The Internet is becoming is becoming integrated into everything we do. It is clear that any serious company should have a website. The question is how to find someone qualified in the saturated market of website design. This guide will show how to find the right company the first time, to ensure you will not get burned, which happens all too often in this industry, ask anyone.
The saturated market
I know, its like everybody and their uncle does website design, how could this be, it must be easy? As smart of guy your uncle may be, there is huge difference between the technical skill it takes to make something impressive, and something generic.
While websites can be made with a few clicks these days, unfortunately the progression of automated website design is still looking mundane at best. With absolutely no room for anything custom to suit your business needs.
Having your uncle make a blog is not going to work for your business in most cases. You will end looking bland, and obviously not desired. A site that creates a distinct separation from all the others needs your focus. The site must stand out otherwise potential client will look at it for mere seconds before they go on to something else to satisfy their short attention span.
One in about fifty design companies have any skills above a basic understanding. Their usually unemployed computer technicians living in their mom’s basement looking for easy buck, pirating movies and playing video games. If you own or work for professional company, choose a professional to do your website, save your self the trouble of having to do a website twice and lose precious time and money. With a little exploration, and some comparing and contrasting and the help of this guide you will be able to weed out the good, form the bad and the ugly.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Some website designers are strong on graphics, yet very weak in their understanding programming and search engine marketing, While others are great at programming and make the worst looking sites.
Ideally you need to find a firm with both skills if you want to succeed.
Save some time by skipping all the fluff information on a web companies site, go straight to the core, straight to the portfolio. Judge a company by what they actually do, rather then what they have to say. Find a company that produces work that you like, look for creativity and variation in design. Look for a company that can change their style with the product.
Local vs Remote
Obviously the web is global, but who are selling to? I know you want to sell your product all over the world, but in order be effective you need to know your target market and find niches. People from the states generally do business with people from there. Do not be fooled by the allure of cheap overseas work, you will end up un-happy. If your market is in an English speaking culture, why would you have someone from Costa Rica do your website, unless they were from the states originally? Cultural difference can be huge, not only will have to spend more time conveying what you need, the chances of the site appealing to your clients is drastically reduced.
SEO(Search Engine Optimization) any website designer that tells you he will get your site to top of the search engine without any effort is really miss informed. Getting high rankings relies on many factors, these factors are constantly evolving as the Internet does. Components of a strong SEO presence include these aspects;
- Content – The more information on your site the better, get everything together you can about your product.
- Coding - Search engines look for proper formating, many novice designers do not label things correctly, downgrading potential ranking of your site. Bad programming can lower your search engine rank as well.
- Backlinks – The more links you have pointing to your site the better, its also important for the sites be relevant to the content you are presenting.
- Frequent updates – Search Engines put lots of focus on recent information, if you website is stagnant you will lose rank over time.
Other Important points
- Make sure they have a telephone number and address listed.
- Talk to their customers it certainly does hurt to call. Make sure you call a few its good to get a general consensus.
- Companies that have a logo design in their portfolio usually have more creative juice.
- Look for animation, if the business can do solid animation, you can be sure that they can get what you need done.
- If your looking to have a complex site done, with lots of custom scripting, ie E-commerce. Look to see if they have done any in the past.
- Call them, Yeah I know its easier to email. Talking to an actually person will allow you to get a feel for their personality. You should at the very least be comfortable with the people you will be working with, befriend them even, it will all go much smoother in the end.
Great organization will not only help you find what you want, but help your designer immensely. Your quote will be more accurate. You will be perceived as a client that knows what they want, achieving a better price, especially from firms with skill. Follow these steps and solidify your success.
- Content – Website designers are not content writers. The responsibility of information you want to present lays in your hands. The best way to present content, is in one document. Name of the page in bold, followed by your content.
- Website Example – Find website in your industry, look at what they are doing, aim to make it better. Show your designer examples of your favorite sites, and be assured you receive something to a desired expectation, hopefully better.
- Logo Design – Does you company have a logo? A good designer will base the website off your companies logo and your target market. Start working with a company on a logo if you can, its a great way to get a feel for each other and develop a relationship for future work. Make sure to tell them you plan on creating a website after, this will entice them to do a better job.
- Domain Registration – Make sure you register your own domain name, ie www.yourdomain.com. In the event you need to leave your design company having control of your domain will make the transition effortless. www.godaddy.com. Is the most common used domain registration company.
Pricing and Finalization
Do not get suckered into answering the question “what is your budget” this allows a website design company to get a feel for how much money they can take you for. They only need to be concerned with your specific needs and the associated costs.
Cost - Website designs start at $300 while others $5000. More often then not, you will get what you pay for. Get quote from multiple designer, make sure to let them indirectly know your getting multiple quotes, this will lower prices.
Website hosting - Do not pay more then $10 a month, unless you plan on receiving more then a thousand visitors a day . Make sure get access to the server
Intellectual property - Make sure to get a copy of all the work produced by the designer of your choice. This is your property unless otherwise noted. If they happen to disappear you might be stuck doing your site all over again.
Payment Plan – Do not pay for the website in advance. Either accept half up front and half upon delivery or payment in thirds.
Monthly fees - Do not fall prey to these fees. Ask how much they will charge for adding a new page. Ask how much for an image. Ask how much for a simple text correction or added email, this should be free.
Contacts - Yes they are pain, but they do keep people honest. Its also a great way to put down in writing what is expected from both parties.
Well thats it! Now you have all the information you need to choose the best website designer for the job. This article is product of 10 years of experience in design and hundreds of clients. Feel free to a look at our web2.0 directory of designers in Costa Rica. Good luck and happy hunting.