Nobody likes to get scammed. When you’re looking for a web design partner, there’s several ways that you can determine whether the company you choose to go with is both authentic and professional. The following is a list of “tests” that you can assess to your potential agency to decide if you need a better design partner.
- Lacks a Real Office or Staff – Plenty of people have a computer. And many of those people can and actually do claim to be a “design company”, despite just working at home as an independent and single person “company”. Do they have office listings with an actual physical address? Another easy and important check is looking for employee profiles. Do they have actual employees on an “About Us” page?
- Their Own Website is Poorly Designed – If you’re paying for a site, shouldn’t they have a website that looks good? If a web design company doesn’t even customize their own site, how can you expect them to deliver for you? Don’t be fooled by templates that don’t show any real creativity, be sure to visit their website and see what they’re about.
- Poor Search Engine Rankings – Quality designers that are well established and good at what they do will tend to rank higher. Through reviews, popularity, and quality of their work, you can determine plenty from search results.
- Outdated Web Styles and Samples – Are they ahead of the trends? An old fashioned un-optimized website is a waste of money. A quality design firm will remain at the forefront of design trends, such as growth driven design or the use of duotone imagery. Check out their samples and former work to see what else they can do, and how well they’ve delivered in the past.
- They Offer Mockups Before You’ve Paid a Dime – This is a huge red flag, as it shows desperation, and being desperate usually has a good reason behind it. Don’t be duped by the quick sale and buy now approach that many shoddy designers offer.
- Over-Promising – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This mantra certainly applies to web design, and will lead to near certain disappointment as promise after promise goes undelivered. A quality design team will let you know what can and can’t be delivered, or give you a much clearer time frame rather than simply taking your money based on promises.
- Bad Reputation – Terrible experiences from multiple sources are usually an indicator of a poor design team. If their quality is repeatedly called into question, you’re better off avoiding them all together to avoid any headaches of your own.
- Communication is Lacking or Non-Existent – They won’t answer calls. They avoid you. They don’t call when they said they would. All of these indicate a serious lack of caring or professionalism, and these designers should be avoided or dropped altogether.
- The Quality is Very Poor – If you have a bad website due to poor quality, you can expect the worst. Potential customers won’t stick around long on a poorly designed and bad functioning website.
- Launch Date Has Come and Gone/Delivery of Service Repeatedly Delayed – You were told that it would be done in a week, yet here you are, a month later, and it’s not done. While revisions can certainly affect certain time expectations, if someone tells you they will be finished with something, you will rightfully expect them to deliver on time. Also, if their is a myriad of extra or hidden expenses, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.
We all want to avoid a lemon, or a raw deal. The same thing applies to building your online website. Try these tests out to see if you need a better design partner, and save yourself plenty of money, time, and headaches. For more ideas to improve your online store, check out 15 Steps to Stay Ahead of Marketing and Design Trends to Keep Your Site Current and stay up to date.
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