This is What Stands Between Your Company and a Successful Website
It’s 2017 and there are now over 3.6 billion internet users worldwide, which means it’s never been more important for a company or organization to have a website. If your goal is to reach the largest part of your audience, increase sales or skyrocket membership levels, you have to meet people on their own turf, i.e., the internet.
Since web design is an increasingly popular career, even on a freelance basis, there’s no shortage of available designers out there vying for your business. We recommend doing a decent amount of research on three different designers prior to scheduling a consultation or submitting a request for a proposal. Look for things like:
- Company portfolio
- Client reviews/ratings
- Social media activity
Once you’ve selected designers that fit your standards, it’s time to request proposals.
What’s a proposal?
It’s essentially a scope of work, where the professional offering services outlines the work they intend to do and at what price. It sounds simple, but these documents can be complicated and cause you problems down the road if not carefully considered. Over time, we’ve learned a few key things to look for when reading a proposal:
Compare Apples to Apples
First and foremost, resist the urge to focus solely on the price. Look at the scope of work on each and assess what’s all included. Are they comparable or does one have more than the others? Look for things like:
- Design specifications-do they offer visual examples of their plan? (Mood board, prints, etc.)
- Number of pages included
- Is Search Engine Optimization included? For example, keyword research, optimized page titles, meta descriptions, to name a few.
- Mobile responsiveness
- Included social media widgets
- Do they use a CMS and, if so, do they offer proper training so you can make future updates?
Once you know the proposals are covering similar scopes of work, then you can compare the overall price.
Read the fine print
Most proposals will include what’s called a methodology, or an outline of how the process will work. We’ll use ours as an example; at Signify Studio, our methodology looks like this:
- Discovery-the process of gathering necessary information about your company
- Architecture-the blueprint outline of the site
- Content-generally provided by your company once the outline has been completed
- Design-non-functioning layouts for your approval
- Development-the working version of your website
- Launch-final revisions before the site “goes live”
- Warranty-training and resolution of any issues
Make sure to look everything over with a fine-toothed comb and ask for clarification on anything confusing.
Does it work for you?
In other words, make sure they’re giving you what you asked for and what works best for your company. This is where you’d add anything you feel has been left out or wasn’t covered in initial consultations.
It’s also important to understand your company’s role in the entire process. Are you able to make changes or update content on your own? What if you want to add or remove a page a month from now, will that be easy to do? Do the designers communicate well and answer questions within a reasonable amount of time?
Finally, one of the most important aspects of the overall website design is the follow-up to see what’s working. This comes in the form of running analytical reports to gauge the effectiveness of your website. You’ll want to look at numbers on the following:
- Mobile Performance
- Traffic Acquisition
- Content Efficiency
- Keyword Analysis
- New Visitors vs. Returning Visitors
- Landing Pages
This information will show you what’s working and where you might need to make adjustments. Staying on top of your analytics will give you a fine-tuned website and a competitive edge over your competition.
Proposals can be confusing and complicated, but a good design firm will work with you to answer your questions, incorporate your ideas and match your style. If you’re still uncomfortable going it alone, there are tons of online resources that can help you or you can give us a call! At Signify Studio, we have the experience necessary to provide you with a well-performing website, loaded with the latest features and technology. And it all begins with a FREE fifteen minute consultation, followed by a proposal fully outlining our process from inception to launch. We make it our mission to work closely with our clients, keep the lines of communication open and deliver unmatched results.