When you’re picking a website design company to complete your new website, it’s important to pick a partner wisely. This partner company will ultimately be responsible for one of your company’s biggest assets. A website should not only be functional, the design and appearance should fit in seamlessly with the rest of your brand. Your website functions as your online storefront, and it should be capable of driving traffic to your business 24/7.
Many business owners and managers who are tasked with spearheading new website development, or a website redesign, find it difficult to choose the right website designer in Toronto. Many of these non-technical people are paralyzed with indecision because they feel like they lack the necessary knowledge to communicate with the web design companies they’re interviewing. Unfortunately, this belief has led many people to partner with the wrong company because they’re too afraid to ask questions. Today, we’re here to offer some expert guidance on choosing the right Toronto web design company for your next website project.
Determine Your Goals
The first step in any web design project is determining the scope of the job. Does your business need a single-page website to advertise a brick-and-mortar store? Or will you eventually expand into selling products or services online? All of these decisions are important to discuss, as they will determine not only the scope of this initial project, but also the way that you interact with your website moving forward. Before you reach out to any website designer, have an internal meeting or brainstorming session to help you determine your goals for the website. Identify a few websites you like, and some that you dislike. Try and clarify your needs as much as possible, while still remaining open to the input you’ll eventually be getting from your web development partner.
Determine the Level of Support You’ll Need
Once you’ve determined what type of website you need, and what your company’s goals for the website are, the next step is determining the level of support you’ll need after the website is built. Websites are not static entities, so it’s important to figure out whether you’ll want the company you hire to be involved after the website launches or whether you’re able to make further changes and modifications in-house. This will have an impact on what company you’re able to hire.
Balance Value and Cost
With the wealth of beautiful, free templates available today, it’s difficult to tell how much a website costs just by looking at it. It’s what’s underneath that matters the most. Essentially, you’re paying for the expertise of the website designer that you hire, which includes the technical knowledge that will keep your website running efficiently long-term. You’re also paying for their time and their ability to listen to and interpret your company’s vision.
You may be tempted to use a DIY website builder, which brings your monthly costs down to around $5 per month for a website that looks fine. However, the expertise that you get with a reputable Toronto web design company is hard to put monetary value on. Plus, if your website is an invaluable part of your business and it goes down, you’ll actually be losing money every minute that it’s offline. Allocating a budget will help determine which company you’re able to work with and how many extra features and customizations you should expect.
Research Companies That Offer Web Design in Toronto
When you’re ready to start researching companies, it can be difficult to figure out where to start looking first. There are a lot of wonderful web development companies across Canada that can accomplish a beautiful website design. Toronto is a large place, but if you’re local, it makes sense to start with local Toronto companies. It can help to start with companies that have clients within your industry, as this experience offers them a deeper understanding of your needs.
Once you’ve picked out a few companies that interest you, check out both their portfolio and their own website. Any good web development company should be showcasing their best work with a well-functioning website that’s easy to understand and that is appealing. If their own website is convoluted and slow, it doesn’t bode well for the service they’re offering. When you go through their portfolio, check to make sure that they’re able to showcase a range of projects, which proves that they’re creative and open to unique ideas.
Set Up Interviews and Meet Their Team
Once you’ve done your due diligence online and have a good sense of each company’s portfolio, the next step is setting up an interview. Be aware that many companies who advertise web development services are actually salespeople who will outsource a lot of their work to an overseas website designer. Canada has lots of incredible website designers, so if communication and transparency are important to you, ask if you can meet some of the team during your initial interview. If the company is unwilling to open their offices to you, they may be misrepresenting their business.
The interview process is your chance to tell each company about your needs and to ask them questions about their process. Here are some key questions that we recommend asking.
- Does your organization have experience building websites for any other company in my industry?
Having experience in your industry isn’t a necessity, but it is a plus. It means that they’re already familiar with some of your needs and will be able to recommend more personalized solutions.
- Which content management system do you use?
Most companies specialize in a small number of content management systems (CMS), or they may have their own in-house. Regardless of which category they fall into, they should be able to discuss the merits of each and advise you in an unbiased way.
- What steps would this project involve for you?
Any great website development company should get excited about their work. They should also be able to explain it in a straightforward way. When you ask them about their process, make sure that they’re able to explain it in layman’s terms. If they throw a ton of complex jargon around without stopping to check that you understand, it’s a sign that your communication styles may not mesh.
- Do you outsource any of your work?
Outsourcing is a useful tool that many website designers use. If there are more technical design elements like fonts or illustrations required for your project, they may bring on additional outside assistance. However, a company should always be open about that with their clients. If they do outsource overseas, check out the other side of their business, and make sure that you’re aware of the benefits as well as the disadvantages of these types of agreements.
- How does SEO influence your work?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the key to improving your website’s search engine rankings and getting your site out in front of a greater number of potential customers. Any good web design company should have SEO at the heart of their design process and may even be able to support your website through digital marketing after the design process is over. During the interview process, ask them about their approach to SEO and what strategies and tools they use. They should be able to explain their process and prove that they don’t resort to shady tactics like over-optimized text and suspicious link-building schemes.
- What is your next available design date?
Any professional web design company should have a roster of clients, and if they can start on your project immediately, it’s almost never a good sign. This generally is a signal that their business isn’t as successful as they’re making it seem.
- What are my options for maintenance?
The majority of websites are not static entities, and they should be able to grow and change with your business. Most business owners don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of website maintenance, which is why many website design companies offer maintenance packages. During the interview process, check to see whether they offer different packages for maintenance and support and how they price these services.
After you’ve finished the interviews, the next step is picking the right company. The tools that we’ve given you today should help you feel more comfortable during this process.
Ultimately, the right website design company should make you feel like they have your best interests at heart. Open communication and clear expectations can help start the partnership off on the right foot.
At Blue Tide, we understand that trusting another company with your website design or website redesign can be difficult. We’re one of the premier companies offering website design in Toronto, and we love to talk shop with potential clients. Contact us today to hear more about our approach to web design and see whether it’s the right fit for your project.