(read time 3 minutes)
When you shop for a company to build your website you should look beyond the initial cost, and the regular maintenance costs. During initial meetings you should be paying attention to more important long range items like how well you and the design company get along, how well they read your needs and wants. Make sure you and the company are on the same page when it comes to your website. If you want to be a part of the design process, does the salesperson offer to let you contribute? Do you have input into the design or does he or she tell you what the site will look like? How often will you be able to see the progress of the site while it’s being built and how many times are you allowed to make changes? What is their time frame to completion? Does it fit with your schedule? Does the company have writers, researchers, and graphic designers to make sure they’re taking care of all of your needs? Bottom line, does the design company realize what your needs are?
As the owner of a website design firm, I realize that some clients want us to do everything during the website build and some what total control of the project. We recently were hired by a dance studio to build their site. As a very creative group of people, they realize that we were the experts in design as they are the experts in dance. We initially met with them with ideas and they basically said you guys are the experts, do what you do best. My designers were excited to be given free reign on the project and everyone turned out happy with the finished project. I was able to read what they wanted from our initial meeting and we delivered. On the other hand a different company wanted to have input on every decision from color choice to photo placement. We accommodated with weekly Skype meetings were we shared layout and design changes throughout the project. This owner was very hands on and continues to be, again we tackled the project differently but everyone was happy with the outcome because of the process we used to deliver. When he and I initially met, we set up a plan to make sure he stayed actively in the loop.
Point I’m trying to make here is that the design company you choose should be able to get a feel for what you need in the beginning of your relationship. You will partner with your designer for a long time. Initial investment will be outweighed in the long run by customer service. A good design company will be able to tailor your relationship to your needs during the initial building process and should continue that same communication throughout your relationship.