Is Your Web Designer Going to Finish the Job? Tips For Finding the Right Team

Avoiding a bad web design experience.

Unfortunately, the following is a very common story.

Chris, a small business owner, needs a web site for his new business. He does a few Google searches and comes up with a company in a different state and finds a “Gold Package” that seems to cover everything he wants for his web site. The price is less than half of what he thinks a local developer would charge (though he has never checked) and the web site of the company looks nice, so he submits his credit card data pays for his new “Gold Package.”

He then sets about to describe in writing (the company only communicates through email) what he wants. After sending his design ideas and content, he waits. And he waits. Finally, a few weeks later, he finds all of his content placed in a web site template and is told his website is “done.” There is no custom design and the box-like web site template looks like thousands of web sites he has seen–in the early 2000s. There is no custom graphic design work, and his web site looks very old-fashioned.

When he contacts the company, they respond with a email saying that if he wants to upgrade his package, he can have a better web site. All the samples on the web site are from the “Diamond Package”, which, of course, is more expensive.

So, after tens of hours of work and a few thousand dollars spent, Chris has very little to show for his efforts. It also turns out that if he wants to keep the web site, he will have to pay high monthly hosting charges and he is not able to modify the web site without using the development company.

Chris has wasted his time and money.

What could Chris have done to save money, time and get a great web site?
1. Chris’ first mistake was not to check for local web designers. Almost every community is served by at least a handful of local web designer. He could have met with a few local designers, checked out their references and received price quotes from them.

There are several advantage to local sourcing. The most important is responsibility. A local developer is much less likely to take on projects she can’t complete, because failure to complete a project will subject her to spending a lot of time in small claims court. An out-of-state developer, or worse yet, an out-of-country developer is unlikely to feel the same legal responsibility. Furthermore, a local developer is most likely well-aware of the value of referrals and developing a network of references. Finally, a local developer will be able to communicate face-to-face–an invaluable option when talking about design-related issues.

2. Chris also would have been wise to ask the online company a lot of questions. How much would the XYZ web site in their portfolio cost? Can I have the phone contact information for some of your clients? How many revisions am I allowed? Can I have the web site hosted on my server of choice? Does the price quote include setting up email accounts, changing the nameserver information, setting up the server, a grace period for changing typos?

3. While it’s a matter of great discussion in the web developer world, a client should not be expected to make more than a 50% deposit. No reputable web developer would accept less (except, perhaps from established clients), but to demand 75%-90% before any work is begun should raise some red flags.

4. Examine the web design contract closely. If there is no contract, find another developer.

5. Don’t base a web design project solely on cost. A good web site should represent a business well for a few years (or more). Look at the total costs, including the cost of your time, when determining the cost of a project. Also consider the risk of losing everything if your developer is out of state or in another country. If you can’t meet with the designer and have to describe everything in email, your time costs will be much higher. A poorly designed web site might not be of any use to your business.

Unfortunately, web design businesses can appear and disappear as fast as it takes to set up and turn off a web site. A smart business person will look at the all the risks and costs in the web design process.

White Label Software Development

The trend for marketing agencies to use software development companies to fulfill the web development needs of their clients is growing, but what is driving this shift away from the internal web design department and what are the benefits of this move towards white label web development?

When marketing agencies added web development to their creative services the web was young, html was in its infancy, Internet connection speeds were painfully slow, and clients were happy to just have a presence on the new stage; the marketing agency had a new toy, and the web design department was born. Marketing agencies embraced this new medium, not only as an additional revenue channel but also as an essential element of an integrated marketing solution, and there was prestige in doing it all in-house.

And then the web grew up; the traditional problems of speed, reliability, technological constraints had all but disappeared, and the possibilities were only limited by the creative ideas and concepts the agencies could generate. It wasn’t just the technology that came of age; the client’s knowledge of this media also grew – exponentially. Suddenly the lines between a website and web application were not so clear. Clients now found themselves locked in a constant arms race, jostling for search engine position, and to do this they needed much more than just information-based websites.

To persuade their customers to engage with their brands, to become loyal fans and to keep coming back for more wasn’t just a question of navigation but of interaction; the complete online experience fussed with brand awareness social media, and connectivity has become an invaluable asset.

As a consequence of the recession, budgets have inevitably been squeezed, ROI is now a staple requirement of any online strategy, and statistics are needed to prove it. But, to get more from their investments, clients are now looking at integration into existing applications, databases that automatically handle their data, in-depth reporting and justification, and providing their customers with online applications. In a nutshell, the client’s requirements have outgrown the technical expertise of most marketing agencies, and it’s not the fault of the agencies; it’s that clients’ requirements are becoming more diverse.

So why now the move away from the internal web design department? Well, first and foremost it’s about cost; to set up and run a web development department with the technical expertise of a software company takes considerable time and money – and you are not always guaranteed that you can cope with the requirements of each project as the technical expertise required may be very specialised indeed, for example, online sales incentives that have automated integration with a back end database have a different set of skills required to complex web to print (vdp) systems.

The benefits

But it would be unfair to claim that it’s just the raw economics that are the driving force behind the move; it’s also about marketing agencies delivering innovative solutions to their clients, client retention, and keeping competitive advantage with access to skilled individuals without the need to chase technology.

Not always a perfect harmony

But it isn’t easy for all. Some marketing agencies are finding the transition thorny, web development times are traditionally longer than basic information website builds, account managers are constantly trying to catch up with the capabilities of the technologies and, as a consequence, project timescales and costs are not as clear as they were. Combined with a more complex implementation this can make the whole experience an uncomfortable one.

Finding the right white label software partner

A good white label development company partner needs to be tuned into the workings of a marketing agency. They must be proficient in delivering at speed with the quality in output that the agency’s reputations are built upon, and have a wide breadth of experience dealing with marketing data integration projects. They must also understand how brands transpose to the web, the importance of pixel perfect delivery and that even simple forms must embody the brand experience. So, as the client’s needs become more diverse and technically challenging, marketing agencies are embracing the skills of traditional software companies. This doesn’t mean the death of the internal web department but a welcome and beneficial addition to it.

How to Choose a Web Designing Company

Websites are the online identity of yourself or your company, it is always better to have a website that is decent and are up to the industry standards. Choosing the right kind of people to do the job is the most important thing that should be taken care of. People who are willing to work for your website should be able to understand your needs with proper communications.

As a first priority, to find a best web developer is the most important part. If you get a reliable web development company to do the job for you, then you will be tension free and they will provide you with the best possible service. The one you choose must be able to satisfy all your need regarding the web site. The web site they develop must be modifiable for further developments in the future.

So whenever you are to select a developer or a company make sure that the concerned firm is a reliable with the top quality services. When you select the web site designing and developing company just make a go through on them and make sure that they can fulfill your needs. For further information of the specified just seek the portfolio of the company, so that you can get a list of websites they created.

While you go to a web development company for developing a site, you should have a logical idea of the web site and the features that it should have, if possible make a rough note on your requirements. Otherwise the designer must do it in his own style, it will be sometime similar to some other web site made by the same person. So while deciding to make the web site be prepared with the color, size,fonts and other images which should be used in the web site. You should communicate all the necessary requirements to the developer so that he can develop the site in a way that you desire.

Make sure that the site made for you is simple and attractive. The site must be easy to handle and understandable for the viewers. The contents used must be made in a viewer point of view. If you could follow these simple tips when you plan to make a site, you can get better results. Always remember to find a reliable web development company or individual to get the job done efficiently.