What Do You Look for in an Online Focused Agency?
Best Web Design Companies
Your website design lays the groundwork for how your brand is perceived by the customers in your market. It’s the ultimate market outreach tool and the primary reason customers decide to move forward. So, given the importance of that design, what are some of the criteria that go into choosing the right website design company?
Ultimately, today’s customer is constantly on the move, constantly in touch and always accessible. Accessing this mobile customer means your website needs to be responsive and mobile-friendly. The best web design companies take this to heart. They ensure that your website is not only user-friendly on mobile devices and smartphones, but easily navigable across all screen sizes.
With Google unveiling its mobile-friendly algorithm change in April of this year, your chosen web design company must be able to provide you with an all-encompassing design, one where your PageRank won’t suffer simply because you weren’t prepared for what’s been commonly referred to as “Mobilegeddon.” After all, mobile searches have easily surpassed laptop and desktop searches so having a responsive design is no longer simply an add-on – it’s a perquisite.
Maximum Use of Whitespace
Simple is good. Unfortunately, simple is often overlooked and downplayed by most design firms. However, the best firms make it a point to maximize whitespace. Whether it’s contrasting colors on your website in order to accentuate a certain background color, or ensuring that your website is easily-navigable by clearly distinguishing between content and links, there is something to be said for those firms who know how to use whitespace. In the end, it’s about not cluttering up the “above-the-fold” portion of a website, a portion that if mishandled can lead to high bounce rates.
Look for firms who have a reputation for producing engaging designs, ones with vivid images, colors and infographics. Your chosen firm should be able to find that all-important balance between maximizing white space and appealing to a specific audience with your chosen color codes.
A History of Performance and a Solid Portfolio
It’s critical that you work with a design firm that understands your market, your customers and your industry. This means they must have an established portfolio and not merely rely upon a bunch of cookie-cutter designs. You want to see the designs of similar businesses in similar market niches and verticals. You want to be able to see what your chosen firm has done in the past, how they’ve worked with similar clients and how they’ve put everything together.
Finally, ask for references that you can speak to directly. You need to make sure the firm you’ve chosen takes care of both the front-end and the back-end of website design.
Social Media Capable and Reputable
Social media isn’t just a tool to stay in touch with friends, family members and acquaintances. It’s really about creating a brand and creating traffic that isn’t driven solely by search engines like Google and Bing. In fact, a strong social media presence means your company is well-positioned against future Google Algorithm changes. After all, if more of your traffic comes from social media, then you’re better able to handle any curve balls Google throws at you.
While having someone to help you navigate the constantly changing world of social media is important, it’s equally important in terms of whom you choose to design your website. In this case, make it a point to review the social media reputation of the firm you’re likely to work with. Review what customers think and how the firm is perceived. In today’s marketplace, brands are defined by customers in real-time and if your chosen firm has a bad reputation, then social media is where you’ll find that information.
Someone to Talk to
The best design firms are the ones you can speak to. Do not work with any website design firm that doesn’t have a number you can call or an address you can verify. The last thing you need is to find yourself working with a firm you can’t speak to about problems they can’t or won’t resolve. At the very least they should have an email address, and or the ability to hold live chats online. Remember, this is a firm you are entrusting with the design of the ultimate customer-facing tool. Do not work with a firm where you aren’t able to perform a thorough background check on.
Front-End and Back-End Services
The bells and whistles are the front-end of your website. This includes the layout, how easy it is for users to navigate your website and how easy it is to convert visitors into customers. However, the back-end is equally important. It includes all the hardware and software that ensures your website is up and running every single day. Make sure your firm has a solid reputation providing both.
Make sure you work with a full-service turnkey solutions provider, one that provides an entire package, even if you yourself don’t need all of it. A full-service provider is one that demonstrates an aptitude for handling multiple digital advertising requirements in addition to designing a website. Some of the best design firms are ones who not only help redesign websites, and get them up and running, but also ones that help companies with content creation, in addition to setting up a viable social media presence. You may not need those resources now, but if and when you do, you’ll be glad you’re working with a firm that offers those core competencies.
Choosing a design firm ultimately comes down to doing your homework and being comfortable with who you’re dealing with. Make sure to do your due diligence. Ask for references, look at their portfolio, and make sure they’ve clearly demonstrated the ability to work for similar companies with similar needs in similar markets.