It would be difficult to imagine that in this day and age a business wouldn’t have a website. This is because the majority of customers who are looking for a product or a service, don’t look up the Yellow Pages anymore, they go to Google. When they ask their friends for recommendations, they don’t make phone calls; instead they request this information through social media.

According to Magicdust – who specialise in website design Sydney and Australia wide; ‘with most shoppers using the internet to conduct their research on products and services prior to purchasing, it’s obvious that a website is one of the most important assets that a business owns’.

So who should you trust to create this critical presence for your small business? There are a multitude of web design companies trying to win your business, each having their own skills, style, and specialities. Use this checklist to aid you in finding the best website designer to assist you to establish and grow your brand online.

Look at their portfolio.

The portfolio of a web designer can reveal a lot about their design style, as well as about their past experience in making different kinds of websites for a variety of companies. Analyse the appearance and functionality of all of the websites in the portfolio. Does the website designer make websites for mobile?

Are they able to put together an excellent ecommerce website? Do they have a style that is fun and full of colour, or is their style corporate and slick? Does the portfolio demonstrate a broad range of web design over various industries, or does the website designer specialise in a specific niche?

How effective is the web design company’s communication?

Take note of these three key matters when making contact with a web design company:

1. How simple is it to contact them? Whether you wish to discuss your website needs by email, telephone, Skype or web chat, you ought to be able to locate current contact details on the web designer’s web site.

2. How much time does it take to get a response? If the amount of time it takes them to reply to your first query than you think is appropriate, do not assume that this will improve when you begin working together.

3. Is their reply both professional and personal? If a person cannot make an effort with an email, it does not suggest good things about their work ethic. Badly drafted phrases, a lot of slang or informal language, or an obvious unfamiliarity of the content in your email message are all warning signs that communication going forward may be exasperating.

Seek authentic testimonials.

It is not sufficient to just read the testimonials page on the web designer’s website. Take an extra step to be sure that you make the correct choice. Request contact details of previous clients. Approach businesses who are showcased in the portfolio to request feedback on their experience dealing with the web designer. An experienced and professional web design company should not hesitate to provide you with lots of verifiable reviews from their previous clients.

Does the website designer show an interest in your business?

They ought to be interested in your business! A website designer needs to have knowledge of your business in order to be able to design a website that meets your requirements and the needs of your customers. Their questions ought to ask about the desired look and functionality of your website, as well as discovering what role you want to play in updating and maintaining your website.

Agree on deliverables, deadlines & the workflow of your web design project 

Both you and the chosen website designer should agree on the project schedule for the design and building of your website. You do not want to to spend months fretting about the website, constantly badgering the web designer for progress updates. Ask whether you can view initial concepts of your web design and request alterations before sign off.  You should also agree on milestones for each step in the design process; and enquire about any project management tools that can be used to assist in making communication and collaboration simpler.

Above all, take the time to look around and complete your research before making a commitment to a website designer. Select someone whose skills and capabilities you have confidence in and who you are happy working with. By establishing a positive working relationship early on you’ll be in a better position to rely on them in the long term. Using a website designer you can call on for fixes and updates is a massive advantage to a small business.

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