Finding the right local web design services for your specific budget, business and situation are critical not only to the success of your small business, but to our industry in general. Whether you are looking for a web designer, graphic designer or internet marketing professional, the following steps will save you tons of time, money and a little thing called "stress":
1. Step 1 - what kind of professional is right for me?
2. Step 2 - find someone who actually cares about your business, and their own.
3. Find someone who specializes at what you need.
If you’re shopping for local web design services, a graphic designer and/or an internet marketing company, it’s very important to educate yourself as much as possible before deciding on a particular provider.
Most of our clients have come to us with horror stories about the service they received from other providers in the web development industry and although our industry seems to be notorious for bad business practices, half of the problem originates with the client's lack of due diligence and proper shopping techniques. The following 3 step process is intended to assist you in making the right choice when it comes to choosing a professional or company in the web design services or related industry.
I consult with individuals all of the time and make sure they know that you CAN NOT simply look at the portfolio of work that a professional or company has created and then ask what their price is to achieve a proper sense of how things are going to turn out. You would not believe how important communication, customer service and over-all dependability becomes once you are in the middle of a project.
In addition, if the local web design services individual/company you are speaking with is mainly focused on “competitive” pricing, chances are the end result is going to be lacking in general web design essentials. In our industry, the phrase "you get what you pay for" rings true. It takes time, skill and most importantly a real passion for doing things the right way which will help you to become more successful.
So how do you find the right provider for you?
Step 1 – What type of professional is right for me?
To start you can ask yourself a few questions:
"What is my budget?"
Are you a brand new business with little to no money to invest? A friend that would be willing to help you get a web design and plays around in Photoshop might be the way to go for now. You can also try your luck at getting a college student to do it for you for free or for a low cost so that they can build their portfolio. Keep in mind that the end result might not be to the highest of standards, and because they have no business systems in place, the process could be a long and confusing one.
Let’s say you do have a budget ($500-$1,500), but it's not enough to afford a dedicated local web design services team. I would recommend working with an established freelancer. Though keep in mind, for example, let's say you need a Logo design. You might be able to find a reputable freelancer to design that Logo for you, and he or she may do a wonderful job. A potential problem is that your business may need other things like a website or internet marketing. It can be very time consuming to build new relationships with each individual freelancer and to make sure that your branding message is consistent across the board.
Now lets say you have a budget between $1,500-$10,000...
This is where small local web design service companies come in. A lot of times these places will provide more than one service and give you the opportunity to build a lasting/effective relationship. Chances are they will also have business systems in place to make sure that the experience/project goes smoothly and that the results are measurable. There are many benefits in going this route yet it is not without its flaws.
In today’s day and age, much of the work of your project is being sent overseas with some of these internet companies. Some of the problems that arise from the practice of outsourcing are things like; longer project timelines, low quality of work, and a general lack of communication and consideration when it comes to your project.
"OK, so I know which type of provider works for me...now what?"
Step 2 – Find someone who actually cares about your business, and their own.
This is where things can get a bit tougher, and a lot of it is going to depend on your "feelings" as well as the "facts".
No matter which type of local web design services you have chosen for yourself, the prices and rates are going to vary, so at the end of the day you’re going to need to base your decision on who the provider is, and why they are providing the services that they offer. Are they in it because of some related passion, or are they in it simply for the money? Either way is fine, and I have no personal judgement, but each scenario will produce different results.
Specifically, if you're a small business owner, you are probably very passionate about what you do and everything regarding your business is very important to you. The provider you choose should be just as passionate about their own services. By nature a provider with a passion for what they are doing will produce better quality, show genuine concern for your needs and provide you with fair rates.
Talk with them for a while, get to know them. Search for reviews or ask to speak with past clients. Check out their online portfolio of web design work. Ask them what the process will be like when you start working together (very important).
Step 3 – Find someone who specializes at what you need.
Last but not least, chose your provider based off of what they do best!
Some local web design service providers focus on a specific industry, demographic, or situation. If you have followed the above guidelines, at this point even a generalist would provide a great service for you. Still, if you have the option, go with the provider that not only gives you a good vibe, but is also a professional at servicing your specific needs.
So instead of focusing on whose price is the lowest, take a little time to get to know the people who are going to be a main factor in your success, and you will never regret it.
This article was written by Shane Snyder, co-founder of Pixel Me Pink, a local web design services and internet marketing company. The information provided is based off of industry research and first-hand experience with the clients of Pixel Me Pink.