5 Steps for Finding the Right Web Design Company

A good Web design firm will work with you in defining your organization’s requirements, but you should still have a basic idea of what role the Web site will fill within your organization. Will it provide information on your company, like a brochure? Will it speak primarily to new accounts?

1. Self Analysis

A good Web design firm will work with you in defining your organization’s requirements, but you should still have a basic idea of what role the Web site will fill within your organization. Will it provide information on your company, like a brochure? Will it speak primarily to new accounts? Will it promote a closer relationship with your existing clients? Will it serve the needs of your employees? All or some of the above? In order to find a Web design firm best suited for your project, your organization should be aware of the following:

  • • The intended audience for the Web site
  • • The intended goal of the project
  • • Anticipated budget for the Web site
  • • How the project will fit into a larger marketing/corporate scheme
  • • The individuals/departments within your organization responsible for the project

Once you have determined these initial requirements, document them and use them as a basis for evaluating each Web design firm. This document gives you a common yardstick to measure each Web design firm you will be contacting. Similarly, a professional Web design firm will respect the fact that you are taking your project seriously.

2. Generate a list

There are a number of ways to search for a Web design firm. Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses, so a combination of the different approaches will be your best bet for finding a Web design firm to match your needs.

Other Web sites: Determine the Web design firm that is responsible for the Web sites of organizations that you admire. These organizations may be your competitors, or in related or unrelated industries. Sometimes the Web design firm is included in the site credits, or is listed elsewhere on the Web site.

Referrals: Ask business acquaintances, friends, and family which Web design firm designed the Web site for their respective organizations, or if they can otherwise recommend a Web design firm. Be inquisitive. Find out what the individuals responsible liked or disliked about working with the various Web design firms. Some firms are better suited for taking a project from start to finish. Other Web design firms are more inclined to work from an existing concept.

Once you have gathered a list of potential Web design firms you are ready to pare them down to a shortlist.

3. Create a shortlist

From the list of potential Web design firms, your organization’s goal should now be to create a shortlist of 3-5 firms that are best suited for your project. In order to determine which Web design firms are most appropriate for your project, do the following:

Examine the portfolio Do the projects in the portfolio have a consistent quality? If not, it’s possible that the company has experienced staff turnover. You may wish to enquire which designers are responsible for the portfolio pieces you admire most, and confirm that these individuals are still with the company.

Has the Web design firm provided solutions to other companies in your industry? Have they dealt with similar challenges to those faced by your organization? These are some important factors to consider. At the same time, look at the Web design firm’s breadth of experience – they may be able to address your immediate needs, but will they be able to provide solutions 6 months down the road, or 1 year later, or 5 years later?

Thanks to the distributed nature of the Internet, some of the better Web design firms have implemented systems that allow them to work with organizations across the globe as easily as organizations across the street.

When reviewing the Web sites of a Web design firm, note the geographical location of their clients. A Web design firm that has worked with clients in many geographical locations will have a more global approach to your Web site.

Analyze the process Does the Web design firm have a clearly stated process for designing and developing Web sites? Do they spend enough time understanding your Web site goals and planning how those will be achieved?
Avoid selecting an individual designer, on a freelance basis, to design and develop your organization’s Web site. It is rare to find a single person capable of handling the combined visual and technical elements that make an effective Web presence. Additionally, by depending on an individual, your organization is at risk of losing its investment should anything occur to that one individual.

Determine what other products/services the Web design company can offer What kind of value-added products or services can the design firm offer? Internet Marketing and Web site promotion? Newsletter or email campaigns? If your organization is not currently dealing with a print design agency, for example, this might be a factor for dealing with one group over another. Similarly, can the firm provide database and software development should your organization wish to Web-enable some of its existing systems or processes?

During this stage, your organization should make contact with the potential Web design firms that are on your shortlist.

4. Get proposals

Once you have selected your top Web design firms, request that they send you a proposal. Ask that their proposal include an overview of your requirements and their proposed solution. This will help to determine which Web design firm understands your requirements best. Also ask that each Web design firm include a description of their development process and a price breakdown for the various aspects of the Web site project.

5. Evaluate the proposals

Start off by examining each proposal individually. Before dealing with the content, evaluate the format and presentation of the proposal. The winning Web design firm will be creating your organization’s image on the Internet, viewable to millions of Internet users. How do they present themselves? Do they communicate with you using their Web site and digital documents?

Maintain a list for each proposal, consisting of its strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of the respective Web design firm based on its other materials (Web site, portfolio, brochure, case studies, etc.). After your organization has reviewed all proposals, compare them with each other. How do they fare in terms of presentation? Do they present upgrade paths for your project, going beyond the needs of the immediate goals outlined?

Once you have made a decision, contact the Web design firms that did not win the contract, and share with them the strengths and weaknesses of their proposals, and the reasons (in general terms) why your organization selected the winning firm. Lastly, contact the winning Web design firm and let them know the good news.

Author

  • Pladora Maria

    Crafting seamless user experiences with a passion for headless CMS, Vercel deployments, and Cloudflare optimization. I'm a Full Stack Developer with expertise in building modern web applications that are blazing fast, secure, and scalable. Let's connect and discuss how I can help you elevate your next project!

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