Impressions

by Cochran

What To Look For In Hiring A Web Design Firm

This is a condensed version of a recent talk I gave to a group of sales professionals within a large website design firm. They wanted an agency perspective, so I didn’t mince words.

Here are Cochran Creative Group’s top ten prerequisites in choosing a web design partner.

1. Easy to work with. We look for a firm that’s well organized. Namely, we need to know from the ‘get-go’ who our lead contact person is. We don’t want to talk with a different customer service person each time we call.

2. Speaks in a language we (and our customers) can understand. This harks back to Sales 101: Learn to talk the customer’s language.

3. Is customer-focused. Not only are they interested in our business; they’re also interested in our customers’ business. They’re here to help solve our problems and make our lives easier.

4. Wants to form a real partnership with us. For instance, we’d like help preparing proposals and pitching clients. We’d like to include our web partner on conference calls with customers. We’d like our web partner to take as much ownership over the project as we do. We don’t need you to be anonymous.

5. Takes part in the website planning process. Offers up ideas. Discourages us from going in a wrong direction. Basically, we need your help. We’re not web designers. Please guide us.

6. Offers us content management sites that are design-independent. We spend our days creating custom logos, custom marketing plans and custom advertising campaigns. We want to create unique sites. We don’t want to be boxed in by column widths or drop down styles. We hate the “T” word, i.e., templates.

7. Cares about site aesthetics. We and our customers care about things like centering, consistent use of font styles, font sizes and colors. Aesthetics help maintain a consistent brand message. They may do little for SEO, but they do subliminally attract and keep customers.

8. Is attentive to detail. Looks into even small errors. When we see “done with errors” on the bottom of a page, it doesn’t inspire confidence. If we notice errors, there’s certainly a chance that other visitors to the site will notice them too.

9. Adheres to web standards and provides a high level of quality assurance. Tests each site on multiple browsers for consistency in rendering. We don’t want to hear that a site “might not look right in Safari or IE6.” Unfortunately, our customers could be using less-popular or older browser versions.

10. Delivers on time and is readily available for troubleshooting. We prefer to work with a website firm that provides ongoing support in a proactive way – a group that checks in on a regular basis, just to “see how things are going.”

All in all, we’re looking for a long-term relationship – the launch of a new website is only the beginning.

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May 16, 2010 Posted by | website design | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping Your Page Content Updated and Fresh

Keeping your web page content updated and fresh is critical to attracting new customers. Doing so will also give former customers and formerly tentative shoppers a reason to return to your site and buy from you. New content entices the search engine spiders to scan your site and increases the odds that your site will appear in the rankings.

Depending on your on-line goals, investing in a content management system can be an effective use of marketing dollars. A content management system gives you the power to easily update all copy, graphics and other content within your site without any programming knowledge whatsoever.

A content management system, coupled with a strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plan, will allow you take an active role in driving more would-be customers to your website and choosing you over the competition.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Online Marketing | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments