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A Professional Website design doesn't just look good; it helps attract visitors and increase sales. Finding the right website designers can save you money while avoiding hours or weeks of frustration launching. A good website design can be affordable and yet effective if you pick the right website designers. According to website design experts, executive decision-makers must look at ten factors when determining if a professional website design company is a good fit for their web design project:
1. Professional Website Designers always communicate well
When business leaders complain about Website design, they often put "communication" at the top of their lists. In many cases, young freelance website designers accustomed to text messages at midnight don't connect well with corporate clients that prefer phone calls at nine in the morning. Professional website designers understand the importance of consistent communication in the mode the client prefers, including:
- Phone: It's one of the most important forms of customer support--yet many novice Web designers fail to post a working phone number on their own sites.
- Email: Shooting a quick message from an iPhone or an Android should never result in a reply that asks a client to use another mode of communication.
- Live Chat: Although novice Web designers tend to overuse this mode of communication, some clients prefer the convenience of reviewing projects using chat tools.
2. Website Design Projects Always Focus on Results
Open-ended assignments cause clients of Web site designers the most grief. In a bad working relationship, clients can feel like the Website designer runs a taxi meter every time they want to make a small change. Web Design Industry experts advise against entering open-ended billing relationships with Web site designers until the maintenance phase of a project. Some of today's most effective Website designers blend the traditional method of charging by the hour with flat fees for software installation.
3. Smart Website Designers Make Billing Easier For Clients
Professional website designers ask for twenty to fifty percent of a project's fees before the start of the project. In fact, few experienced Website designers will start a project for a new client without some kind of retainer. To accommodate businesses of all sizes, professional web site designers accept major credit cards. Novice Web site designers will often reveal their status by demanding an entire project fee up front, offering to start work without a deposit, or refusing to accept a company's purchasing card.
4. A Professional Website Design Company Shares Its Source Code
Like other creative professionals, Web designers maintain current portfolios representing their best work. Savvy company leaders can request contact information for clients included in a Web design portfolio. Experienced Web designers take their portfolios even further by including testimonials from satisfied clients. Comparing designs along with the measurable results they achieved can show prospective clients that a Web design firm really means business.
5. Flexibile Website Designers Use Open Source Technologies To Save Clients Money
The top website design companies can address the project's technology and the user interface (UI) needs. Open source publishing and e-commerce tools can help many business customers achieve a professional result without spending money on expensive, custom solutions. Some of the most popular and effective open source Website design technologies include:
- WordPress: a free content publishing tool that can handle both Weblogs and corporate information pages.
- osCommerce: a comprehensive e-commerce solution that includes many of the most popular online shopping cart and product catalog features.
- Zope: an application server that allows developers to quickly build custom tools for content management and customer interaction.
- Apache: an open source web server to serve the individual web pages
6. Professional Web Designers Blend Stock and Scratch sources
Even Web designers grow tired of reinventing the wheel with every new project. Some teams speed projects along with stock templates and images. At the other end of the spectrum, the most experienced Website design teams craft each Website from scratch. Web Design companies like DreamCoDesign specialize in finding the right spot on this spectrum for a prospective client by customizing a stock template or publishing platform.
7. Top Web site Designers Distinguish Betwen Web Hosting and Web Site Design
Many website design firms offer complementary or low-cost hosting to clients, usually as part of annual maintenance packages. Business experts recommend weighing the options of using an in-house hosting solution against the expense of hiring an independent Web host. Companies like One Source Marketing Solutions, that maintain their own collection of always-on Web sites, can make stronger uptime assurances than freelance Web site designers with vague affiliate agreements.
8. Creative Web Designers Let Clients Handle Minor Updates
Most Website design projects can be classified into three major categories:
- Launch Project: A launch project requires a brand new Web design. In some cases, clients prefer to relaunch their Websites to incorporate new technology or ideas.
- Major Revision: Major revisions tend to require significant rework of templates or graphics, but retain the same basic Web design principles as the original project.
- Minor Updates: Updating or adding text to a site, adjusting contact information, or rotating new content into the mix can all be handled through minor updates.
The most effective Website designers tend to save their skills for launches and major revisions. Experienced Website designers develop architectures for Web sites that more easily accommodate major revisions. These plans often include publishing platforms that allow clients to make their own minor updates in-house or with the help of a less expensive Web professional.
9. The Best Website Design Companies Understand Open Standards and Accessibility
Web standards can include adhering to best practices for interface design, such as making hyperlinks on a page easy to find. Web standards can also include a focus on keeping sites accessible to most Web browsers. Many businesses must also comply with state and federal guidelines for accessibility by site viewers with impaired vision and other medical conditions. However, many of the same accessibility features that keep customers happy also help sites improve their rankings with search engines. Skilled Web site designers understand how to prevent clients' sites from being unusable.
10. Top Web Design Companies Are Honest About Their Rates and Delivery Times
Like other creative professionals, Web designers often adhere to the adage that suggests a client can always have two of three attributes from a list that reads, "good, fast, and cheap." Selecting a Website design company solely on the basis of its hourly rate might not reveal the true value. A more expensive firm may have a smaller waiting list because it possesses the skills necessary to complete projects more quickly. Likewise, a patient client can find tremendous value in a Website designer with a longer turnaround time. Understanding the relationship between rates and project deadlines can prevent disaster during critical projects.
Case Study: Professional Website Design Triples Sales Conversions For Specialty Online Retailer
Sometimes, the right Website design can help an already successful business leverage its advantages even more. John and Kendra Fields launched their company from a spare bedroom. Specialty Optical Systems (SOS) sells replacement light bulbs for microscopes, serving a market tailor-made for the Web. A basic Web site allowed them to attract customers who used to track down specialty bulbs by phone. Before long, the Fields' growing business enjoyed a customer conversion rate of just under one percent. Company leaders earmarked a budget of $5,000 to discover what a professional website design could do for their business.
Although a few website design companies prices were twice what the Fields' had budgeted for the website re-design project, the web design firm that John and Kendra selected, used open source tools to build and re-design the SOS online store front to fit their budget. With many of the same features as more expensive e-commerce tools, the open source tools allowed SOS staff to completely control the customer experience online. Meanwhile, the enhanced product cataog search and browsing capabilities allowed more website visitors to find what they were looking for and purchase it online. Within six months, the conversion rate tripled and the Fields' projected the new website design project would pay for itself within a few quarters.
Top Website Design Companies Stand Out From The Crowd
When you choose web design companies for a new website or the redesign of your existing website, initial impressions make all the difference. The best web design companies display all ten of these bove traits and are 'maniacly' focused on customer satisfaction. More importantly, they make clients feel comfortable about wading unfamiliar web 2.0 terminologies such as ajax, php, java, flash, apache etc.
Finding the right website designer can save a small business hundreds of dollars in time and costs.