By Matt McWilliam

Choosing a web site design company to build your website is an important decision for most people, especially for small business owners and nonprofit organizations. You should take your time, do your research and be very selective when it comes time to choosing the web site design company. Planning ahead now will save you headaches, time and money. Below are 10 questions, in no particular order, to ask yourself before choosing a website design company.

  1. Do they have an online portfolio?
    Viewing a web design company’s online portfolio before you decide to hire them allows you to see the quality and the type of work that they offer. Before you hire a web design company, you should make sure to view their online portfolio.
  2. What types of business or organizations do they build web sites for?
    Double check to make sure that they are capable of building a web site for your type of business or for your nonprofit organization. Some web design companies only bill web sites for dentists, law offices, manufacturers, etc.
  3. What is their response time?
    This made below the more difficult to find out before choosing the web design company. However, you should get it in writing how long the website project will take from start to finish. Which leads me to point number four…
  4. Do they have a formal contract and proposal?
    You should never hire a web design company or a freelancer without receiving from them a formal price quote/proposal and contract. The contract is the agreement between the web design company and you or your business. The contract should outline several items such as the project scope, list of deliverables, the time frame, a warranty, future maintenance costs, etc.
  5. How reasonable for their rates?
    The rates quoted to you for your website project should match the quality of their work as shown in their online portfolio. You should stay away from companies offering website packages with bundled services for a low cost. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Often times, company’s offering these types of packages are outsourcing their projects to foreign countries such as India, Singapore and Thailand.
  6. Do they offer a Content Management System?
    By far the most popular content management system available today is WordPress. WordPress allows web site owners the ability to manage their website with a user friendly and intuitive web based interface. Web site administrators can simply logon to WordPress using a username and password, navigate to the page they want to change, make the change, click a Save button and view their changes in real time.
  7. Can they help rank your website on search engines?
    Getting your website ranked on Google is no easy feat. The web design company you will hire should be capable of ranking your website on Google for the keywords and key word phrases that you wish to target. The web design company should be able to demonstrate to you live web sites of previous clients in which they were able to rank on the first page of Google.
  8. Do they have satisfied clients?
    You should request references and testimonials before hiring any web design company. Feel free to follow up on their references by calling or sending them an e-mail asking about their experience with the company. There is no better way to predict how your project will go band by speaking with previous customers.
  9. Are they Better Business Bureau accredited?
    This may not be an actual requirement of yours, but the Better Business Bureau does their homework on companies before allowing them to be accredited. They also enforce strict guidelines on how accredited businesses can advertise their products and services to the public. Accredited companies must be ethical, transparent and truthful before being accepted by the Better Business Bureau.

Do they show pride in their work and offer a personalized experience?
Make sure they offer a personalized experience and show pride in their work before hiring them. This will ultimately result in a high quality, unique and accurate design for your new website.