Design & Development
Published September 12th, 2016 by

What Should a Business First Consider Before Hiring a Web Design Company?

What should a business first consider before hiring a web design company?

What should a business first consider before hiring a web design company?

Over my 15 years in the visual communications business, I have worked on all types of web designs for small to large companies, e-commerce sites, content managed sites and more. When I was first starting out, I designed and developed these sites entirely by myself. Eventually, I put together a strong creative team that I continue to work with today. Over the years we have encountered all types of situations, some good and some more challenging. As a result, we have discovered how to establish a reliable workflow for developing websites with ease. Below are a list of considerations, based on our collective experience, to keep in mind when hiring a web company for your next project.

It can be overwhelming when searching for a good design company and most people don’t know what to look for when exploring design and development help. There are lots of companies out there who claim to be award-winning or boast to have worked with the top world-wide companies. So, how do you distinguish the good ones from the bad?

Before you approach a web design company to build or rebuild your site, there are a few key points you should know about your own company. If you work with a good design company, they will most likely start by issuing a fact-finding questionnaire to better understand your business and your goals. This will help identify your customers, your competition, your likes and dislikes. If you already have a good understanding of what’s most important to your business, having these answers will help the design company your working with to determine the best way to approach your site. At SAC Designs, we always start with a detailed client questionnaire before we begin working on a site. You can see ours here.

Before approaching a web design company, here is what you should know:

  • What type of website are you looking to create?
    Are you creating an informational site, e-commerce, blog, etc.? This will help the company you choose to better develop a best approach.
  • Do you need content developed for your site? You may have a basic idea of what type of information you would like to share, but an experienced copywriter will know how to create related content for the web that can help you get better exposure in search engines by incorporating rank improving key words.
  • Do you want to manage the site yourself or hire the web company for on-going maintenance? A content managed site is recommended so that you or someone in your company can make updates as needed. With today’s technology, I don’t think there’s any need to incur the additional expense of hiring an outside studio to manage your updates.
  • Do you have a registered domain? If not, the web company you choose can help you set one up and pick the best host for your site.
  • What is your time frame? It’s important to begin your project with a clear goal of when you would like your content to be live.  
  • Do you have a budget? Having an idea of what type of budget range you are working with will also help to determine what is possible for your project.

Find the right fit

If you were to search for web design companies in Boston, for example, you would get about 7,000 results. Companies listed at the top of this search list most likely paid a significant amount of money to get there. So what’s the best way to find the right company for you? A good way to start looking is by reaching out to the connections that you already have. I’m not talking about “I had my nephew create my site for me.” Instead, try looking to your social networks. My go-to place is LinkedIn, which makes it easy to reach out to your existing connections who can make an introduction or can offer suggestions of other companies they may have used.

If you can’t find anyone through your social networks and decide to do some Google searches, you may want to check out their portfolio first and see if they appear to be a good fit both visually and strategically. For example, if you are a small business with a small budget, you may want to stay away from companies doing work for large corporations.

Here are a few online resources that may work for you:

• LinkedIn
• InDeed
• Behance

Side note: It’s best to stay away from companies that claim they can make a site for a few hundred dollars. You get what you pay for as they say. Also, if the company’s own site does not look good on a mobile device, that’s a good indication to look elsewhere.

Tip: See how long it takes for a company to email you back with any questions. If a company takes a few days to respond, this is a good indicator of how communication could be throughout the entire process. Another good idea is to ask if you can speak to any past clients for a referral.

Outsourcing your web design is most likely not the best choice

I often hear of companies outsourcing their work to different countries in order to try to save money, but in the long run this decision is likely to cost more. At SAC Designs we take pride in living and working in the US, and you can find just as many good designers and programmers here as you can outside of the country. You have to consider that when you outsource your project, you most likely will be dealing with a middleman agency who can manage the time difference and language barriers. So, if you’re looking for some guidance and regular check-ups on how the work is going, I would strongly suggest not taking this route.

The process of choosing a web design company
When you first approach a potential web design company and have shared with them the basic information about your own company, they should then be able to explain their process and how they can help develop a website that speaks to your brand and your vision.  Ask for a comprehensive proposal that breaks down all aspects of the design and programming process including cost, timelines and terms. The process usually breaks down to something similar to this:

• Creating a sitemap – The flow of the list of pages on your site and how they connect to each other
• Content strategy – This would include auditing any existing content as well as recommending new content to get the best results in the search engines
• Design – Creating unique design layouts based on your likes and dislikes in order to help develop a look for your unique brand that translates well on all devices including phone, tablet and desktop.
• Programming – Are they using the most current web standards and are they testing on the latest web browsers? Are they using a CMS? (Content Management System) so that you can easily make changes?
 SEO – Will they help you with search engine optimization for better rankings? Most companies won’t say they can get you on the first page of Google and if they do beware. They should, however, set up your page with at least basic SEO, and often can make recommendations of other companies they partner with that can assist further.
• Launch – Will they help you upload everything to the server and will they help you in the following weeks if any errors occur?

One final question to ask

Can I make future updates on my own?
You may not want to handle this personally, but you should get the option to manage your website on your own. You don’t want to be tied to a web company to make all future updates at additional cost to your bottom line.

About SAC Designs


SAC Designs, located in Stoneham Ma. We speacialize in print, web and multimedia design.

Our talented, experienced web designers, programmers and developers have been providing marketing to top Fortune 500 companies for more than 15 years.

The SAC team consists of experienced designers and a network of consultants and design groups, providing them with a wide range of skills and capabilities, utilizing state-of-the art technologies to create fresh, unique, and cutting edge designs across all media platforms. Clients range from small start up companies to worldwide agencies.

SAC Designs








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