We live in a world where just about anybody can design websites, thanks to the numerous DIY templatized services that have sprouted online in the last few years.
However, for a website that is thoroughly professional in form and function, it’s important to hire a reputable and reliable web design company when you go that route. The problem is, there are companies and individuals out there offering web design services that are neither reputable nor reliable.
Through my work in digital marketing and web design and development, I’ve learned the signs that will help tell you which companies to avoid.
Unfortunately, bargain-basement rates are the kryptonite of many people who want websites but have little to no knowledge of how things work in the world of web design. The moment they see that a web design company is offering very low rates compared to the competition, they jump at the chance.
The problem with cheap web design rates is that you will most likely pay for barebones web design. If you want specific features and functions added, you may have to shell out more for them. You will, in all likelihood, spend more money on your website in the end.
To get an idea about fair professional web design rates these days, do some research of your own. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations.
Full Payment Upfront
Would you trust a web design service provider that requires you to pay for your website in full before they do any work on it?
Legitimate web design companies ask for a deposit. The client and the company will then agree on a payment plan that will run until the website is up and working. Steer clear of any web design company that demands payment in advance.
Too Much Tech Mumbo-Jumbo
I’ve found that many of my clients don’t know a lot about designing websites, which is why they’re looking for a professional web designer in the first place.
Some web design companies, however, tend to use a lot of tech-speak when pitching their plans for the project to the client. More often than not, clients end up agreeing to things they barely understand, but they have to pay for them anyway because the web designer said so.
But what if the tech-speak was just a way for clients to spend money on bells and whistles that they don’t really need?
If you know little about web design and a prospective web design company sounds like it’s dazzling you with lots of tech mumbo-jumbo, give that company a hard pass and look for another one that will speak to you in plain, simple English.
Web Design-Only Companies
There was a time when getting a website built meant hiring a web designer for its aesthetics and a separate web developer to make sure it functioned well. That is no longer the case these days, as a web design company is now expected to offer both web design and web development. Don’t hire a web design company that only offers to make websites look good and nothing else.
CMS Not Included
Every website that you pay a web design company to build should have a built-in CMS or content management system. Consider yourself tricked if the website you got from a web designer doesn’t have one.
A CMS-less website means editing its content is going to a problem that can only be solved if you reach out to your web design company and get them to edit it for a fee.
Steer clear of web design companies that do not incorporate CMS platforms such as WordPress and SharePoint, or Magento in the case of e-commerce sites.
The world is a very mobile place, with smartphone and tablet users far outnumbering desktop users. You want your website to display well across all screens, so don’t leave your web design in the hands of a company that doesn’t do responsive web design.
If you see any or all of these signs in a prospective web design company, run the other way, and find ones that offer the exact opposite.