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The Importance of Choosing the Right Custom Web Design Firm
In the highly competitive Internet world, the marketing strategy of a web-business can be its life or its death. This is how important the role of website marketing is. With today's highly globalized Internet-centered world, organizations have all moved into the web and had their share of the unlimited opportunities provided by the Internet.
Many web-based companies, big and small, find it cost-efficient and most effective, not to mention safest, to hire a custom web design firm as a partner to take care of their ecommerce as well as marketing needs. The expertise and the experience needed to carry out a successful online marketing campaign can be too much to handle internally. Technical skills on Internet marketing, software development and integration, and Search Engine Optimization are all special skills that even on-staff marketing resources might not possess.
The custom web design firm (also termed as the interactive agency) you choose will have a large bearing on the outcome of your marketing strategies. Thus, it is equally important that you choose the best custom web design firm to carry out all your marketing objectives. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the right web design company.
1. Know your goals and how you want to achieve them
Before searching for a suitable custom web design firm, you should be clear on what your company needs. Remember that the web development firm will help you achieve your marketing goals. It is best for you, as the representative to identify them beforehand since it is you who knows your company best. Of course, the custom web design will be knowledgeable of what you might need as well, so it is best that you cooperate and collaborate.
For instance, what message would you like to convey in the advertisement? Do you only convey the most basic information of the company as in a brochure, or do you want a more comprehensive coverage of the products and services that you provide? You also need to find out whether you need Internet marketing methods such as SEO or Google Adwords. Would you like to gain new customers or foster stronger ties with existing customers? These are just some of the most basic aspects that you need to decide on. The most basic information your web design firm will need in relation to the marketing plan will be as follows:
- The goal of the marketing project
- Your target audience
- Your anticipated budget
- The individuals or departments in the company responsible for the marketing project
- Whether the project needs to fit into a large custom marketing scheme
2. Find the custom web design firm to work with
There are a variety of ways to look for a web development firm to partner with. You can ask for referrals. Checking the web design firm's portfolio is a great idea in itself, but there are a few technical aspects which can never be really seen through a portfolio such as software development or database. Thus, it is very important that you use a combination of various approaches for you to find the web design firm which will really meet all your custom needs.
What do you look for in a custom web design firm? Here are some of the good signs which can tell you that you are dealing with a potentially reliable company:
A professional custom web design firm will have an impressive portfolio which is consistent in terms of quality. Looking through their sample works can give you an idea of what to expect out of their services. If you admire some portfolio pieces, do not hesitate to ask for the designer or the people behind the project and insist that you talk to them.
It is also a good sign if the web design company has already done projects with other companies related to your niche. The breadth of their experience as seen in their portfolio will determine how they will be able to meet your marketing needs. If you anticipate working with a custom web design firm for a long time, check to see if they do provide long-term services. Note also that the Internet now allows web design and marketing services to be provided all across the globe. It is great to work with an interactive firm which has worked with clients from different geographical locations so you can enjoy a more global approach in terms of marketing services.
It is very important to deal only with a custom web design firm which has enough technical competence and expertise to meet all your design and marketing needs. They should have enough experience related to Internet marketing, ecommerce or e-business, Search Engine Optimization, software and database development and system integration, among many others. It is a good idea to check their knowledge on these aspects. A great way to start is through their website. A professional looking site which contains enough technical information may be a good sign.
The Design Process
The process that a reliable web design firm carries out should be clearly stated and intricately designed. The firm must spend time in understanding your goals through Needs Analysis and design your structure in a well-thought Information Architecture. Remember that with all the web design firms all over the Internet, it can be very difficult to find one who has the ability to efficiently handle all the visual and technical elements that are needed to make your web presence more felt by more people. Never waste your time and money on a custom web firm that simply can't give you what you need.
Other Services Offered
Most custom web design firms offer value-added services. Most offer product marketing, web site promotion, pay per click, email and newsletter campaigns and so on. You can also verify whether they provide software and database development if you need them. It is great to find out what more you can expect from a web development firm. The added services they offer will give you a better run for your money. Note though that a lot of web design firms out there tend to make false promises and attractive offers just to get you to sign with them. At this point, you should never be hasty when making decisions. Prioritize the most important services that you need first before checking out the bonus offers.
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3. Request a proposal
Custom web design firms (at least the reliable ones) send proposals for you to evaluate before you make a deal with them. All you have to do is request one. You should specify that the proposal must include a general overview of your requirements (based on what you agreed upon) and the proposed solutions. This is a good way to determine if the custom web design firm indeed understood all your needs. It is also best to ask for a description of the development and implementation process along with price quotes for different aspects of the site marketing project. This way, you have a better understanding of what is expected of you by the web marketing firm.
4. Finalize the contract with a trusted web development company
Again, your custom web design firm will be responsible for creating your company's image on the World Wide Web and make your company be known to millions and millions of Internet users all over the world. This can potentially make or break your business. So, before finalizing a deal with a custom web design firm, make sure that the firm is 100% reliable. You need to carefully evaluate how quick and efficient they are in terms of services and communication.
Once you are satisfied with their proposal and their cost, you can then sign a deal with them. Your web design agreement should contain detailed information on the custom website design services that will be provided. It should include the number of pages, the scope of the design, maintenance, costs, payment and project completion. If you are also availing of marketing services, it should include the kind of Internet marketing solutions provided and the costs involved.
Your custom web design firm should be your partner in making your business more profitable. Hiring the services of web developers does not mean that you are fully entrusting everything into their hands. Remember that though you have outsourced this aspect of your business, it is still important that you work hand in hand with your web development firm. This way, you can make sure that all process and the solutions are all geared to the main goals and aspirations of the organization.
Many companies have achieved online success in a short span of time. This can be attributed to great site design, proper marketing, bundled with great products or services. You too can be one of them. Start now by choosing the right custom development firm to take care of all your e-business and online marketing needs.
Ready to start on your own custom website design? Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online to create an effective online presence for your business.
Photo Credit: ebayink, Richard Busch