Tips for Choosing a Web Designer for Your Business Web Site

How to Choose a Web Design Firm

Simple. There are plenty of web designers available. You do your homework on them. Then, you start asking questions and taking notes. You want to go with the best because your web designer is, in essence, your partner. You want to choose a designer that takes YOUR business seriously.

What questions do you ask?

When choosing a web designer for your business website, there are several important questions to ask. Creating your website can be a tricky process. Choosing the best web design firm for your business website is critical. And if your company is like most small businesses, you probably do not have web design experience. Building your website will take time and work. And working with a web designer is no easy task. So, choose the right web design company from the start and avoid do-overs, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Web Designer

1. What kind of web experience do you have?

For starters, find out what kind of design experience your potential design firm has. Do they have experience with content management systems such as Joomla or Drupal? Do they have experience working with “raw” HTML? Has the web design company created websites similar to yours? Do they have relevant industry experience? If you want to sell products through your website and accept credit card payments, does the web design company you consider have e-commerce hosting experience?

2. Do you have a portfolio that I can review?

An experienced web design company will have a solid portfolio of websites created for other clients. Ask for links to another site the design company has developed and review each. Do you like what you see? Do the sites have a style that appeals to you?

3. Do you have any references?

In addition to reviewing websites, ask for customer references. Contact their clients and ask them about their experience with the web design company. Were they happy with the results? Did they get what they paid for? How much did they pay? Would they recommend them? How long did it take? What didn’t they like about the company? How responsive was the company when they had questions?

4. What are your prices?

The most important step in pricing is to ensure the potential design company outlines all the prices associated with the work and puts it all in writing. Never enter into a deal unless all costs are well understood upfront.

Ask them a bit about how they manage payments. This is a good sign if they respond in a very business-like and professional manner. If they throw out answers like – “Don’t worry, we’ll manage” or “Whatever you are comfortable with,” don’t be fooled. This is trouble waiting to happen. Get the price in writing before you begin the project.

5. Do you have experience with search engine optimization?


Designing a website for search engines with “clean” code that utilizes cascading style sheets is essential to indexing your content in leading search engines like Google and Bing. Most small business owners do not have the budget to hire a separate marketing firm to work on search engine optimization (SEO), so your web designer must have experience in SEO. A good designer will know that design and SEO go hand-in-hand.

6. Do you have experience with social media marketing?

Many marketing firms do know the first thing about social media marketing. These firms are stuck in the past and are less effective than they pretend to be. Be sure you work with a designer who knows how to set up a Facebook fan page for your business and design a customized Twitter profile. This is important because you will want your social media properties to mesh with the design of your website. The website and social media pages should complement one another.

7. What is your process for designing or building a website?

Ensure you ask your potential web design company about the process they use. Do they design a website, or do they build a website? An experienced Internet professional should understand the difference between these two concepts. If they don’t, they’re probably not as experienced as they claim to be. Building a website is a highly technical process while designing a website is a highly creative process. Many advertising firms specialize in website design, which does not necessarily require web development skills. At the same time, many firms design websites yet outsource the creative portion of the project. From the beginning, find out the process for the firm you are considering.

8. How long will it take?

Perfectionism can be a huge stumbling block in the fast-paced world of the Internet. Some designers are unable to compromise between quality and time-to-market needs. Test: See how long it takes you to receive a proposal.

9. What type of support is offered after the website launch?

You might want to continue looking if your design firm does not offer website maintenance. Most reputable design firms will offer “post-launch” maintenance for companies with an in-house webmaster.

10. Which web hosting providers do you work with?

If your design firm does not know the contacts’ first names at their favorite web design firm, this should raise a red flag. Most reputable web designers know not to choose a web host simply because they are the most popular or offer the cheapest web hosting. A reputable web design firm should know who to call and how to get results! Does your web designer work with a green hosting company? Environmentally friendly web hosting is becoming increasingly popular for business websites looking to implement an eco-policy.

Getting a little recognition on the W3 is hard, even in a niche market (especially in a niche market). You have less than 10 seconds to convince a site visitor to stick around long enough to learn about your services, products, or message quality. Web surfers are jagged out on information overload. They bounce if they don’t see what they want to see on your home page or a landing page. So, making a statement about your corporate culture and your business’s core values has to happen quickly. Visitors will never even see the “About Us” page if you don’t create a good impression – in 10 seconds. So, go green! An emblem or banner proclaiming that you employ green hosting makes an immediate statement about your online business. It says you care about the environment.

Do your homework when choosing a web design firm.

Finding a good web designer is getting harder and harder. Agencies and large projects are snatching the good designers. Good designers are creative people who need to think out of the box. They are overloaded with work and often won’t know about them because they don’t have time (or need) to market themselves. Doing your homework and asking the right questions is important to decide if they are right for the job.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.