Choosing a website design company – part 1

Choosing a website design company should be easy, but it isn’t.  Ensuring that you get value for money and that you end up with a suitable website at the end of the process is extremely difficult to foresee.

One of the easier things when choosing a designer is that you can see their work first hand – they will have their own website which should be the absolute best work that they can do and you should also be able to go to their portfolio to see their list of happy customers.  Then you can just compare a few designers and go with the one that you like.

It’s nice and easy up until now, but this is where it can get difficult.  If you were choosing a plumber you’d get them round and you’d say “I’ve got a plumbing problem, please fix it”, and they would ask a few questions about what the problem is before diagnosing the problem and then fixing it.  Simple. 

Web designers should take the same approach with their clients, but many of them will turn up, ask you what you need rather than establishing your requirements for themselves, and then go off and do what you’ve asked for rather than applying their own experience and expertise and doing what you actually need (an important distinction).  They’ll then come back with the end product and you will probably be quite happy with it, but you’ll probably be ignorant of how much more your website could be doing for you.

A good web designer should get to know you and your business and through conversations with you should be able to establish what your aspirations for the website are and what problems you’re trying to address with the website.  Only through really getting to know what you do and what you want from the website can you get a website solution that will really work for you and do what you want it to do, whether that is building up your brand, attracting new business or providing relevant information.

Gregor Spowart is a partner in Mass Media Design, a website design and web development company based in Reading (Berkshire), Swindon (Wiltshire) and Cardiff.  Gregor is an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialist.