Once you’ve made the important decision to create (or update) your business’s online presence, another weighty choice is waiting in the wings:
Who are you going to task with this crucial project?
There’s certainly no shortage of options these days. An abundance of choice, however, doesn’t make the decision any easier. Should you opt for a do-it-yourself template that’s cheap on the front end but will cost you down the line? Or, should you call on a slick global firm whose cadre of services is more expansive—and expensive—than you could ever possibly need? For small to medium-sized businesses, the answer is usually somewhere in between.
In your search for the “Goldilocks zone” of website design, a local boutique agency is often the perfect solution. Unlike larger firms hawking mass-produced, cookie-cutter solutions or overly complicated and overly priced services, boutique agencies offer the flexibility to customise a website design solution for your business’s unique demands. The smaller client base of boutique agencies means that you’ll usually enjoy the advantages of direct owner involvement. And sourcing local talent means that help is always just right around the corner.
Boutique or big brand, local or global, there are 5 critical things you should consider when choosing a website design company.
1. What exactly are you paying for?
When it comes to website design, the old maxim “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be truer. If a solution for your business’s online presence seems too good to be true, it probably is. Find out what’s included in your web design company’s proposed fee. Do their deliverables end at a shiny new website, or is ongoing support built-in to the price? Does the site come equipped with a digital marketing strategy in place, or is it destined to languish in obscurity with no real chance of being discovered on search engines? Another important question to ask brings us to number 2 on the list…
2. Will you be expected to manage the content on your own?
Inexpensive templates with do-it-yourself content management systems (CMS) can seem like the ideal route for a budget conscious business looking for a polished site. That is until you realize that the real work of content integration is left to you. Few small to mid-sized business owners have the time or energy to run their business and play the roles of website manager and IT support. Opting for a design company that offers a finished website, complete with dynamic content, as well as ongoing support as your business grows, is an investment that will save you a whole lot of time, money, and headaches in the long run.
3. Will you have round-the-clock support?
For many of your customers, your website and your business are one in the same. You can’t afford to have your site go down—even at 3 in the morning. It’s important to keep this in mind when choosing a website design company. Will their support team be there when you need them, or will you be expected to troubleshoot bugs on your own? Can you get a real live human on the phone to talk them through the nuances of your issue, or are you expected to type questions into an instant messenger field and hope for a response? By hiring a website design company that’s committed to managing your site for you—24 hours a day, 365 days a year—you take the need for customer support out of the question.
4. What sort of creative chops does the design team have?
As a direct reflection of your business, your website should be sleek, stylish, and functional. It should be designed with the user in mind, with intuitive information architecture and effortless navigation. Designing a simple yet striking site is no easy task. It takes years of experience and cutting-edge coding know-how. The best way to know if a design team is up to the task of creating your business’s online presence is to learn how much experience they have under their belt, and what their portfolio looks includes.
5. Is the agency local Australian?
Choosing a locally owned and operated Australian web design company offers heaps of advantages. Your site is sure to perform better on locally based servers, giving your customers a quick, seamless online experience. You’ll have a support team right around the corner, providing the peace of mind that comes from working with your neighbours. And you’ll sleep just a little bit better at night knowing that you’re contributing to the strength of the Australian economy by keeping locals employed.
Choosing a website design company is one of the most important business decisions you’ll make. It can mean the difference between hours of aggravating troubleshooting and a professional site that all but runs itself. Keeping in mind these 5 critical factors will go a long way in making sure you make the right decision—both for today and for you business’s long-term future.