In addition to looking at any web design company's bottom line numbers in their proposals, keep in mind: just like with any specialist (consider your industry and how you're different from your competitors), not all web designers are the same.
When it comes to selecting a web design firm, consider these points, and be sure to ask these questions:
- Do they do custom designs or use templates? Are they using a template that'll make your site look like so many others, or are they developing a custom design that's unique to your organization? If the designer’s site looks like it’s based on a template, that’s what you’ll be getting for your site as well.
- Ask for proof of their SEO successes. Do they research what phrases people Google to find your products & services? We can tell you exactly what phrases people Google to search what you do. Using the wrong word or phrase will not help people find your site (unless they search for you by name). And since more people don’t know you (or us) than do, the right keywords are critical.
- Do they keep up with Google's algorithms? Search engines are using social signals (ie: the things your friends or customers link to, "Like," and share) as relevant to their search engine rankings. Then there's what happens on your website that are indicators of how worthy your website of ranking well, which you can see here.
- What content management system do they use? Getting a content management system (CMS) is like getting a new car – or spouse. Be sure to take a “test drive” or two before making a commitment. If the CMS isn’t low maintenance, it’ll make life more difficult than it needs to be. Click here to see that Drupal is one of the top 3 CMS’s around.
- Do they do SEM (Search Engine Marketing/Internet Marketing)? It's probably a fact, that more people don't know you than do. So how do you show up when they're searching for what you do if they don't know your name. SEM: using AdWords can put you, literally, at your prospects fingertips when they're online searching.
- Do they build responsive websites? Google changed their mobile search algorithms to demote websites not built as responsive mobile web design. Make sure your web design firm has expertise to build responsive websites.
- Do they know about Content Marketing? Content marketing is creating content that your audience Likes, links to, and shares. When you do that, you'll be way ahead of your competitors. Since you're an expert in what you do, show it by educating your audience, especially if your competitor's aren't.
Check out the personality of their website. Does the design firm have dumb stock photos on their site? If so, that’s what you’ll be getting on your site!
Do they say how awesome they are? And do you believe them?
Lots of companies say that, but no one believes it when they say it about themselves. If that's how they position their firm, that's how they'll position you, and that's definitely not customer-focused marketing. You want your website to educate, engage and entertain, and if a web design firm can't do that for themselves, it's very likely they won't be able to do it for you.
We like to share this type of information because we think we bring these things to the table, and most other web design firms don't. So know what to ask, and when you do, the chances of getting the right Columbus web design firm for you will go way up.