There is a pearl of conventional wisdom that goes, “Do not judge a book by its cover.” While it may sound morally and logically correct, humans tend to judge things based on their appearance and the first impression it leaves. After all, how else can we judge something we don’t know much on?
This is why web design is so vital to a fledgling start-up that has zero to no brand presence. Your brand’s webpage is metaphorically the cover of a book, and people are going to defy conventional wisdom and evaluate your brand based on it. Big companies spend tonnes of money to get this step right, but here at Hitch Marketing, we understand that not all companies have deep pockets. Hence, we are here to help you ask the right questions to lead you to the best web design company tailored to suit your company’s needs, without burning a hole in your pocket.
1. Will there be a committed project manager allocated to your brand’s project?
Managers play a crucial administrative and organisational role, they are the ones coming up with timelines, meeting with the different stakeholders, etc. They are pretty much the ‘glue’ of the team. Without them, your team is sure to be disorganised, filled with miscommunication which will result in significant delays and much frustration. Just having a manager isn’t enough though, you need a manager that will stick with you throughout the project, to minimise confusion!
2. Does the firm out-source the development work?
You should not take it for granted that all design firms have an in-house development team. Many design firms actually do not have it, and it’s essential to consider that. It can be an indication that they do not fully comprehend the technology behind your website and hence, will be unable to harness the full potential of the technology. Furthermore, if they do not have their in-house development team, there is a good chance that they are merely serving as a middleman – which can mean more room for delays and miscommunication, with additional costs.
3. Can you build the site responsive?
Responsive web design means that the appearance of your website will change, depending on the screen size and orientation of the device used to view it. To rephrase it, it means that it’ll adjust its interface based on the device your customers’ are accessing your webpage from.
I’m sure some of you have felt the difference between accessing an online marketplace through a web browser on your phone (e.g. Safari, Google Chrome, etc.) and accessing it through their app. It’s definitely easier to do so via the latter (unless the app developer is absolutely terrible).
4. What are some ways to track the success of your website?
Wanting to know the fruits of your investment is a logical thing to do. It gives your precious data, customised for your company, which helps you decide whether it’s wise to maintain status quo or implement some changes to boost your company’s growth. It can be measured in traffic, conversions, sales, etc. – it is your choice to choose what suits your company’s needs best. Regardless of your chosen metric, make sure that the web design firm has these metrics embedded in your site for your use!
5. How do you charge your customers?
As immoral as it is, it is not uncommon for companies to lure customers in by underbidding a project, before jacking up the price as they build the website. If a company is offering a suspiciously (and tempting) low price, think twice. Most importantly, ask the right questions. How often do their projects exceed the initial budget? How are extra features, that were not in the project’s initial scope, charged? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, this is your money and customer is king.
6. What are the terms and conditions like for warranty? Any maintenance plan or support systems?
The world wide web is a sinister place. Every day, novel viruses (no, I am not talking about SARS-CoV-2) and new ways to hack are invented. To avoid such nasty occurrences, having a warranty is crucial as it ensures ongoing maintenance of and support for your website. Moreover, change in functionality and updates is the only constant in the world wide web, it’ll be foolish to think that you’ll no longer need the web design firm one the website is published.
If this sounds like information overload to you, I have bad news for you. There are many more questions you should be asking for a web design firm. However, to avoid scaring my dear readers away, I have decided to cut it down in 6 rudimentary points. I’m positive that by now, you would have a vague idea of what are the critical things to take note of. The crux your questions should give you a clearer picture of the functions of your webpage, the total costs (read as beware of hidden fees!), and the work ethics of the web design firm. With that, I wish you all the best in finding the best firm for your brand!