A constellation of website content management systems (CMSs), drag and drop website builders, premium website templates and a large library of modules and extensions has simplified the process of website design. In spite of so much simplicity and options in the market, nothing still beats a bespoke website customized according to your unique requirements.
You don’t have to be an expert coder to have a great website thanks to the proliferation of a host of really nice site building tools. However, as you will soon discover, there is a limit to the out of the box web building solutions. The main limitation is that if you don’t have the coding skills, you are simply not going to have the website that you want.
Modern websites are significantly more robust and complex. They ought to be responsive and use page builders (visual front end website editors) for optimal content creation and placement. To build the ideal website that accurately captures your vision and ambition, you have to build your website right from the conceptual framework to front-end development, backend development and add the right modules and extensions that will extend the functionality of the site.
In some cases, your requirements can be so specific that even the modules have to be redesigned and built from scratch. The link between aspiration and outcomes when it comes to professional website design is choosing the right website development company that ticks all the right boxes. What are some of the factors that you should look for in a good website designer?
Look at their web design portfolio
This should be your first port of call when you are planning to hire a professional web designer. The portfolio is solid proof that you are dealing with an expert web designer that can deliver the goods. When evaluating potential professional designers, ask to see the list of projects they have completed in the recent past. This also gives you an indication of their quality and style as well as their areas of specialization. Do they have any list of websites that are live and active? What do these websites look like? What is the functionality like? Do they have the technical proficiency to pull off complex web design projects? Are their websites responsive? You can always get a great outcome if their portfolio of websites or niche closely matches your own. It means you won’t have to go on an all-out scoping mission trying to define every minute detail that you need on your website.
What is their web design process?
If you are looking for a web designer that has great expertise and proficiency, it is important check their website design process or project pipeline. Do they have a system of handling new web design requests and ongoing client requirements?
Take time to factor in the flow of their process? Do they take time to understand your requirements? Do they work out the conceptual design and sit you down through what they are planning to deliver? How do they structure out the web design process? What tools do they use? Do they communicate effectively? Do they have a process of slotting you into the web design project so that they can factor in your ideas and preferences? A process always ensures a seamless project implementation and when it comes to a design process, you must train your eyes on the following:-
- The types of management tools to be used in the website design
- The workflow in the web design process
- The milestones that the web designer will use to see the project through to completion
If a designer takes their time to listen to your ideas and then propose a well thought out web design and development plan, they can create a sense of trust and build the confidence that they know what they are doing and have professional mettle. A process is also an essential ingredient that helps everyone stay on the task and work in concert towards the realization of the web design objectives.
What Software and Technology Do they Specialize in?
Every web design company has an area of specialization, not just in the niche but also in the kinds of technology that they use. With the proliferation of content management systems (CMSs) for building websites, there are web designers that specialize in specific CMSs such as Drupal, Magento, PrestaShop, BigCommerce and many others. There are also web design companies that are so proficient in their trade that they can build content management systems from scratch to meet the unique design requirements of their customers. Ultimately, it all boils down to what you want from your website project. Your web design specifications will to a large extend spell out the best content management systems that will suit your design project.
Do they offer support and training?
When building a website, you have to think about the cost of maintaining or supporting the website over the long term. You can choose to have the website company on a retainer to offer you support and updating services. Alternatively, you can have the design company train an in-house support staff that will be in charge of keeping the website up to date. If the designer is using a CMS that you are not familiar with, you can request for a demonstration into the workings of the content management system. For small business, a template-driven design is usually ideal due to the ease of management and updates. However, for a more robust website for large businesses, it is generally advisable to go with bespoke template design and development done from scratch.
What is their timeline for the website development project? Can they meet their deadlines? Try to work with milestones as a modular approach to website design with time-sensitive deliverables is generally the most efficient approach.
Look at Testimonials and References
Are there past customers who can vouch for their professionalism and proficiency? Before you hire a professional web development company, try to dig into their track record to establish if they have had a good reputation in delivering to client expectations.
Is SEO Part of the Package?
Ongoing search engine optimization and search engine marketing is generally a time-consuming and costly effort for many businesses. However, a good web designer should include the initial SEO as part of the website design package. You can subsequently decide whether to retain or drop them for your future SEO needs.
What will they charge for the website design? Pricing is definitely a key consideration in a web design project but it shouldn’t be the defining factor. Look at all the other considerations holistically and find the right web design company that is a good match for your needs in both quality and pricing.