Hiring A Web Designer
Finding The Right Web Designer For Your Project
Hiring A Web Design Company
Hiring a web design company isn't an easy task. Even if you have a solid understanding of web design and content management systems, it can be difficult. Even in cases when you have specific ideas about what you want, there is so much more that goes into the design process. One issue that many don't take into consideration is whether your web design company actually designs websites. You would think that's a given, but it's actually quite rare nowadays.
Website Design Experience
When it comes to web design experience, I rarely meet someone who understands how to design a website. That's fine if I'm talking to a plumber or lawyer, but I'm talking about people who work at a digital marketing agency. Often, they are graphic designers, with little understanding of marketing. More often than not, they simply don't have experience, but are great at selling website design. That's a good thing; or rather, it's not necessarily a bad thing. The problem usually is that they oversell their services or expertise, and their clients end up unhappy, and looking for a new web design company just a short time later. More times than not, the issue has more to do with the fact that the person designing your website, is often on the other side of the world.
Local Web Designer Myth
In many cases, you'd be surprised to know that many, if not most website design companies are actually sales companies part of larger companies, that don't do most of the work in-house. Many of these digital marketing companies sell a service, but have the work outsourced to web developers in other countries. So, you could be dealing with a web designer in Portsmouth, NH, that is actually part of a larger company in Boston, who outsources their developement to another country. Sounds confusing, doesn't it? Yeah, it does to us too.
This is a common practice in our industry, and many friends whom I have known that used to develop websites, no longer do that because they can make far more money selling the service, instead of doing the work. Of course, they don’t share this with the client, as the source of products and services is not always disclosed. I’m not saying this is necessarily wrong either; because in many cases, these developers have some basic experience and decided to focus more attention on sales. The issue usually is that the clients' are not aware of this process and it can sometimes create bottlenecks or other issues.
So while you think you are working with a local web designer, you are often just working with a local sales company, connected to another company, that offshores most of their work. They often use elaborate photos of their "agency" to show all their workers, but in many cases, it's just a bunch of friends that appeared on their photos to beef up their presence. That's fine, but I personally believe it's best to notify a customer if you are using outsourced developers.
For the most part, it's not a problem... EXCEPT, that in many cases, you may request a basic revision to your website, and wait several weeks. Perhaps everytime you make a request during the web development process, there seems to be large gaps between the time you made the request, until the work is actually done. That's not usually because the agency is busy... why would anyone want to be designing multiple websites for multiple companies at the same time? Rather, it's because they submit the change to their outsourced labor abroad, wait for the change, and once they get it, they tell you about it. So, it's an inefficient system that may work for some businesses, but I personally prefer to make the revisions for my clients directly.
Another issue with this has to do with security. Hear about all those data breaches with private information? That's because often times developers are using companies with a high turnaround on the other side of the world. If large corporate conglomerates and even credit scoring agencies are at risk, how safe do you think your website is? As far as safety is concerned, of course anyone can hack into a website and steal information with the right tools. However, the problem is multiplied the more unknown people have access to your website. Do you think that person overseas cares about the security of your website, or the integrity of the data that your website can provide?
Choosing The Right Web Design Company
When it comes to picking a website design company, look for a company with someone that can answer your basic questions on the spot, without having to research it and get back to you. Find someone who can manage your project, and at least can show you some examples of their work. Finally, make sure they are a reputable company with good reviews, a good business history, and not a company with a high turnover. Do you trust your project to a company with lots of turnover, or with only a few years experience? Also, find out about referral fees. Often times it may seem appealing to use a company because an outside advertising agency referred you to them; but upon further inspection, you would find out they are getting a recurring finders fee. This is very common in the industry, especially print and radio, who have been losing sales for decades. So, even some of those with great referrals are not always as good as they seem; you really need to check out the whole package before signing up with anyone.
If you are ready to work with a web design company that has decades of history, excellent referrals and client testimonials, contact us. We have been designing websites since 1994, and are ready to work for you.