If you decide to go with a web design company to help get your business looking good on the web, you have a lot to consider. While hiring a company is probably an easier choice than trying to figure out web design yourself, there are still many aspects to consider.
Most often with web design companies you will work with one or a small team of specific designers. When it comes to deciding which company to go with, price is where your head should be; however everything else that matters when it comes to designing your web page has to do with the designer, so be sure to ask questions directly to the person you will be working with.
Keep in mind: Before going out to talk with design companies, have a rough idea of what you want your webpage to look like and how you want it to function. A designer will be able to give you tips and pointers, but if they are inexperienced they may sway you into a design simply because they know they can do it. Just remember that if you have found a good design company, they will be able to make your webpage look just the way you imagined.
What to Look for in a Design Company
A good web designer will have a portfolio of work to show you. When looking at a portfolio you should be looking for not only how good each web page might look, but how different all of the designs look. You want your designer to be versatile so they can work with you to really create what you want. Also ask to see a webpage they designed online that is up and running so you can see the type of interactivity work the designer is familiar with.
When you are looking at a portfolio, look for the originality in the designs. If the designer is using graphics that can be found on the internet, you are better off copy and pasting together a webpage yourself. Aside from only the originality of graphics, pay attention to the originality of the layout. There is web design software you can buy and use yourself that is complete with template layout pages, so you do not want to pay a designer to make a page look just like the every other company website.
Experience is not necessarily the most important thing when it comes to hiring a designer, but if you are hoping for a large webpage complete with videos and interactive links, experience will make a difference.
Pricing depends entirely on what kind of webpage you want (videos, interaction, graphics, etc.). However, be aware of how involved you want your web page to be in terms of features and length, and ask around different companies to make sure you get the best price. For a 10-15 page layout with standard features, you are looking at a cost of about $500-$2000 on average.
A good design company should have a basic webpage up for your company in about one week. If your web design is involved, the process could take up to one month. If a company tells you that it is going to take more than a month, ask them to go through with you what will take so long. It is possible that they have valid reasons, but if it is an availability issue you may be better off going with a different company.
Amanda DiSilvestro writes about topics ranging from web design to point of sale systems for Resource Nation, an online resource that provides POS systems comparison quotes for small businesses and entrepreneurs.