As a small business, there’s no question that you have a lot of expenses on your plate. Getting your business onto the web is important, but is it really necessary to hire a professional? As a website company of course I will say yes! But here are some reasons WHY and what you should look for in a designer.
One of the first things I would highly suggest is looking at their portfolio. Do you like the look and feel of what they are showing, or do you need more than what they are showing? Just because it’s not shown, does not mean they are not capable of it, maybe they have just not been given the chance to work with someone who has the same needs. BUT, does all their work look the same? Is the same exact layout used for all the websites you are looking at, or is there variation? If they all look the same on the front end, I would be willing to bet, they are all the same on the backend, and Google won’t like that! If you talk to the designer and like what they have to say, call someone on their portfolio and ask them about their experience with the person/company.
Check Google reviews. Google is a more trusted source for reviews than some of the other options out there. It is rumored that some review sights have paid versions, so those that are paying to be on there may only have the more positive reviews showing, not the negative. Whereas someone who is not paying may have bad reviews showing before any more recent positive ones. From everything we are aware of, Google doesn’t play that game.
Google their company name. Do they come up first in the search and on the map to the right? They should. I’m not talking about the paid ads, scroll past that. If you put just their company name, if things are done right, they should be at the top. A Google listing should be on the right hand side as well. What other listings do they have? They should for the most part take up the first page with their company name. Now if they are a new company, this may not happen as fast, but an established company should have some “teeth” with their name.
What all do they offer? Are their services clearly stated as to what all is included? Is their website easy to navigate? Did it load quickly? Is their content vague or do you get a good idea of what all they can do for you?
Do they even HAVE a website? Yep, believe it or not, we have come across web designers who do not have their own website. That’s a little scary if you ask me. How can you tell if they are even a legitimate company and or what kind of work they can do?
Are they responsive? Do they answer emails, answer the phone, or at least call you back if you leave a message? If the answer is no, think about this. Your website goes down. How long are you going to have to wait until you hear back from them for help getting the issue resolved? Do they even have a phone number to be reached at. or do you have to submit a ticket and wait?
Do they outsource their website work? Believe it or not, we have come across companies that are just the middle man. They sell you the job, outsource it to India or Pakistan, and charge you WAY more than what they are paying to have it done. There could be communication issues too. If you are concerned about keeping it built int he U.S.A. make sure to ask this question of the company: Who Does the Work? Is there support once they finish building the website?
We hope this has given you some things to think about. Some of these things do not apply to just web designers. We appreciate you taking the time to read this, and as always, if you have any questions, please reach out to us!