7 Key Factors in Picking the Best Web Design Firm for Your Project
A quick Google search of “web design firms” lists an overwhelming number of results: 37,400,000, to be exact. How do you choose one firm out of over thirty-seven million? We are going to help do some weeding by breaking down 7 key factors you should consider when picking the best web design firm for your project.
When you start researching a firm, do they have an area of specialty? Maybe their website boasts that they specialize in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And another firm’s specialty is branding or inbound marketing. It’s great that they have a niche they’re proud of, and maybe their niche is something you really need, but what about all the other moving parts? Are their capabilities equal in every other area? If there are only one or two things they’re bragging about, odds are the answer is no. Find a firm that does it all, rather than hire multiple companies and then struggle to integrate their ideas.
The Creative Momentum knows multiple technology solutions and can recommend them — because we know how — and because that’s what your business needs. Other firms only know one or two solutions and recommend them because that’s what they’re familiar with. We want to understand your business and then recommend a solution that best fits what you are trying to do. Not try to fit OUR best solution to what you are trying to do. That is a very important distinction.
2. Relationship Driven
Great relationships yield a great product. And if your goal is to walk away with a great product, why settle for mediocre service? A great relationship starts at the beginning, from the moment you speak with someone at the company. Do they return your calls in a timely manner? Respond to emails? Deliver goals on time? Did they capture your vision, goals and objectives?
The Creative Momentum wants to partner with you every step of the way. We will foster a relationship that yields a great product!
When you choose a web design firm, it is imperative that the company goes over their design process with you and is very organized with schedules and milestones. Part of that organization is asking how often are you going to receive a product to review.
An important distinction of The Creative momentum is that we follow the Agile Development methodology. What does that mean? In the web development of yesterday, a client may not have seen a product until it was very near completion. And then perhaps the client has an idea and excitedly brings it to the design firm, only to find out the chance to implement your idea was 5 steps ago and it’s too late. Or perhaps your company’s needs have changed in the 2 months it has taken to design your site and your brand new website does not address those needs. You have a product that you cannot use the way you need to use it.
Agile Development means that we work in 2-4 week sprints (depending on the client). Every 2-4 weeks, you will see where your project is in the development cycle and if an idea comes up, there is a greater chance we can implement it. Other companies deliver a feature that isn’t what you had in mind. But the only way to fix it sets the whole project back and costs you a lot more dollars.
Great ideas can happen midstream. And we love great ideas. We are transparent when those ideas change the scope of your project and if they affect the cost. Other companies charge hourly rates for changes beyond the price you agreed to — just like an attorney. We have a fixed cost that you agree to in the beginning. And we don’t believe in surprise invoices.
Make sure the company you hire actually tests your website. We do thorough testing and even allow user-testing prior to launching the website.
We hate to sound cliche, but communication is key! How quick was the firm to respond to your initial inquiry or phone call? You should have a dedicated team and every one of our clients gets a Project Manager. We use Basecamp, VersionOne, Skype, Slack and Dropbox to communicate with you. Other firms may not use all of the tools available for communicating with you, and that communication is vital to the success of your project and launching on time.
Steer clear from companies that offer unlimited revisions. This is a huge red flag because they are admitting they may not nail your vision on the first few tries. Think of it as buying a car. An extensive warranty is great, but what that really means is they know their product has issues. Is your new car going to drive relatively maintenance-free as soon as it leaves the lot and for the next 200,000 miles? Brands that aren’t reliable play up their support and maintenance. It is typical to allow up to two revisions. But these other companies are transparently telling you they’re not going to nail your goal right out of the lot.
Look at a firm’s portfolio and their current website. And really consider that their website is absolutely their best product. If it is mediocre, is that who you want to hire? Within their portfolio, make sure to compare all their projects. The key to finding a great agency is seeing consistency across all projects, regardless of industry.
When deciding between Templates and Custom web firms, remember that while cookie-cutter sites are quick and cost-effective, your competitor can buy the exact same site. You are trying to do everything you can to make your product different. Why use the same cookie-cutter? And keep in mind that as your business grows, scaling a Template site to represent your growth is very difficult..
6. Beyond Design and Development
If you work with another firm, you may end up with a really beautiful website that isn’t all that easy to use. Design is great and we like pretty things too, but what about UI/UX (User-interface/User Experience)? Can the firm handle conversions, A/B Testing, Bounce Rates, and Analytics? What about hosting your site, maintaining it and offering technical support? Can they do those things after launch?
7. Long-Term Partnership
The Creative Momentum does not just deliver a product. A great company comes alongside you and stays far beyond the completion of the website. We can host your site and maintain it — and be there for you as you scale your company.
It’s great that you just built a website. We can get involved in those crucial next steps and help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing and all your other ongoing design needs.
Your design firm should be equipped to handle every aspect of your company’s virtual presence. The Creative Momentum wants to partner with you now and has all the tools necessary to address your needs as they come up.