What’s your web address? This is one of the single most important questions asked in the marketing world today. In the past, it was simply good enough to have any sort of presence online. With more and more business being conducted over the Internet, however, a company’s online image can no longer be an afterthought. Today, the image that your company projects online is just as important as the image it projects in all other aspects of marketing – if not more so.
That is why it is important when designing or redesigning a company’s website to choose the right design firm for the job. Customers are web savvy enough nowadays that they can easily tell the difference between a website that was created in somebody’s basement and a site that was professionally designed by experts.
When researching Chicago web design firms, there are some key considerations to keep in mind that will ultimately lead you to the best-suited website development firm for your company.
Ask Around
One of the easiest ways to find a Chicago web design firm that will create the website of your dreams is to ask around. Spend a week talking to all of your business associates and ask them who did their website and what kind of an experience it was. Chances are a shortlist will begin to emerge from all of these conversations.
Another tactic is to look at websites online to see which styles match what you are looking for. Looking at sites within your field ensures the web design firm will already be knowledgeable in your industry, but this is not necessary. Most of the top web design firms in the country can create effective websites regardless of past experience in a particular industry or geographic location. If you are in Houston or Orlando, for instance, there is no reason to rule out web development firms in New York or Chicago. Web design firms are experts in communication and usually work with clients all over the world. The key is choosing the right one for YOU regardless of location.
Start At Page One
Once you have established a shortlist, an obvious first step in narrowing the field is to take a close look at the web design firm’s own website. It is important that from first glance their site stands out from all the rest, especially in a competitive marketplace like Chicago. Web design that is effective is typically very clean and easy to navigate. Are all of the links working? Is the site engaging and informative at the same time? Were you inspired to call or make a purchase as you hope visitors will do when they visit your website?
Their attention to the details in their own site is a good way to measure their professionalism and the attention they’ll give your page. The company should also provide a list of past and present clients. A good Chicago website development company will want to show off what they can do and will be excited to do so.
Talk To Past Clients
In addition to the sites of past clients, a good Chicago web design company will give you a few past customers you can interview. It’s important to get a feel for how the developer works with customers. This could be a long-term business relationship and you’ll need to make sure all your concerns are addressed before you begin.
Some questions to ask are:
o Was the site delivered on time and on budget? How long did it take?
o Did the designer listen to your ideas and needs or use a template?
o Were they able to handle e-commerce needs like shopping carts and online inventory management?
o Will they help set up a blog for your company?
o Will they allow you to update it yourself and teach you how to do it? This will save your company time and money in the long run.
o How would you rate their customer service?
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more than a marketing buzz word. It is a critical component of any online marketing campaign. If your business depends on high search engine rankings and high online visibility, then choosing a Chicago web design firm that specializes in SEO is imperative.
When a website is designed without SEO in mind, it is rendered useless. The only way customers are going to find it is through traditional marketing of the domain name or online pay-per-click advertising – both of which can prove costly over time.
An effective web design company can do so much more than just design a new business website. In today’s business environment, a website is arguably a business’s most effective marketing tool. Choosing the web design firm with business knowledge, design experience, and marketing insight can be the difference between a simple web presence, and a top performing website.
Summary: Choosing a Chicago web design firm can be a daunting task. This article explores the steps a company needs to take to find the perfect website development firm for their online needs.
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