your needs, you ought to present your business’s key objectives to the web design firm. In addition, make note of your customer-base, as they may look for certain functional or design aspects in your website. Think about the types of information that you need in your website. For example, if you have a new or growing business you may want a section about “Employment Opportunities” Or another example is a “Terms and Conditions” section that explains your company’s policies. Each business is unique and will have a different set of requirements for a website.
Once you have a solid definition of your requirements, and your likes and dislikes in terms of website design, you will be able to present them to a web design firm. Hashing out all of this before you chose a web design firm will help you get exactly what you need in your company’s website.
Do Research the Web Designer
It is very important to work with someone you trust, so before you begin interviewing designers you should review designers’ on-line portfolios to see if you like their particular style. Ask the designers to explain design decisions in the portfolio and request a brief description of the overall process. In addition, make sure you check references. Ask the references if the web design firm meet their expectations, satisfied their timeline, and were they easy to communicate with. One of the reasons why you should work with a professional web design firm vs. a freelancer is that the professionals tend to be significantly more responsive than somebody who works by and for themselves. Talent is one thing – but reliability is equally as important. So while professional web design firms may cost a little bit more than freelancers do, the peace of mind that you will have is priceless.
Are you ready to get started?
If you would like to get started, please call Digital Peabody’s Web Strategist, Lauren Engel. You can reach her at 312-933-3430 or 303-468-5707. Be sure to ask about discounts for new websites!