It’s never been more important than it is today for small businesses and individuals to have a strong, professional online presence. Along with that, unless you know how to create and maintain a website all on your own, it’s critical to choose the right web design company that can deliver your needs at your price, and meet your expectations.
Today, we’ll discuss some of the things you must take into consideration when choosing the right web design company, and how to target digital marketing agencies that can help you and your business. By following these simple steps, you’ll quickly be able to narrow down a short-list of companies that will both fit your budget, and provide the deliverable you need to get what you want when it comes to spending time and doing business online.
Step One: Figure Out Your Budget
Before you ever look at any digital marketing companies or web design firms, it’s crucial you know what you want to spend. Some seekers can only afford a shoestring budget with limited funding and are better off seeking out lower-end web design and SEO (search engine optimization) help that comes with far more limited perks and services. Some firms need results immediately and may be forced to pay a premium for rushed work. Your specific situation may have its own unique conditions for which you must account.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know going in how much money you’re willing to spend for services, and how that contract looks (i.e., are you paying them a monthly premium for ongoing service, or is it a one-time fee, with part due upfront and the rest due upon completion of the project?). It’s also critical to over-budget slightly, as major projects like web design sometimes have a tendency to see cost over-runs when clients want late additions, or need extra services. To that end, we recommend setting a budget that you could potentially over-run by as much as 10%, to be on the safe side and ensure you receive the exact finished product you want and need.
Step Two: Pricing And Fees
Digital marketing companies and other web design agencies may not always publicly list out their pricing packages, but it’s easy to seek it out upon contacting them and inquiring about your project. It’s critical you do your homework early and often here, so you know exactly what you’re getting into before any work begins. Talk to as many web design companies as you’re able, in order to get the best sense of who can do what, and at what price. Most firms offer similar packages and finished products, but not all companies do the exact same thing, or for the same price.
Additionally, it’s important to know if the packages include any other fees of any kind. Ask if there are any ongoing monthly costs (i.e. server or hosting fees) that need to be taken into account after the life of the project itself. Putting everything out on the table early lends itself to transparency and customer satisfaction, and any good digital marketing firm will be able to layout, defend, and support their pricing structure and fee requirements.
Step Three: Do You Know Their Clients?
Reputable digital marketing agencies will most times proudly offer a list or portfolio of past projects completed. It’s critical you go through this list and see the finished products; that will give you an idea of exactly what kind of work the company does, and what they are capable of with your potential project.
For example: if you run a cupcake shop and you’re in need of web design help, but the company you’ve sought out only does web work on behalf of heavy metal rock bands, would they be the best branding and design choice for your shop? Probably not. But the only way you’ll know that is if you seek out a potential company’s work portfolio, and see the style, design, and technical capabilities of the work they’ve done in the past. Finding a web design firm that’s the right ‘fit’ stylistically and aesthetically can sometimes be just as important as getting the budget set perfectly when it comes to working with web design and SEO agencies.
Step Four: Customer Support And Updates
Neither web design nor digital marketing is ever really ‘one-time’ activities. That is after the initial work is completed, one must continue to update, publish new content, and post new information to keep your company’s online presence strong and relevant. Because of that, it’s important you inquire with potential SEO firms and digital marketing agencies about their ongoing support, and exactly what they offer after the completion of your initial design project. Many companies offer a dedicated point of contact for you to call when there’s a problem, for example, but that person is not likely to be available 100% of the time. What happens if your site goes down one night, and you need technical support at midnight? Is there a backup plan in place to assist you during non-business hours?
Furthermore, it’s important to know who will be responsible for updates on your site, or with your project, after the initial web design or search engine optimization work is completed. In some instances, the business owner (you) may know enough to make small updates here and there (i.e., publishing a blog post, or adding a picture). But when it comes time to add a technical aspect to your website, who will do that? Does the digital marketing firm offer any ongoing support in that fashion, or will there be a new cost for each event?
Step Five: Make A Plan!
Once you’ve worked through some of these criteria, you’re ready to go forth and make a plan! Set concrete, achievable, and realistic criteria with deadline expectations, so everybody involved knows exactly what is expected, and when. Make sure there’s no gray area or uncertainty about what might be expected, and communicate clearly with the web design firm of your choice to ensure deliverables are produced at the time and to the level of quality that everyone has agreed upon collectively.
Specificity is key here, and you’ll be far more successful in managing the project the more clear and direct you can be. Certainly, you can set some wiggle room here and there within your goals and timeline, but it’s important to be on the ball and concrete in your expectations so there’s no confusion about what is to be done, to what degree, and when.
There you go! You’re now well on your way to finding the right web design company to meet your needs. Working in this realm can sometimes be a lengthy, technical process, to be sure, but when you do it right and find the right SEO firm that truly meets your needs, you get back strong results in spades.
Get in touch with us if you think we’re right for you as the best digital marketing agency in Charleston!