Portland has enjoyed a respectable legacy of players in the tech industry, beginning with Tektronix in 1946. Portland, now has more than 1,200 technology companies and continues to pick up steam. In 2004, Portland’s largest employer became microcomputer components manufacturer, Intel Corporation. Portland has become very much its own high-tech city, much like its larger siblings up and down the west coast.
10 Steps to Choosing a Portland Web Design Company: More than ever, businesses in the technology and innovative products sectors have a much better understanding of the need for a powerful online presence. The internet has leveled the playing field, allowing even the little guys to look every bit as impressive as any large conglomerate. Everyone is pawing for the spotlight, and it has been an outstanding opportunity for many small businesses and entrepreneurs. Since your website is the index of your company, great focus should be given to its creation. Everyone knows you only have a few seconds to make an impression. How you appear online will definitely make or break you, especially if you are a newer company. If you are solely an online business, then the stakes are even higher. It is definitely time to call in the experience of somebody else.
But how do you find a professional web designer? How do you differentiate between a pro and a novice web design company? What kind of web design companies should even be considered? Supposing you live in Portland, Oregon how would you find your web designer? Here are a few tips that should help you out:
1. Evaluate Your Needs: Understand that a website is not all about the aesthetics. It has to be developed, hosted and then, maintained properly. So, first assess the needs of your company. Decide whether you want multiple or separate contractors for operations like designing, SEO operations, programming, hosting, website maintenance, etc. Ideally you would want to keep everything under one roof by selecting a fully staffed web development team. This would reduce time, complication and overall costs as well.
2. Have A Look at the Developer’s Website: Before choosing a company or before communicating with any designer, it is good to have a look at your to-be developer’s own site and make sure that the website is regularly updated and the strategies employed are innovative. It is an easy way to determine if they practice what they preach.
3. Ask About Internet Strategies: Remember, there is a reason you are developing a website, and it is not just to “have a website because everyone has a website.” The best websites require three important factors to be successful. They are a promising design, conversion strategies, and an inflow of quality traffic. Check whether the company you choose will help define these internet strategies.
4. Test a Company’s Credibility: If you are interested in a company, call and discuss your plans and ideas. Listen to their responses, and look for things like good presentation, examples of work, ideas they suggest – all key indicators about whether or not they have been doing this for 10 years or 10 minutes. Make sure you call more than one company so you have some comparables. You will know very quickly if this is a company you can work well with.
5. Research a Company’s Size: Bigger is not necessarily better in this case. What you are looking for is somebody midsized, who does not have a warehouse of developers with shifting priorities and project managers. You also don’t want the other end of the spectrum, where you are dealing with the owner, operator, designer, programmer and janitor all in one. The one-man-show is not as skilled as a small team, and if he catches a cold or twists an ankle, your project is delayed indefinitely. Small firms between 5 – 30 people are usually a great choice, because they have a vested interest in seeing you succeed.
6. Check a Web Design Company’s Portfolio: This is one of the easiest things you can do. Take a look at the company’s previous projects. Do the designs look modern and appealing? What kind of functionality is built into the websites? These questions ensure that a company will have enough experience to do what you ask of them. If possible, try to communicate with their recent clients and get their feedback.
7. Look for SEO-Friendly Design: It is not enough to simply have a website. In fact, that is only the beginning. You need to reach your target audience too. For this to happen, you need to be found, and fast! It is always better to choose a designer experienced in Search Engine Optimization operations. SEO-friendly websites are readily recognized and get top rankings in search engines.
8. Ask About the Cost of Future Updates and Additional Features: Supposing you want to do a version 2.0 for your website in the future, your current site should have provision for that. You should not start all over again. So, discuss with your design company whether their services would include most of the features required for an effective website like adding online tools, searchable databases of your work, pricing wizards, ecommerce, event calendars, searchable photo galleries and complex sign-up applications that can automate your business website.
9. Website Maintenance and Hosting: Always choose a web company that offers you good maintenance support in the long term. Website maintenance includes services like changing content, adding new photos, new pages, new applications or blogs. Hosting is an essential and often overlooked part of web development. Check to see what the hosting set-up is and find out if the servers are dedicated or shared. Also check the redundancy for connectivity, power and hardware. Regular backups, virus protection and server monitoring arrangements are also important things to explore before any hosting arrangements are finalized. Find out who is responsible for monitoring and maintaining them 24/7/365 days a year.
10. Measure the Company’s Customer Service: Check whether the developer is readily available to communicate with you directly. Counter-check on the promises the company makes with special reference to the price of their services, the possible delivery dates, the extra costs involved and also on the focus of the whole project.
These easy steps will guide you in selecting a good web design company in Portland, Oregon.