For some small business owners, shopping for a website company is like shopping for a great pair of shoes and that perfect cocktail dress. For them, just the thought of shopping sends shivers of joy through them and the anticipation of spending hours in stores and malls is just too much to bear! For others, it’s sheer, painstaking torture and they can’t wait for the ordeal to be over. Just pull all my teeth instead! But – the outcome is worth it when you present yourself to the world in all your glory – looking great and knowing you found the perfect outfit! It really represents you and you know you look just smashing!
Weird analogy – we know – but most of us it’s a visual that we can either smile with.. or not. As a business owner, building your website can be like buying a perfect pair of shoes. We strive to make it an experience that is fun and brings joy to your business life. Just as you know what you want in a great cocktail dress, the same can be said (if you really use your imagination!) for shopping for a website company. So… what do you look for? These are some things to think about when deciding on a website designer -
Is the website designer interested in YOUR business? They should be asking questions about your business, who your target client is, what are your goals for your business? You want to make sure your website represents you and your brand. “You on a website.”
Do you like what they've done so far? Look at their portfolio of work and make sure you LIKE what they’ve done. Generally, designers have a “style.” Do you like their style and does it work with your brand?
Do they have a process for onboarding? Ask them how they work, the process they use and what, if any, 3rd party applications they use to streamline the process. This could be a project management system that you will use or a content gathering management system. If they use 3rd party platforms, are you comfortable using them?
Who will you be working with? Small companies have a completely different structure than a larger digital agency. You want to make sure you know who your contact will be, how you will communicate and what happens if you have a concern or issue you want to discuss? How accessible is the owner of the company? This person you developed a relationship with may not be the person you speak to about your website design.
Will you own your website? A disturbing trend in this business is to “lease” websites to clients then reuse them when the lease is up. Make sure the website is yours once you’ve paid for it. Additionally, make sure the website designer is building it on a platform you will own. Some of the "build your own" companies are not permanent, you will loose your site when you discontinue the subscription. Some website designers will design your website on these platforms because it's quicker and easier. Be clear about the plaform they will build on.
Do you have a deadline? If you have a deadline, have you communicated that with the website designer prior to starting? Website designers work on time and schedules. You need to make sure they can meet a deadline and communicating this ahead of time resolves a great many issues!
Just like working with any company, relationships are key. Over the next several months, you will work very closely with your website designer. Make sure you LIKE them and you like the way they work. Your website is crucial to the success of your business - it is your 24/7 employee and you want to make sure you get the best from it.
The goal - have a website that reflects your company and brand, built on time and on budget and is a site you will be proud of! So, just like the cocktail dress and great shoes, you will show off your site and your company and be the life of the party!