Working with the right Chicago web design company is as important for your business as choosing the right bank and the right internet provider.

The path from your business vision to your actual website, with a high conversion rate, passes through the critical phase of web design. The agency must be able to understand what you want, offer you suggestions for improvement, deliver a fully functional website and provide you with ongoing maintenance.

But how do you know how to select a good web design agency? As much as the next person you meet down the street; you have little to no previous experience working with such an agency. So how can you make sure that you pick the right one, perfectly suited to your needs?

The following tips will help you make the right choice.

#1 Prepare Your Brief

In advertising and web design agency terms, a brief is a detailed presentation of the project. Write down all the ideas related to the final look, functionality, and goals of your website. If your web design company is thinking ahead, they’ll present you with a website questionnaire.

Note: this should NOT be an RFQ/RFP, but just a starting point to help you organize your thoughts. Do not do an RFQ/RFP (request for quote / request for proposal); these very often assume you know more about how to build websites than the web design companies you’re talking with. Each company has their own process. Respect their process.

#2 Compare Quotations

The first selection threshold is the price. A common practice is to discard the cheapest offers, but make sure you’re considering the unique proposition/talent of each company. For the remaining ones, compare what they offer, in terms of:

  • The number of versions of the initial design to choose from;
  • The number of revisions carried out by the client;
  • What type of content management system (CMS) they offer; (we suggest WordPress)
  • What other related services, such as branding/SEO/PPC, they offer.

#3 Take a Look at the Company’s Website

As we judge a tailor by his clothes, we can judge a web design agency by its website. Test it on several devices – desktop, laptop, and mobile. Is it responsive and do you have a great browsing experience on each of them? Does it load quickly? Can you navigate easily through its menu buttons and find the page you are seeking quickly? If the answer to all these questions is “yes,” then you are one step closer to finding your ideal web design company.

#4 Discuss the Web Design Process

Each company has their own web design process that works best for them. Be sure that they walk you through their process so you know what to expect, when to expect, and what will be expected of you as the client. To help keep the project on schedule, provide photos and content for the website up front if at all possible. Often, the biggest delay on website projects is waiting for a client to handle their content. If you’re not going to be able to get the content handled promptly, consider hiring a copywriter to help move things along.

#5 Discuss Future Maintenance

Once your site goes live, it should not be left stagnant. To keep users coming back and to help do better within Google, you should be updating the content of your website on a regular basis (the blog portion of your site is most often where these updates are done). You should make sure that your web design company is going to be monitoring and taking care of your website. On a great platform such as WordPress, software updates are continually being released and should be done on at least a monthly basis. They should also be making sure your site never has any broken links.
These five steps are not exhaustive, but they should help you choose the best Chicago web development company for your new website.