June 05, 2011 — Selecting a web design company is like hiring a marketer and a salesman all in one. By understanding the basics of search engines, social media, web design and technology you will be armed with the knowledge to select the right web design company.
In-house web designers are convenient and responsive, but can lack real world experience. Out-sourcing lets you put your trust in experienced professionals. But what happens if that American you made a web design deal with after a conversation on Skype, turns the project over to a third-party Chinese web design company?
Your website, whether it is an online catalogue, an e-commerce shop, a blog, or a showcase of talent, is a marketing tool. Modern online marketing incldues improving your ranking on search engines, pay-per-click advertising, and social network participation.
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is the management of website content so that search engines access it often, acurately, and consider it of interest. You may have heard of keywords and meta content (hidden data to describe your website to search engines), and perhaps even met those who would tout, "the more the merrier". SEO is not that simple, and neither should a website company's explanation of it to you.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is nearing the end of its brief history. At one time, banner ads and affiliate marketing was the one-stop solution to paying thousands in paper mailings. There are still a few niches however that will provide a positive ROI: primarily, google-targeted content. While the return will be less than that of Adwords, it will still be positive. But just as with Adwords, you must carefully target your advertisers.
Welcome to the new world of online marketing, Social Media Marketing (SMM): Twitter, Facebook need I say more? Of course I need to say more; Twitter and Facebook are requirements, but there are hundreds of other social media networks that have thousands in their communities. You would be surprised how many niche communities exist.
An obvious necessity in choosing any potential service company, is to see their previous work. But beyond looking nice, how do you know if their previous web designs are quality? There are several aspects to consider when analyzing a web design, and none require technical knowledge.
A web design's goal is both feeling and clarity. A user should feel your website is the right answer, and navigation should be clear enough for the user to easily learn more.
A web design company that can quickly understand your target audience, is most likely familiar with your business or familiar with business in general. The better a web designer understands the potential users of a website, the more succesful a design he/she can build. Share information about your vision or company and see how quickly the web designer catches on.
Reliability in web design services
Unfortunately, some web designers say all the right things, and have an impressive showcase, but lack follwup. There are a few questions you can ask to determine how trustworthy a web design company really is:
Web Designers and companies each have their own payment system. Our payment system protects both parties, and depends on the size of the project: Small-scale websites are usually half up-front, and half on completion; our large-scale projects have a lower deposit, and lets the client withhold a certain percentage until three-months after completion, during which time we provide technical support.
The internet is online technology, and as with any technology, it evolves quickly. A website design from two years ago is already becoming obsolete. Your website needs to use the latest cutting-edge web technologies in order to stay afloat as long as possible in a market where websites are constantly learning new tricks and doing old tricks better. Here's a breif glossary of terms to your vocabulary up-to-date:
The website you want now may not be the website you need later. A scalable website is built to easily accomodate the future addition of new features. In this way, as your company grows, so can your website.
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