Regardless whether you manage a small business, charitable organization, or Fortune 500 company, choosing the right web design company can quickly become a full-time research project. With thousands of design companies to choose from, what factors truly determine which web design company is best for your business?

The primary considerations for choosing a web design company are:

  • Price
  • Customer service/access to support
  • Credibility indicators of the design firm
  • Portfolio and design experience
  • Other web development services offered (application development, database design, website maintenance, domain renewal, web hosting, SEO)
  • Turnaround time

Let's take a closer look at each consideration in detail, and explore how to identify and qualify the right web design company.

Web Design Price

Like many products and services we purchase, both personally and professionally, deciding on a web design firm can often come down to price. But the value of the services rendered is really what's important. A $200 web site usually turns out to look, feel and perform like a $200 web site.

The price of your website's development will depend on three factors: the features of the site, the amount of content, and the service options included with the design package, such as application development, database design and web hosting.

Because pricing varies by firm, here are several principles to use when determining the validity and value of a web design quote:

  • Does the quote state one all-inclusive price for the entire project?
  • Is there a re-occurring monthly fee for web hosting?
  • Is the website custom-built, or is it customization of an existing web template?
  • Is there a separate fee for content development, such as writing sales copy?
  • Is domain registration/management included in the package?
  • Will the web design company provide multiple web design concepts, prior to actual development?

It's important to compare quotes from at least three firms to, determine the value of the services offered. Looking for the best value is important in a competitive service market.

Customer Service

There are few things worse than signing with a web design company that offers a great product, only to find out they are impossible to contact. A consistent, open contact with your web design company is important for ensuring success before, during, and after your website is developed.

Throughout the web design process, you may identify text, photos, or contact information you'd like to change before your website goes live. If you have immediate questions regarding your website's development, you'll be glad to have immediate contact with customer support staff by e-mail, telephone, or live chat.

If you are limited to e-mail technical support, consider other web design companies that offer a wider range of customer service options such as telephone and live chat support. E-mail is great for convenience - when it's convenient.

Credibility Indicators

Identifying "credibility indicators" can help ensure a firm is trustworthy, and will be around after your deposit or full payment is sent. Credibility indicators include, but are not limited to:

  • Telephone support
  • 24 hour customer service
  • Human e-mail address contacts
  • Google PageRank of 2 or above
  • Presentation of a hard-copy quote / web design agreement

Web Design Experience / Portfolio

Does the web design company have experience in working with similar types of businesses? Even if a web designer doesn't have a web site in their portfolio related to your industry, the web design company you select should have a strong working knowledge of how to develop an effective website for your business type. Product and service websites are not the same. Your web designer should have a plan of action for developing a site that reaches the maximum number of prospective customers in your target market.

A few good questions to ask about a web design company's design experience include:

  • Does the company offer a number of diverse, finished web sites available for review?
  • Will the web design company conduct research regarding my competition?
  • Will my website highlight the features, benefits and value of my product or service?
  • Has the web design company outlined a plan of action for creating an effective website, start to finish?

Web design experience need not always relate to the type of websites the firm has previously developed. If you have a specific look in mind, ask the firm if achieving a similar design is possible. The ultimate goal is to know you're going to get a tangible benefit out of your website through effective, affordable web design.

Additional Services

Many web design companies offer web design, but do not provide other required services such as web hosting and domain name registration. Ideally, your web design company should be a full-service firm, offering at least basic web hosting, domain registration and search engine optimization services tailored to your needs. Research each web design company to determine other key lines of business, so that any future expansion of your site will be seamless as your business grows.

Turnaround Time

An effective website should take 30-60 days to go live, from the start of production. Unless you're offering hundreds of individual products or services on your web site, the entire development process, start to finish, should take no longer than 60 days. Turnaround time should include:

  • Upload of your website to the hosting provider
  • Configuration of any scripts or forms on your site
  • Domain propagation (accessing your website and e-mail via

Hiring the cheapest, fastest, or most elaborate web design company does not always equate to hiring the right web design firm. A limited amount of front-end research can save time and money in the long term, and maximize the sales revenue from your web presence.

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