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How to choose a website design company

Web Site Design Buyer's Guide

Use BuyerZone to obtain the details of a range of website design suppliers. Then to help you decide on the one to work on your project, consider the following points.

Type of website
There are website design suppliers that concentrate on providing small businesses with straightforward sites. These suppliers can offer you e-commerce features, customised design, and support for website updates and promotion. If you intend to have a simple website with limited customer interaction, these are probably the suppliers who'll suit you best.

Your goal, however, may be a website that links to your current systems and databases, provides a sophisticated interactive experience for the visitor, and has an e-commerce facility with features such as gift certificates and promotional codes. If so, you'll want a website design supplier that acts as a consultancy and goes out of its way to find solutions to your specific needs.

The difference between these two approaches is significant. A website design supplier that specialises in small businesses will soon have a site up and running for a reasonable price. The other suppliers will cost more and probably take a little longer because they'll use most aspects of current web technology to create a cutting-edge website that gives your business a considerable boost.

Questions to ask
There are some useful questions to ask website design suppliers and freelancers.

  • Do you do the work or contract it to others? If the latter, how long have you worked with these people?
  • Are you able to help with text, images and ideas for the site?
  • Do you offer design/development/hosting/e-commerce?
  • What are your company's main strengths?
  • Have you created websites for a business similar to mine? If so, what's the web address?
  • Are you familiar with my type of potential site visitor and what they want?
  • Do you test sites using different browsers to ensure they work across the board?
  • Are you able to connect the website to my database/sales software/stock maintenance software?
  • What are your arrangements, including response times, for updating the site? Can we update it in-house?
  • What level of support can you give me to address website problems?
  • What guarantees do you give?

One question conspicuous by its absence is "What will you charge?" Price is important but you also need to be confident that you've chosen a website design supplier that meets all of your criteria. For further details about costs, see the cost of your website design project.

Samples
Ask potential website design suppliers to give you the web addresses of sites they've worked on. Don't accept the excuse that most of their sites are intranets and therefore you cannot access them. Any company worth its salt will have actively running examples of former projects.

Go to the site addresses and check each sample site for design quality and ease of use. You might also want to note any details on the "contact us" pages and use these for references.

References
The "contact us" details mentioned above can give the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of people who can give you more information about the website design supplier you're interested in using. You can also ask the supplier for any references and appropriate contacts.

The questions you should ask former customers include:

  • Did the company complete the work on time?
  • Did the company provide everything you expected of them?
  • What are the company's particular strengths and weaknesses?
  • Did it adopt a flexible approach to the work and your requirements?
  • Did the company give you help organising the content of the website?
  • Are you prepared to employ the company in the future?
About BuyerZone

BuyerZone is the leading online marketplace for business purchasing.

  • 1,000,000+ users
  • 50,000+ monthly requests
  • 8,500+ active suppliers
  • Company founded in 1992
  • UK site launched in January 2008
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