Whether you manage a small business, charitable organization, or Fortune 500 company, choosing the right Orange County website design firm can quickly become a full-time research project. There are thousands of design firms to choose from, so what factors truly determine which design firm is best for your business?
Following are the primary considerations for choosing an Orange County web design firm.
* Customer service/access to support
* Credibility indicators of the design firm
* Portfolio and design experience
* Other services offered (domain renewal, hosting, SEO)
* Turnaround time
To find the best Orange County web design firm to meet your company’s needs, let’s explore each consideration in detail and how to identify and qualify the right firm for you.
Like many products and services we purchase, both personally and professionally, the decision about which Orange County web design firm to purchase often comes down to price. However, it is more important to know the value of the services rendered.
The price of your site’s development will depend on three factors: the features of the site, the amount of content, and the service options included with the design package. An example of this is hosting.
Since pricing varies by firm, following are several principles to use when determining the validity and value of a web design quote.
* Does the web design quote state one “all-inclusive” price for the entire project?
* Is there a recurring monthly fee for hosting?
* Is the site custom-built, or is it a customization of an existing template?
* Is there a separate fee for content development like writing sales copy?
* Is domain registration or management included in the package?
* Will the firm provide multiple design concepts prior to actual development?
To determine the value of the services offered, it is important to compare quotes from at least three firms. Looking for the best value is important in a competitive service market.
There is nothing worse than signing with a firm that offers a great product, only to find out the firm is impossible to contact. Consistent and open contact with your web design firm is important for ensuring success before, during, and after your web site is developed.
Throughout the design process, you may identify text, photos, or contact information you would like to change before the site goes live. For immediate questions regarding your site’s development, you will be glad to have immediate contact with the customer support staff by e-mail, telephone, or live chat.
If you are limited to e-mail technical support, consider other firms that offer a wider range of customer service options such as telephone and live chat support. E-mail is great for convenience, but only when it is convenient.
Does the design firm have experience working with similar types of businesses? Even if a designer does not have a website in his or her portfolio related to your industry, the firm you select should have a strong working knowledge of how to develop an effective site for your business type. Product and service web sites are not the same. Your designer should have a plan of action for developing a site that reaches the maximum number of prospective customers in your target market.
A few good questions to ask about a firm’s design experience are:
* Does the firm offer a number of diverse, finished web sites available for review?
* Will the firm conduct research regarding my competition?
* Will my site highlight the features, benefits, and value of my product or service?
* Has the firm outlined a plan of action for creating an effective site, from start to finish?
Design experience does not always need to relate to the type of web sites the firm has previously developed. If you have a specific look or design in mind, ask the firm if achieving a similar design is possible. The ultimate goal is to know you are going to get a tangible benefit out of your site through effective and affordable web design.
Many Orange County web design firms offer design services but do not provide other required services like hosting or domain name registration. Ideally, your web design company should be a full-service firm. The firm should at least offer basic hosting, domain registration, and search engine optimization services tailored to your needs. Research each firm to determine other key lines of business so that any future expansion of your site will be seamless as your business grows.
An effective website should take 30-60 days to go live from day production starts. Unless you are offering hundreds of individual products or services on your web site, the entire development process should take no longer than 60 days from start to finish. Turnaround time should include:
* Upload of your site to the hosting provider
* Configuration of any scripts or forms on your site
* Domain propagation (accessing your web site and e-mail via yoursite.com)
Hiring the cheapest, fastest, or most elaborate web design firm does not always equate to hiring the right web design firm. A limited amount of front-end research can save time and money in the long run and maximize the sales revenue from your web presence.