10 Great Tips for Hiring The Right Web Design Company – Part 2

by Calvin Cox on September 3, 2008

Last Week I posted an article on the “Top 7 Reasons Why It’s Better to Hire a Freelance Designer or Small Design Firm Than a Large Design Company” . The article hit such a nerve in the design community That James Paden of Xemion decided to write the “Top 7 Reasons Why It’s Better to Hire a Large Design Company Than a Freelance Designer or Small Design Firm” for the sake of having some balance.   This article led to even more debate between freelance designers and design companies alike.  After the dust settled and the many comments (some nice…. Some… not so nice 🙂 )  We’ve concluded that size really doesn’t matter but rather the design company business model and customer relationships.

Now we’ve come up with 10 great tips to keep in mind when looking to hire for your next web design project primarily  based on the great feedback we’ve gotten from the design community:

1. Does Your Web Designer know what SEO Stands for?

One of the things I look for is the designer’s knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization)  I know they might tell you that that’s what an SEO Consultant is for; but there are web design companies that will do the little things like:  Place the right keywords and meta titles on your website. Use H1 headings to tell Google what your web pages are about.  Give you suggestions on keyword density relative to content when writing content for you pages.  These things help search engines find your website more easily.  This is also a great way for web designers to add value to their services while at the same time giving the client a more effective website.

2. Is The Quote Too Good To Be True

Be cautious of getting a quote that’s too low. No I didn’t make a mistake when I said too low.  Shop around  and get a few prices for your project.  There are going to be companies that will highball you and some that will even lowball you.  For one of my projects I’ve gotten a quote of  $20,000 and one for $3700 for the same project.  If a quote is too low it might mean that the company is not aware of the details or the quality you’re looking for.  I hate to say this but most times, you get what you pay for.  Keep in mind though, a quote that seems  too high is probably too high,  go with the majority cluster of quotes on this one.

3. Sitemap is Not An Option

A development sitemap is the layout of your website in a flowchart format.  This is important because it allows you to see visually how your website will function. A detail development sitemap is quite tedious for a designer but very helpful for you in making sure your proposal  is well understood before signing the bottom line.

4. Does Their TOS (Terms of Sales Agreement) Leave You With Butterflies in Your Stomach

If the design company TOS seem like you’re selling your soul to the devil; then you probably are. It’s true that  companies and designers must protect their time and money when doing projects but should have a reasonable TOS agreement that doesn’t strip you from your deposit  5 minutes after you’ve sign the contact.

5. Go Behind Their Backs in an Honest Way

This is something I learned accidently but saved me from choosing the wrong web design company.  What you do is ask the web design company for a list of all the websites they’ve done to get a feel of the work.  Then you choose the ones you find that closely resembles what you’re looking for in terms of  style and functionality.  Once you’ve gotten their contact information, call your web design company and ask if you can call a few of the website owners to get their feedback.  Two things can happen here, they might say no (INSTANT RED FLAG) or they might say yes.  In which case proceed and hopefully you get the positive feedback you want, enough to solidify the deal with the web design company you had a gut feeling about in the first place.

For the next five tips, read James’s Post: 10 Great Tips for Choosing the Right Web Design Company Regardless of Size – Part 1

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