We left off on the original post about about this great article “How to Hire a Web Design Firm” (original article) at number 5 (read part 1).

5 ) How will you incorporate search engine optimization principles into my site?

This question is vitally important for your website, especially if you are a new business or in a competitive market. (Remember online, your market is more than just your geographic location many times.) Simply ask, what they & you can do to improve your search engine rankings. The answer can be a litany of things including coding in CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), title tags, meta text, real word link names, more pages, more links to your website, little to no flash, pdf downloads, and now fast downloading speed. If the firm you are interview fumbles on this question, they don’t understand the larger picture.

6 ) Do you work with or have a business relationship with any small business consultants?

Honestly, this question surprised me at first. I have never had a client or prospect ask me this one. After thinking about it for a minute, I realized how important our relationships to business coaches, referral strategists, and business consultants are for our clients. We are consistently talking to these professionals about the market, different industries, and upcoming trends which is a invaluable information for our clients. On the flip side, a web design company that does not have these relationships probably does not have many good business relationships which can be a telling sign.

7 ) Pricing

They don’t list this as a question, but this is vitally important. For the most part, you get what you pay for. A firm that is selling a website for $500 is using a template or won’t be in business next year because they priced themselves too cheap. Other firms have minimum amounts of $10,000 or more because they are more established, offer more features and should have more talented creative and programming teams. Find a firm that fits your budget and where you want to be. Do you want to be the big firm’s small client or the small firm’s largest client? Their are pros and cons to both scenarios.

8 ) Can you develop my site in a content management system?

This is huge and generally not mentioned in the front end, but how are you going to update your website? We have multiple solutions from $250 – $10,000 depending on your needs, skill level, and budget. This website actually uses WordPress for the CMS (Content Management System). Another question to ask is if the firm will do web maintenance. Some of our clients update their own website, some we update and many have both them and us update their website. If you go with a freelance designer that travels and moves from city to city often, you will be left in the cold with no way to update your website. I am amazed the stories I’ve heard over the years about designers disappearing for months and years at a time.

9 ) The Most Important Thing You Should Know:

Your website design firm should be accessible. This means checking email, answering the phone, returning phone calls and talking your language. Many times designers speak a different language with each other and programmers, but they need to be able to speak to you so you feel comfortable. Overall, you should be comfortable with who you are working with, what you are receiving for what you are paying for, and enjoy the experience. Launching a new website (and brand) is exciting and you should be proud of being a part of it.

Please post any comments or questions you have about the process of hiring a web design firm. If we sound like a good fit & you like our portfolio, give us a call. We do some incredible work and we don’t bite.