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The web design field is diverse, dynamic and competitive. There are millions of web design firms found around the world, but their competency level varies from one another. From our experience and listening to our customers, we can basically differentiate a web design firm into two categories: local or branded.
Now that we’re fully into 2016, we decided to ruffle through our client feedback forms to find out what our customers love about us and identify areas that we need to improve upon.
Surprisingly, one of the interesting facts that we discovered is that many of our customers reached out to us after having a bitter experience with a local web design company. Talking to our sales people, we came up with five common factors that supposedly reputable web design companies have – Factor that, if encountered, should give you pause before you work with them.
Local firms usually have a small organization structure, with a single web designer working on multiple projects (As many as 8 at a time). This is one of the most infuriating areas that leaves clients fuming. The designers hardly meet their deadlines, they respond very late to their emails and are always coming up with excuses to push out the deadlines.
A reputed organization structure is built so that the client-designer ratio is not skewed toward projects. This is an important factor, which ensures that the designer is not overloaded with multiple responsibilities and can concentrate well on the given task at hand. Simultaneously, having a limited number of projects, a designer can meet all their deadlines efficiently and communicate with their clients on-time, without any sort of delay. The closer the ratio is to 1:1, the better.
Warning Sign #1: When you are not promised an individual resource that handles all your questions and web design needs.
To have an effective workflow, the scope of the project must be extremely well defined. This ensures that the client and their designers are on the same page during the entire website development life cycle. The scope clearly defines various aspects, such as the expectation of the website, its features and functionalities, the budget allocated for the particular project and so on.
Usually, local design firms don’t have project managers, who communicate with the client to draw the perfect picture of the entire project. When right expectations are not communicated, it leads to unavoidable circumstances where the client expects a Rolls Royce but for his budget, they’re delivered a Kia.
Shameless plug: At Innoppl, our web designers and project managers create very comprehensive scope of work/timeline.
Warning Sign #2: Communication will be one of the biggest problems when local design firms take charge of your project.
Sometimes it’s hard to digest the fact that someone can design a website for under $1,000 (What a great deal!). What the data shows us is that clients who choose to go with ridiculous low quotes have always have plenty of issues in terms of design and development. A website might be just one word, but a lot of hard work goes into making a responsive website that is aesthetically pleasing and desirable.
When it comes to the service industry, it’s true when people say, “You get what you pay for.” The design firm might take up your project for a low price because they are in dire need of the extra income. But, you can be sure that they will not give it their all and will do a sloppy job, just for the added cash flow.
Warning Sign #3: The price you pay to build your website is directly proportional to the quality of work you receive. So, consider yourself to be in for a bumpy ride when you do decide to go with low cost, “value”vendors.
Building a website is a continuous process: You can’t just make your site live and expect it to miraculously perform forever. A beautiful website should be paired with amazing content, which should be marketed in the right way. It’s a huge process and plenty of work goes in to making a website successful and sustainable.
A local design firm will typically have only one trained designer, who has no experience in marketing/SEO. Thus, this means there’s probably marketing/SEO considered when designing the site. This is a recipe for disaster. We’ve taken over projects where websites didn’t even have a simple H1 tag or ability to add a page description.
To us, if your site is not built with SEO in mind, then there’s no reason to even have a website. A non-SEO friendly site is, literally, a waste of money.Even when your website is meticulously designed and looks beautiful, if it’s not optimized for SEO, then you’ll see no result.
Warning Sign #4: When your design firm says “SEO, what SEO?” then you are in for a lot of trouble.
Even if none of the above have alarmed you, if you’re considering a local web design company, then you must look at their portfolio on their website. If they only have logos and no live examples, then you are in for a trouble.
A proper portfolio should consist of websites that are alive and kicking online. The majority of the local firms will not have a trustworthy portfolio. By checking the portfolio and then actually calling the client they did the work for, you can easily ascertain the value and quality of their work.
Warning Sign #5: If the local design firm has no portfolio section or an inaccurate one, then you can easily measure their worth.
These facts have been derived from a lot of data and bad decisions made by our clients. By choosing our web designers in Atlanta, you save months of frustration and get a profitable website created quickly
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