“My web designer took my money and ran,” is something that we hear more often than you would think. Although I keep hearing the same sad story, I am still amazed each time I hear it. Usually the story goes something like this: the client hired a web designer or web design firm and put down a 50% deposit. After the deposit was received the client never heard from the web designer. If they did hear something, they were shown a bare bones site that didn’t work. The client tried and tried to reach the designer and could not get a hold of them. This is a very common occurrence that gives our industry a very bad name and I’m just tired of it.

Whether you choose to work with us at Good Work Marketing or not, we do want you to receive a quality product. In order to help others avoid the perils of losing deposits and receiving nothing in return, I’ve put together 5 key rules for finding a reliable web design company.

#1 Does the Company Have a Website

Common sense would tell you that a company that claims to specialize in website design should have their own website. If they do not, take caution. Now if they do have a website, it should contain a portfolio of their past work. Browse through the portfolio and see if the company has the design sense that you are looking for. Also make sure to check that the sites that are listed in their portfolio are in fact live and working. This is a key indicator of whether or not they pleased the client.

#2 Ask For References

If the web design firm is professional and as good as they say, they should have no problem providing references to you. If they refuse, an alarm bell should go off. The best way to find a credible company is to ask others to refer you to a designer that they have used and trust. This is how we are introduced to most of our clients here at Good Work.

#3 Pay Attention During The Initial Meeting

When meeting with the web designer or firm, make sure to pay attention to every detail. Did he or she ask you about your business, goals and target market? Did he or she take detailed notes and offer suggestions of what type of site would be effective for your business? Was the web design process explained to you, so that you would know what to expect?
These are all things that any professional web designer should do during an initial client meeting. If he or she didn’t take notes and asked you nothing about your business, that is a big indicator of a sketchy company.

#4 Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

During the meeting ask the company how familiar they are with your industry?
Ask them what programming languages they use? Ask them if they can build content management websites or sites that will allow you as the client to update the site in the future. Have them detail their web design experience and tell you how long they’ve been in the industry. Also ask them if they are familiar with search engine optimization techniques. You are the client, so do not be afraid to ask questions.

#5 Go With Your Gut Feeling

Most of us have pretty good intuition. If something seems fishy, it most probably is. If this is the case, continue with your search until you find a company that you can trust.