It’s a lesson that many highly-successful businesses have learned one by one over the years: in the absence of knowledge, get someone who has the knowledge.
For many businesses, that means outsourcing their marketing strategy and website design.
Given our thorough and varied experience over the years on both the client side and the agency side, here’s an insider’s opinion on what to look for when you outsource your website design.
1. A Stacked Deck of Teammates
The most obvious benefit of outsourcing your website design is gaining access to highly-qualified professionals outside of the scope of your business without having to recruit or hire them full-time yourself.
To that end, you need to make sure that the team you hire has a stacked deck of professionals with experience and skill in the areas you need.
A successful website design team requires a marketing leader, a skilled graphic designer and web developer, copywriter, and project manager. Any website design project without each of these team members will be lacking in some way.
Since this is what the outsourced web design team does for a living, each unit of their team needs to be accounted for. Look for team biographies on the company’s website and dig deep into each team member’s abilities and experience.
2. Flexibility with New Ideas
Outsourcing your web design project doesn’t mean you can set it and forget it.
The website design team should have a process in place to hear all of your thoughts and ideas and then improve upon them with honest feedback and expertise.
Adding on to your team in an outsourced position should bring added flexibility to your team.
A good outsourced web design company won’t come in and follow your instructions to turn the project around overnight; they’ll supplement the ideas of your in-house team with things you may never have thought of on your own to add value to the project in the long run.
3. Energy and Passion
Life’s too short (and your business goals are too important) to work with a company that doesn’t put its best foot forward.
In today’s age of social media engagement and company blogging, there should be more than enough online evidence for you to dig up as to whether or not the outsourced web design company truly loves what they do and how they help their clients.
Review the company’s website and portfolio. Take a tour of their social media presence.
Does a zest for what they do become obvious? Are they energetic and sociable while maintaining professionalism?
How a company presents itself online is a good indicator of the experience you will have when working with them, so take notes now.
4. Their Projects Are Custom-Made
When it comes to an outsider’s view of a web design company’s portfolio, there’s a fine line between consistent best practice and laziness.
Do a lot of the company’s websites look similar in style, color, and graphic elements? Does it seem like it might as well be the same site over and over again? If so, speak up and ask questions.
When you review the design firm’s previous clients’ websites, it should be clear that each design choice was made because it was a good fit for that client -- not because it’s the design firm’s one-hit-wonder and they don’t have any other options.
They should be able to clearly explain their choices and how those choices related to the project.
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided to outsource your website, don’t settle for the first option you come across. Carefully review the experience and portfolio of every firm -- and every employee -- before you make your decision to make sure you’re choosing the right web design firm for you.