Did you know that it only takes around .05 seconds (50 milliseconds) for users to form an opinion about a website? About 38 percent of users will leave a website if they deem it unattractive.
After all, with so many websites and competitive businesses, why should users stay on your site if it is not providing them with a pleasant experience?
Having a functional and attractive website is crucial for businesses to stand out in today’s brutally competitive online world. If you are not a design expert, hiring a vetted web design service is the way to go.
Finding the right web designers can seem overwhelming because a website is such an essential item for a business. However, if you are unsure of what you have to consider before hiring a web design service, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for a complete guide on everything you need to do and know before picking a designer to work on your website.
1. Know Your Goals
Before you can start looking for potential web design services, you must be able to define what you want to accomplish with your business precisely. Then, you must identify how you can use your website to reach these goals.
Having clear, quantifiable goals and objectives will make it easier for a web design service to understand what you are trying to achieve. For example, perhaps you are looking to grow your mailing list or trying to reach a specific sales quota. Making these goals clear is the first step to finding a great web designer and setting yourself on the right path to having a great site.
Finding the right web designer for you and your business can be lengthy. So, knowing what you want to accomplish precisely before you even start looking is a great way to be more assertive once you find the right service. At the end of the day, if you and the designer you ultimately hire are on the same page with your goals, the entire process will be much smoother.
2. Make A List Of Your Website Needs
Once you have a clear idea of your business goals, you should list everything you think should go on your website. Once you pick a designer, they can guide you and help you make sure you are not missing anything. However, having a general understanding of what you need on your site will facilitate the process.
Specific website needs will depend on your particular business and goals. However, every website should have these items:
- Business information (address, contact info, etc.)
- List of products or services
- A strong home page/landing page
- An ‘About Us’ page
Other valuable sections in a website include a blog (this is fantastic for SEO) and a reviews/testimonial page.
Anticipate Future Needs
It is impossible to fully predict all of the changes that your business will inevitably experience. However, you should anticipate that your website will probably need future tweaking and maintenance to keep up with the ever-changing online world.
Finding a service provider that also offers maintenance service packages is a great way to go if you think your newly designed website will need frequent updates.
3. Decide On A Web Design Budget
After setting your goals and determining an estimate of the scope of work that needs to be performed on your website, you should come up with a realistic budget to make it happen. A straightforward web design budget is a great way to start your web design service search with a practical mindset.
A well-designed website might be a significant investment. However, many web design services offer payment plans to make paying for it more manageable.
Remember that a website is often the first place where potential customers will learn about your business. Therefore, consider setting your web design budget with the mindset that if you hire an experienced and professional service, you’ll get a quicker return on investment.
4. Make A List Of Potential Designers
There are plenty of web design services, so how do you know which one is the right one for your business?
Although you might be tempted to go for the web design service that best fits your budget, there is plenty to consider if you want to make the right choice. Designing a website requires you to invest your business’ time and money, so not thoroughly researching all of your options is a huge mistake.
The first step in your research is simply creating a list of a few website design services that you think might work for you and your business. To keep this process more organized, we recommend that you create a spreadsheet that includes:
- An evaluation of the web design service website
- A thorough review of their portfolios
We will touch on all of these items in the following sections, as they are critical if you want to make the most educated decision when hiring a web design service.
5. Thoroughly Check Their Websites
When researching potential web design services to hire, the very first thing you should do is evaluate the companies’ websites. Because of the services they provide, the website of any web design business should be impeccable.
You generally want to avoid companies with cluttered, slow, and difficult-to-use sites. Therefore, when going through the websites of the companies you have on your list, ask yourself: would I be happy if my website looked like this?
If the answer is no, you should remove that company from your research list. Again, a website is the first impression one gets of a business. So, if your first impression of a web design company was not a pleasant one, don’t waste your time continuing the process!
If their website is easy to navigate, pleasant on the eyes, and overall professional, you should keep them on your list and continue with your research. If you see something you like on one of their websites, you should note it and consider asking them (or the service you end up hiring) if they can incorporate something similar to your site.
Check Out Their Social Media Sites
Although social media sites won’t exactly tell you the level of quality you should expect from a web design company, you should still take a quick look. First, ensure the company’s page is professional, relevant, and free of alarming content. Also, look at comment sections and make sure the company responds to questions and relevant comments.
6. Look At Their Portfolios
After vetting the web design services on your list by going through their websites and social media profiles, you should continue the process by looking at their work for other clients. Looking at their web design portfolio will help clarify a lot of things for you, but most importantly, it will let you in on two crucial things:
- The industries they usually create websites for (this will let you know if they fully understand what it entails to create a site for your niche)
- The quality you should expect if you work with them as their client
If you can’t find work samples on their website, contact them and ask for some relevant examples of their work within your industry or niche. You’ll want to look at a few examples to ensure that the web design service has versatility with its designs.
When evaluating the samples, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the user experience in all of their work samples good?
- Are the websites they create responsive?
- Are the sites SEO friendly?
- Does the web design service clearly understand the latest design trends?
7. Test UX
UX, or “user experience,” is one of the most important aspects of a well-designed website. UX determines how easy it would be for a user to navigate your website. It also has to do with aesthetics and efficiency.
When going through the company’s portfolio, you should pay close attention and, as a user, determine if the UX on the sites is up to your standards. Test all buttons, and evaluate how easy it is to navigate these websites.
Is the website intuitive? Useful? Accessible?
If a particular website ends up in the web design service’s portfolio, it is probably one of the best ones from their roster. Therefore, be very picky when testing out the user experience.
Make sure to take some notes of what you liked and didn’t like during this process. Then, when you ultimately pick and hire a web design service, you will be able to be more precise and more assertive on what you expect to get from them as far as UX goes.
If one of the web design services from your list has terrible UX on some of their portfolio samples, you should remove them and not consider them for hire. After all, a website only works if its users have a good experience navigating it.
8. Check For Responsive Websites
When researching each web design service on your list, find out if the companies you’re looking at include responsive design. Having a responsive website means that its design will automatically resize depending on your device.
Having a mobile-friendly site is more important than ever, considering that around 55 percent of page views come from mobile devices. People will NOT only access your site from their desktop computers.
When checking out the company’s portfolio, you must also evaluate each site’s responsiveness. Check if the web design service did a good job ensuring that everything from the desktop sites translates flawlessly into your phone or tablet.
If a web service offers responsive design, but you have trouble accessing their samples on your phone, do not waste your time with them. Failing to have a flawlessly responsive website can cause you to lose a lot of users trying to access your site on their mobile devices.
9. Evaluate SEO
Do you want your website to rank your business high up in the search results? Of course, you do. SEO is essential to stand out from the millions of other websites and competing companies that exist on the internet.
When going through potential companies to hire, ask about SEO packages. A web design service that helps your search engine optimization can be a total gamechanger.
If they provide SEO services, double-check it by evaluating the SEO on the websites they have on their portfolio. You can conduct your research or ask the web design service to provide you with information regarding past clients’ rankings.
Being able to rank high on search results can be monumental for the success of your business. Please don’t rush this step and get all the information from the possible services on your list to make an educated decision before hiring them.
10. Check For Design Trends
Design trends are an excellent blueprint for aesthetic purposes, and having a trendy design will make your site look more modern and eyecatching. However, following trends will not make your website look like every other one on the internet. On the contrary, trends emerge to modernize their designs and take them to the next level.
If you hire someone to work on your website, you don’t want them to develop an outdated design. Users will likely not stay on your site if it looks like it was created during 2010. In addition, obsolete design websites can look unprofessional because they might communicate to potential clients that your business does not keep up with modern tactics.
The right web design service will prove that they are up-to-date with ever-changing design trends and strategies. When evaluating their portfolios, make sure that the service followed the trends and techniques of the year that site was designed.
If one of the sites from their portfolio looks very old and outdated, ask the service when it was created. If it was a recent client, perhaps you should not work with that specific web design company.
11. Check Reviews And Testimonials
You will be able to get a lot of information by simply examining and analyzing a web design service’s website and portfolio. However, to verify if a company will do everything it has promised, you should research and see what its past clients say about its work.
Most of the time, you’ll be able to access reviews and client testimonials directly on the company’s website. If there are no reviews on their website, check Google Business and other reviews websites to see if anyone has left a review for that specific web service.
Reading online reviews and testimonials can help you verify the trustworthiness and credibility of the service provider you are seeking. In addition, reading about past clients’ experiences is the best way to get an idea of what you can expect from a company. Nowadays, the internet can make it easy for anyone to build an inaccurate description of who they are and what they do, which is why looking for genuine reviews is so important.
Not finding any reviews or testimonials could be a huge red flag when searching for the right web service. If the internet is full of reviews for a specific company, but most of them are negative, you should also stop entertaining the idea of working with them.
The winning combination for a wonderful web design experience is a beautiful portfolio paired with stellar service reviews.
12. Narrow Down Your Options
While searching for the right web design service for your business, you’ll likely disqualify some candidates that don’t meet your standards. However, depending on how long your list was, to begin with, you might still find yourself with many options. After thoroughly reading reviews and testimonials, you should narrow your list to three to five companies.
Hiring a web design company to work on your site is a big deal, so some indecisiveness is valid and normal. To make narrowing down your list a little easier, consider creating a points system and grading your three to five options based on the following categories:
- Their website
- Their portfolio
- Their reviews
After you’ve graded them based on these items, rank them from your number one choice to your least favorite one. Having this list will help you stay more organized as you enter the last step to decide on the perfect web design service.
To make your final decision, we recommend reaching out to the companies and evaluating how good they are at communicating and collaborating with you to make your dream website a reality.
13. Look For A Communicative Designer
To have the most positive web design experience, your web design service providers should have fantastic communication skills. So, when you reach out to them, ask yourself these questions before you ultimately hire any of your options:
- Did the web design service reply to your emails/return your calls promptly?
- Did the web design service do a good job addressing all of your questions and concerns?
- Were the people you talked to respectful and professional?
Having positive answers to these questions will be crucial. Ultimately, you will not have a good experience with a web designer if you can’t communicate with them properly.
Your communication style must match with one of the companies you hire. Figuring this out before you sign anything with that service can save you a lot of stress and issues caused by miscommunication.
To be on the safe side, contact all of the companies within your narrowed-down list. Maybe you’ll find out that your number one option is not the best match for your business because they did not get back to you promptly. Or, perhaps you find through this communication that your least favorite option is the one who is most willing to collaborate with you (see next section for details).
You might love a particular company based on their work and reviews, but if you can’t work harmoniously with them, they might not be the right choice for you and your business!
14. Find A Collaborative Designer
As you go through the last step, try to get a general idea of how well each of the companies on your list will collaborate with you. Even if you are not the most tech-savvy, your ideas are still fundamental throughout this process. Therefore, finding a designer who is willing to work with you to implement them is crucial.
The right design company will be open to applying your suggestions in practical and creative ways. They will also be respectful and suggest other options if your idea cannot be applied to your business site.
Ultimately, communication and collaboration will go hand in hand. So, when you reach out to potential designers, ask them about their usual procedures when collaborating with clients.
15. Pull The Trigger
Ready To Build Your Dream Business Website?
After following every step in this guide, you’ll be able to hire a web design service that matches your goals and expectations. Remember that your business website is an instrumental part of building a successful business.
If you are looking for a web design service that checks all the boxes, you’ve come to the right place. Online Marketing Muscle can make your dream business website a reality.
We offer many services to take your business website to the next level. So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch today to learn more!