Web design tip # 5 – How to choose a web development company
In the business world, any website can only be judged on the return you make on your investment. It’s all very nice having a truly stunning website, but if the phone doesn’t ring or you don’t write any business as a result of it, there is no other way to see your website than a poor investment.
Website costs can vary substantially from company to company, and in this economic climate it is essential to make sure what you spend is spent well. If you ever take time to speak to a number of web development companies and provide them with the same brief, you will probably be shocked by how different the prices you are quoted are. Over the last few years, web design and development has grown into a hugely competitive industry, primarily because of the low level of entry required to set up a company.
When you are getting quotes for developing your new site, you will probably be speaking to a number of different types of companies including marketing companies, PR companies, large well known design studios, smaller boutique agencies and graduates straight out of university who will design your website from their bedroom. It is not difficult to imagine that as you read through that list, the prices will drop significantly at each step. A large marketing or PR company will obviously have much higher operating costs than a student sitting in his or her bedroom and hence their fees will be much, much, much higher.
Does this mean we should have our websites designed by students or freshly graduated designers? Of course not. Whist university can teach how to design websites and can nurture those who have a genuine talent for design, you would not expect a junior web designer to understand how to maximise the return on your website investment. This can only be achieved with years of experience and on the job training often at a larger design studio. When learning the ropes in any job, we are all likely to make mistakes, but without an experienced professional ready to step in and offer guidance, these mistakes can find their way onto your website and can prove costly. Unless your designer understands your target audience, your money will often be wasted and this understanding only comes with experience.
To explore the other end of the scale, you will often find marketing and PR companies, or indeed any other full service agency may bill you for your website, however they will often outsource it to a third party design company and keep a substantial portion of the fee’s paid for themselves. In some particularly unscrupulous cases they may just outsource it to the lowest bidder.
When choosing a design company, here are some handy tips and questions to ask to help you make the right choice for your company:
- Is your web design work done in house? Or do you outsource it to another company?
- Have you done any previous work in my industry?
- How many years experience do the designers or developers who will be working on my project have?
- Can you provide any case studies showing the return on investment for clients you have previously worked with?
If your design company can not answer any of the above questions in a satisfactory manner be prepared to walk away. There are plenty of design companies out there who will be able to provide this information. Your best option will often be to ask your contacts how their website works for them and if they would be prepared to recommend their web designer.
This leads me quite nicely onto our next article on how to maximise the return on your investment. Come back next week to find out more.