There’s just no getting around it. You’re going to have to make a decision sooner or later.
But which one is the right one? We hear this question ALL the time. And every one you talk to has a different answer, which only makes it that much more difficult right? So here are a few things we’ve learned in our 17+ years working on the Internets.
Know your own project first
You need to set some goals. It’s not so easy to do but don’t panic, there are some basic steps you can follow to get you on the right track. You don’t have to work out every detail of what you want in your site, and what you want it to do. That’s part of your design firm’s job to help you figure out. But there are things you can and should know up front.
A few questions to ask yourself
- What are the top 5 things you want to accomplish with your new site?
- Do you already have a brand identity or will the company you choose need to create that for you?
- Do you have a budget in mind? Costs can vary widely.
- If you need special features, make sure you ask upfront.
- Do you plan on getting into social networking?
There are literally hundreds of questions that need to be asked but again, that’s one of the reasons you hire a great design firm. If they’re not asking the right questions, they’re not the right firm for you.
So you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you want to accomplish. Now comes the task of actually finding the right firm to make your dreams a reality, and not a nightmare. Again, not so easy to do but don’t panic! It’s not impossible either.
I really hate to put some of these points down here but you really do need to ask them. That said, none of these should be the single deciding factor in and of itself. You need to look at the whole picture when searching for a design firm.
Here are a few things to look for
- How long have they been in business?
- Large portfolios are great to look at but what are they doing now?
- You can ask for references, but also call some of their customers on your own.
- Ask about their technologies.
- Ask about their design and marketing strategies
- Talk to them. Talk to them. Talk to them.
How much will it cost?
You’ll probably notice pricing isn’t in the above list. Why? It’s always one of the first things prospective clients ask. But if you’ve done your homework on the other things, then we’ll bet their pricing is fairly close to most other design firms in their class.
Pricing is definitely a factor but if it’s your deciding factor, then get ready to get what you pay for.
What do your instincts tell you?
This friends, is what it’s all about. As long as you’re confident they have the skills to do the job, how comfortable you are with them is the most important factor you should be considering. If you didn’t like them during your first interview, chances are it’s not going to get any better once the project starts.
Don’t fool yourself. Designing a new website or redesigning one is stressful for everyone. You need to be able to get along with your design firm. You also need to trust them to have your best interests at heart. If you don’t feel the love, move on to someone else!