If you’re planning on creating a new website for your business, choosing the right web design company can be a challenge.

Knowing who will look after your web development and ensure you the best long term value in the short term is important, and by this I mean, who will offer you the best solution now that will be of maximum benefit for the months and years to come.

A well built website should last you many years, and with minimal regular maintenance and optimisation, much of which you can manage yourself with a little training, your website would be very cost effective.

But with so many web developers out there, how do you begin to choose the best of the bunch without purely judging them on price?

The best way is to start by looking at their own website, and check for these following things:

  1. Does their website start with https or just http before their domain name in your browser? And what is the difference?
    Well, for starters, every qualified web developer should now be running their own website with an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, as Google is starting to make this mandatory for all websites, particularly sites with contact forms and shopping carts.
    You’ll be able to tell if the website has an SSL certificate if a small padlock icon appears before their domain name in your browser URL. If they don’t have an SSL certificate stay away!
  2. Do they rank on the first page of Google for their services they provide, or the service region? For example, if you were on the Sunshine Coast and looking for a web designer, you’d probably search ‘Sunshine Coast website design’. Now skip past all the listings with the small ‘Ad’ icon before them, as these are all the companies that have to pay Google to appear on the first page. You don’t want them. If they can’t rank organically themselves, they probably won’t be able to get you ranking well either.
    A good web design company will provide search engine optimisation as a free standard service, but ensure you ask for this in the quote otherwise it could be very expensive if you need to add it later.
  3. Do they have a decent portfolio of website examples on their own website? There are many that claim they have done a pile of websites, but unless you can see them you won’t know if they are being truthful, or the style of sites they create. Not all web designers are created equal! If they don’t have at least 20 website examples visible, ensure you ask for a good list of work they have created.
  4. Do they have a clear pricing policy? Web developers are known to add ‘bells and whistles’, which can end up costing you more than you expected, and for this reason you’ll find many web developers don’t disclose their pricing on their website. Sure, some websites do require custom pricing, but most good web developers will have a standard price list on their website as a general guide of how much you’ll expect to pay, and most importantly, what is included in the price, such as maintenance agreements, SEO, web hosting, domain names, etc.
  5. Speed plays a big part in both how fast your site loads, but also how well it ranks. If you have a slow loading website it may put visitors off if they need to wait for it to load, which may affect your bounce rate and send you plummeting to the depths of Google.
    So, before choosing a web designer, visit gtmetrix.com and run a test on their loading speed and ensure their own loading time appears good. If you’re seeing a web developer who’s own website is taking like 10 seconds or more to load, most likely they’re not big on optimisation, and it should be a key factor in every website, especially a web developers site.

Follow these 6 checks and see how your future web designer stacks up. It will help make your choice a little easier and confident in your final decision.