For small businesses, having a quality website can make all the difference between success and failure, but finding the ideal web design company can be a daunting task. There are numerous professional web design firms and freelance web designers all around the world so HOW do you go about selecting the right one to design your company’s website? Once you’ve planned what you want your site to achieve, you can start searching for the company that will bring your plan to life. You want to hire the best company for the job, so just as you would interview prospective candidates for a job vacancy, you need to ask web designers some important questions to ascertain whether they are suitable to undertake your project. I have put together a list of the 5 questions you must ask when selecting a web design company to help you through the selection process.

1. “Can you build the type of website I want?” This is one of the most important questions to ask. You can generally get a reasonable idea of the answer to this question by checking the web designer’s portfolio. If you can see examples of sites they have created for other companies in the same line of business as you and those sites look similar to what you have in mind, then the answer is more than likely going to be yes.

2. “What online marketing solutions do you use and do you have case studies/testimonials to prove that your techniques are successful?” Once you’ve established that a web design company can build a site to match your precise requirements, you need to consider how they will market your site. Particularly in the case of small businesses and companies just starting up, a well designed website is as good as worthless if potential customers can’t find it. Optimizing text to make it search engine friendly, designing e-mail marketing campaigns, managing pay-per-click campaigns and offering advice on affiliate marketing programs are all examples of the ways a professional web design firm can help you with Internet marketing.

3. “Does your company provide additional services such as web hosting or graphic design?” Small business owners often like to have all of their web related matters dealt with by one Web Design Company. Not only does this make the whole process easier to keep abreast with, but it can also work out cheaper if you have an ‘all inclusive’ package of services.

4. “How will you maintain my site once it is launched?” You need to know that your site will be managed properly after it has been launched. Bear in mind things such as the need to update content regularly, make modifications to the site’s layout and the possible expansion of your website once your business gets recognized. If your website has a content management system then you can update/add content yourself but changing the layout or enlarging your site is a job for the professionals.

5. “How long will it take to complete my site and how much will it cost me?” If you’ve received similar answers to the above questions from the designers you’ve talked to, this final question will probably determine which web design firm gets your business. A fixed price quotation is generally going to be a better bet than one based on hourly rates. If the web design firm is going to offer additional services such as Internet marketing and web hosting you may be able to negotiate a yearly fixed price contract.

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