So you have decided you want to hire someone to build a new website or refresh your current website. EXCITING! But, before you do, you want some tips on how to differentiate companies that design websites. You are in the right place! Below is a list of things you need to take into consideration before you engage with a professional web designer. Whether it be a web design agency or freelancer there are a lot of factors to consider when looking to hire a company to design your website.
Factors to consider BEFORE you start comparing companies that design websites
- What is working on your current website? And what isn’t!
- How has your business changed since the original design?
- Do you need to integrate software?
- What website platform are you using and is there a better option?
- Most importantly, how will the new website affect your site visitors?
- Do I actually NEED to hire a web design agency or can I do it myself?
- Should I hire a web design agency or a freelancer?
Being at a bottleneck in your decision making is normal. You can choose between a freelance web designer, a web developer, or engage with a web design agency who specialise in design and development. Plenty of options and I am sure it is confusing. Fear not! This post will explain how to choose between companies that design websites, develop websites or if you can do it yourself.
How do I hire a web design agency?
Before you start searching for local web design agencies and freelancers, you need to know your project objectives. The size and complexity of your website will dictate which direction you go – web designer, web developer or freelance. Additionally, if you have a platform preference, like Wordpress or Shopify, you will need to note this as it is important. Most freelancers are platform specific (ie only work on a certain platform). Other things that will influence your decision are:
- How big will your website be?
- Is your web design project a redesign or brand new website?
- Does your website require technical integration?
- Do you require custom design ?
- Is your new web design project an E-commerce site?
- Do you require social media integration?
- Do you require custom forms?
Both freelancers and agencies have different capabilities so it is important to have all of these details ready.
Should I choose a local web designer?
Location, location, location! Whilst you do not need to be in the same suburb, region or even state as your website design team, it is important to be in the same time zone! With communication and approvals going to and from, it is counterproductive to be waiting a few days due to time differences. The web design process can be delayed and cause unnecessary stress on a project that could otherwise be smooth sailing.
The positive when you hire a local web design agency is definitely meeting up for a quick coffee and chat! With technology these days, it is not always necessary to be face to face. In saying that, who doesn’t love to get out of the office for a quick chat and coffee! So when you are searching for your next web designer keep an eye out for local companies that design websites in your area.
What web design and development services are included?
Partnering with a website agency that offers design, development and seo services is going to save you time and energy. Sometimes freelancers are skilled in UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) design and others are purely Graphic Designers with the itch to work on web design. Finding the right balance for your project is important as it will decide how your project will flow. Jumping back and forth between a graphic designer, web designer and a web developer can add unnecessary time delays. Additionally, it can cause conflict if the two freelancers are not on the same page. So when you are choosing between companies that design websites, develop websites or are graphic designers remember this little hint.
On top of this, your project will need SEO. An agency or freelancer who can offer all of these services is your best option when you find yourself looking to redesign or create a new website.
What online marketing services are included?
Before any work begins, you will need to supply your web agency with your brand guidelines and a style guide. If you do not have these to work off your agency or freelancer should be able to help you build these. Sometimes you will come across an agency or freelancer who is limited to their particular skill in design or development. This will mean you need to engage in another service provider. It is helpful to find an agency who is a one-stop-shop style agency who can offer all (or most) of these services.
Finding companies that design websites, development the site and offer SEO and other online marketing strategies is a bonus.
When finding a website agency who can perform all services you will find they are not pushing one particular marketing avenue, but all of the BEST options for your business. We create a strategic plan that involves various types of marketing options that are catered to your business needs and growth expectations.
How much will it cost for a new website?
Depending on your requirements the cost of a website can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands. Remember to keep in mind your budget, your expectations, the ability of the agency or freelancer to live up to your expectations and ongoing maintenance. There is no set price for a website as there is such a HUGE amount of scope that can change the pricing.
When comparing prices keep in mind:
- What is your budget for the work?
- Does the web design agency charge an hourly rate or will they set a budget?
- Will they cap hours?
- Is maintenance included?
- Is ongoing security included?
- Does the web agency include domain name renewal and hosting?
How will I know who the right web agency is for me?
You know that gut feeling when you are talking to your friends and family? Happy, comfortable and at ease? THAT’S what you are looking for when trying to find any service providers, particularly those you will be working side by side with. A website doesn’t take 2 seconds to build. A well thought out plan, strategy and integration into design takes a little more than that. So be sure to engage with a web designer who you feel comfortable with asking the hard hitting questions. But also those ‘silly’ questions you might be embarrassed to ask.
Things to keep in mind when hiring a web design agency or freelancer
Your expectations of how quickly a website will be live will affect your decision making process. You will need to be upfront on this to avoid disappointment. Want a website in a day? Want a website in a week? Discuss this with your prospective designers before you engage as this will eliminate any disappointment. Web agencies and freelancers are usually busy little bees and knowing your expected launch date is going to help everyone.
Before you engage in a web design agency or freelancer be sure to view their previous work. Analyse their design, user experience, technical errors, type of projects, size of projects and the aesthetics of their work. Do they align with your business and expectations? Additionally, you should check how long they have been in the industry.
Due to the nature of this industry, communication is a HUGE player in your decision making. You will need to be communicating your needs, wants and expectations from the beginning. On top of this, you will need to be able to feel comfortable to give feedback and not be pushed into making decisions you are not happy with just because a professional ‘said so’.
This is where you can use your intuition and get a feel for the person you will be working with. If you are not communicating with the team who you will be working with, ask if you can get an introduction before you engage with them.
Web agencies who not only understand their clients but also focus on their needs and wants are where you want to be! Understanding the client is imperative in the web design world. If you feel like your agency or freelancer does not understand your brand, tone, strengths and shortcomings, have a look for one who can and will.
In summary, finding companies that design websites that are the right fit for your business does take a little bit of work. In saying that, the more due diligence you do before engaging, the more likely you’ll be happy with the relationship and the website outcomes. So if you are looking to hire a web design agency we would love to have a chat about your project.
Want to find out how we can help you get online? Get in touch to discuss your next project.
Want more information on choosing between companies that design websites?
Get in touch with Zel Designs to discuss how we can help make the process smoother!