When searching for the best Des Moines, Iowa web design services, you need to keep these things in mind before hiring a company or individual to design/build your website…
* Their Site – If a web design company is worth their salt then they should probably have a good website of their own, so this is a good place to start your research. Check out their site and see if it is up with the current times and user friendly. Website design is a very subjective industry so there isn’t a specific standard at which you should judge their website, but you should keep in mind that any good web design company should at least have something worthy of showing off.
Not all of them will spend as much time or effort on their own site as they do their clients. In fact, most web designers usually don’t, so this shouldn’t be your only way to judge them, but it should be taken into consideration. No real web design company should have a website that flat out sucks!
* Client Portfolio – This is very important when it comes to choosing a web design service for your business site, or even your own individual site. Check out some of the other websites they have built for people. You can’t truly know how good of a designer someone is without seeing some work samples. Ask them to show you some websites they have designed for other clients and see if you they do quality work. They get an extra point if they have built at least one site in your industry (or a related one) that you can check out, but don’t count on it considering there are literally millions of different types of niches out there.
* Custom Designs – Do they offer custom websites or are all their sites the same basic “cookie cutter” designs? You probably don’t want a website that looks almost exactly like 100 others, especially if you are all in the same geographic area. Your business is unique, you are unique, and your website should be too! Make sure your company is going to standout in the online crowd by having a custom website.
* Mobile Responsive – The use of mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, to access websites is very much on the rise and has actually surpassed computers in many areas. A website built for a regular desktop or laptop computer screen will often show up vastly different on a mobile device. Therefore, it is imperative that you have a “mobile friendly” version of your website to be sure it shows up correctly for all your potential customers, clients and readers accessing it from their mobile devices. Be sure that the Des Moines web design agency you are choosing is going to build you a website that is usable both on mobile devices and computers.
* Updateable – Make absolutely sure that they create websites that are scalable and updateable, and that you can actually control. There is nothing worse than having to completely rely on your designer to make any changes to your website, or have a site that is not easily updateable or scalable in order to keep up with the times and continue growing into the future. It doesn’t take long for things to become outdated.
A content management system such as WordPress is highly recommended, so if your designer uses that as their platform then you should consider it a good sign. This is due to the fact that wordpress is very user friendly, easy to update, has a relatively simple learning curve, up to date with web standards, SEO friendly, has a ton of plugins, themes, options, and is really just an all-around great platform for websites to be built on. There are more websites on the internet built using wordpress than any other content management system in the world.
* References – As with any type of service you are hiring for, you should ask for references, recommendations, and testimonials. If the web design company or individual web designer doesn’t have any, or is hesitant to share them with you, then you should consider this a huge red flag! Ask for them and always verify that they are real. All legitimate designers should have references/recommendations/testimonials (whatever you want to call them) and be willing to give them to you.
* Team – Do they have a design team that can bounce ideas off each other in order to create the best possible website for your business, or is it just a one person operation? Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with hiring an individual designer to build your website, but it does tend to be better if there is more than one person to collaborate on the site creation. Plus, if that one person disappears, you might be totally screwed if there is nobody else to contact (this happens more than you would imagine).
* Support – Did they reply to your initial phone call or email within a day or two? If so, I would consider that a good sign. If not, then it might be a negative representation of how their support response time will be if you are their client and have an issue with your website. You can’t always expect them to drop everything and instantly respond to your every demand, but you do want a reasonable expectation of a fairly quick response time from the company responsible for your online presence.
* Price – Never choose a web designer based solely on price! Take everything else above into account before you even look at prices. Obviously you need to take it into consideration as one of your criteria eventually, but it should not be the only deciding factor. Choosing the cheapest can often be a recipe for disaster. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is quite applicable when it comes to web design. Going the cheap route can often times backfire on you in a HUGE way.
However, you also don’t want to assume that the most expensive is necessarily the best either. Paying the most won’t always get you a better site. Normally, for most businesses, it’s best to go somewhere in the middle range on price. This will obviously depend on so many different things, so that is just a generalization.
Everyone has different needs for their websites, various budgets to work with, and a whole lot of other variables for each individual or business, so it’s impossible to give you an exact set of criteria to use when choosing your web designer. However, if you use all of the information above to help guide you in your search then you will definitely be heading in the right direction. Good luck to you!