I wrote a blog on this back in 2013 and to be honest not a huge amount has changed in respect of finding a good designer but as design and development have changed over the years there are some key things you need to do and ask when looking for a good one.
As I said before, choosing a website design company that is right for you isn’t just as straight forward as picking one that is highly ranked on review sites or had the coolest looking website or even the best portfolio.
Our own website isn't the best looking website out there... why? Because half my clients don't want to see something like that. They might not be comfortable with the latest in cutting edge design – they want something that is clear and easy to use and if my website scares them away then what chance have I got of convincing them that I won't do that to their website and scare their customers away.
So lets look a the practicals of what to do when looking:-
1. Check out reviews on the company – these are important – testimonials are great on a website but see if they are listed elsewhere too. We have our testimonials on our own site but we also have them listed at http://www.whichwebdesigncompany.com/ too – this way people can see we are independently reviewed too.
2. Contact previous clients and ask how they found working with the company (any website designer worth considering should be more than happy for you to contact previous clients).
3. Check out their portfolio. Do all the sites look the same? Are there any sites that look like the kind of thing you require?
4. Check terms and conditions/contracts to make sure you are covered in all eventualities. I cannot tell you how many clients I have had in need to our help because they did not have a contract with their previous designer.
5. Make sure they design using responsive design (mobile ready). This is now of paramount importance as Google are ranking these kind of sites higher and they are demanding that we design like this to future proof websites as much as we can.
I personally think one of the most important things you can do is talk to the company. After all, if you are going to work closely with them, making sure your dream website becomes a reality, you have to know if you can relate and talk to them. I get so many comments from clients saying how I didn’t kill them with technical jargon and when I did talk about something technical, I did it in a way they could understand. YOU are an expert in your field and while I know how to run a Drupal site in my sleep I do not know the first thing about your business, whether you are a tree surgeon or a beauty therapist. So I make it a priority to talk to clients to find out what they want to get from their website and how I can help with that but also provide advise on what else is available.
I have clients all over the UK and even in New Zealand!!! The distance isn’t a problem because whether we talk by Skype, email or phone, we do talk. I am sure that is why I still have so many loyal clients today. Having said that I know there are a lot of clients that prefer to use a local company so they can have that ability to contact us as and when they need.
I encourage you to find a website designer/developer who you can see yourself working with, who you feel will deliver the results you want. Above all make sure you have a contract that protects you.
If you feel comfortable with someone this will go a long way to making this process a lot easier. This is your website and you are paying for it to be built and to get it built the right way is always down to communication.