The 7 Steps to Choosing the Right Web Design Company

The 7 Steps to Choosing the Right Web Design Company

As you are probably well aware by this point, all professional companies have websites. There is simply no escaping their necessity in the business environment of today’s world. Customers flock to the internet for everything from finding out closest stores near them to determining how late a particular company is open. Some businesses only  operate online in the form of ecommerce websites. The point we are making here is that if you don’t have a website, then you are either from another planet and simply haven’t gotten the memo yet, or your business is already so successful and well-established that you don’t need any new customers. If you are one of the many sane business owners who do have websites for their companies, then this means you at one point had to make the decision of deciding with whom you would entrust the image of your brand online.

If you are like most people, this decision wasn’t as simple as you might have hoped it would be in the beginning. In fact, the amount of web design specialists and web developers out there nowadays seems to be growing at an exponential rate, making such decisions more and more difficult to make with each day that passes. This, coupled with the fact that websites are playing an increasingly important role in the value of your company and its potential to succeed in the modern world, makes choosing the right web design company for you no easy task. So how do you make the right decision and choose?

While there are many different factors that all contribute to an individual’s decision making process, we have attempted to distill down an algorithmic process to help guide you in the daunting feat of selecting the right web developer to meet your business’s needs. Using Philadelphia, Denver, and Austin as a model for our examples, we will show you the best and most practical ways to make the right decision for you and your business when deciding how to choose a professional web design company to build you a site that works specifically for you.

Step 1 - Make a List of No Less Than 10 Web Design Companies in Philadelphia, Denver, and Austin

This is by far the easiest step in our opinion. Since you are indeed dealing with companies whose specialty is a presence on the internet, you can find and compile a list of them simply by using Google. It is important that you create a table and place the names of the companies and the sites in an organized list so that it is easy for you to refer back to and add additional information as you see fit. As you scan through the Google results pages, the first thing you should be aware of is that just because a company is at the top of these listings doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best web design company in Philadelphia, Austin, Denver, or anywhere else. Review at least ten different pages to make sure you are diversifying your options. We also believe that you will be surprised at the sheer number of companies building websites in the Philadelphia, Denver, and Austin area.

List of web design companies in Philadelphia

Step 2 - First Attempt to Communicate

After you’ve narrowed down your top choices, you are going to want to reach out to these companies to find additional information that is specific to your company and needs. A simple email should suffice. Something along the lines of: “We are a beauty salon working in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Our site was developed many years ago and needs to be updated or completely redone. Judging by your site and the information on it, it seems as though you offer such web design services. If you could send us some basic information detailing items such as whether or not you have the capacity to handle such a job, a preliminary price quote, and any other information you deem necessary to share, we would greatly appreciate it.”

Step 3 - First Round Cuts: Removing All Companies Who Can’t Work Quickly

This might seem like common sense to some, but if you don’t receive a response from any of these website design companies within two working days, it is your best bet to cut them from the herd and remove them from any further consideration in your decision-making process. The fact of the matter is, if it takes them this long to respond to your initial offer, imagine how long it will take them after they already have your money. If you are feeling generous, increase the wait period to three days, but definitely no longer than that. You will be genuinely surprised at how long it takes some companies to respond, and you will greatly slim down your list. Some companies simply won’t respond at all.

Removing slow website design companies

Step 4 - The First Meeting

This is the longest and most exhausting step in the whole process, but it is also the most crucial. It is at this point you are vetting for a potential partner who will be with you for several years in the future. We understand that time is indeed money, but you must give this stage the due diligence it deserves if you plan to make money from the internet as you prepare to spend money to be on it. It goes without saying that, as you prepare for this meeting, you must come up with a lengthy list of professional questions. Your list of questions should range from everything this company has done in the past to asking about how they would handle potential problem areas down the road. In addition, the company should provide you with their portfolio. The goal here is not only to determine whether or not they are capable of meeting your immediate needs, but also to see if they will be the kind of company that will stick with you long-term even after all the paperwork is signed.

Step 5 - Analyze the Data Gathered From the First Meeting

As we mentioned earlier, it is at this point where you should begin filling in the data from each meeting next to the name of each company in your original list. By aggregating all of your data into one convenient place, you will be better able to compare and contrast each company’s individual advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the questions that you should have found answers to:

  • What is the average speed of website development for a project such as the one you are proposing?
  • In that past two years, how many similar projects has the company successfully completed?
  • In terms of the company’s development staff, how many of them are in-house? How often do they use outsourcing?
  • Is the company capable of building your website and simultaneously promoting it? As you may know, it is one thing to have a website, but it is nothing if no one sees it. It is important to understand from the very start which companies are capable of bringing you the visitors you need to be profitable in the online world. While there are many different ways to reach all of these goals, the most convenient is having it all done by the same company.
  • How do payments work? Does the fee need to be paid all at once or can installments be made over a 6-8 month period? Be sure to ask about interest if financing is available.

Don’t be shy in asking for an initial design from the company before the contract is even signed. Some of the best companies are glad to demonstrate their capabilities for your business specifically in order to showcase their work and dedication.

Checklist with web desig firms analysing

Step 6 - Receiving The Commercial Offers

By this point, you have continued to narrow down your list in accordance with the above-outlined standards and should be dealing with no more than 8-10 web design companies in Philadelphia. It is at this point that you should be calling or emailing these potential partners for an official quote and timeline for your proposed project. Before making any quick decisions, wait until you have received quotes from all of the companies you asked. Once all of the offers are aggregated and in front of you, we advise that, unless there are some highly unusual circumstances at play, you remove the two most expensive companies and the two cheapest companies. Oftentimes companies seek to inflate their prices either to take advantage or to begin the bargaining process from a strong position. Remember, we are looking for partners, not people who want to spin us for a loop. Similarly, the cheapest companies probably reflect their low prices in the quality of their work or their desperation for it. Either way, low prices in the web development world are often too good to be true.

Step 7 - Comfort of Communication

This is exactly what it sounds like. How easy was it for you Material by Web Design and Development12 interesting and attractive website design ideas in Philadelphia12 interesting and attractive website design ideas in PhiladelphiaThe 30 Best Ways You Can Increase the Number of Calls From Your Company's Website Right Now: Part 3The 30 Best Ways You Can Increase the Number of Calls From Your Company's Website Right Now: Part 3 to communicate with the company in general and the people specifically? This is an incredibly important determinant in your decision-making process. You will be working and communicating with these people for several months, and it is their job to make it as easy as possible for you. Your role is to run your company and theirs is to bring it to life online, not to give you an extra line in your job description.

We suggest that you evaluate the ease of communication on the following parameters:

  • How long did it take for representatives to reply to emails?
  • How quickly were they able to provide data you requested?
  • In terms of the quality of company representatives, were they willing and able to go out of their way to explain all aspects of the web development process? Were they knowledgeable?
  • How did you feel throughout your correspondence with the company?

Step 7 Is, Without a Doubt, The Most Important

So, you have anywhere from 3-5 companies left from which to choose. You are satisfied with all of them truly, but how can you make the final decision and determine which is the best of the best? We offer you a simple and elegant solution to conclude your quest. On a large whiteboard in your office, write out the latest 10 sites created by each of your final choices. Once you have done this, ask every employee to visit everyone of these sites and mark a talley next to those that they like. This helps bring in outside perspective and remove any biases that you may have developed throughout your search. The company with the most tallies is the people’s favorite, and after all, it is the people you want to win over in the end. By the way, we at Direct Line Development always have the most tallies in the end… Our work truly speaks for itself.

Practical Experiment

In the process of writing this article, we decided to conduct a fun little experiment. We created a fictitious company, registered an email for it, and wrote to 20 different web design companies in Philadelphia, inquiring about their services. Our suspicions were satisfied: many of these companies did not even respond to us. All emails were sent on August 22, 2017 at 3:21 PM.

Name of companyE-mail sentAnswer received
Durkan Group08/22 @ 3:21pm8/22 @ 3:53pm
ThinkItFirst08/22 @ 3:21pm8/22 @ 3:56pm
Studioality08/22 @ 3:21pm8/22 @ 4:09pm
King Design LLC08/22 @ 3:21pm8/22 @ 4:42pm
Pepper Lillie08/22 @ 3:21pm8/23 @ 8:31am
YIKES08/22 @ 3:21pm8/23 @ 12:40pm
Push 1008/22 @ 3:21pm8/23 @ 12:24pm
Zivtech08/22 @ 3:21pm8/23 @ 4:28pm
Roja Interactive08/22 @ 3:21pm8/24 @ 4:54pm
Bluecadet08/22 @ 3:21pm8/25 @ 11:08am
Delphic Digital08/22 @ 3:21pmNo response
WebpageFX08/22 @ 3:21pmNo response
Eastern Standard08/22 @ 3:21pmNo response
The 215 Guys08/22 @ 3:21pmNo response
Digital Criative08/22 @ 3:21pmNo response
P’unk Ave08/22 @ 3:21pmNo response
Impart Creative08/22 @ 3:21pmNo response
HappyCog08/22 @ 3:21pmSent and automatic reply in response to our email. Never connected or followed up.
CWP Design Studio08/22 @ 3:21pmSent and automatic reply in response to our email. Never connected or followed up.

The results of our experiment provided us with the following pieces of information. Four companies were able to respond to the email on the same day we sent it. Four more companies responded within 24 hours. One company responded on the fifth day, and one more responded on the sixth. The rest of the companies gave no response whatsoever, although we should that two them at least had automated email responses (with no follow up, however).

How could someone work with a web developer who doesn’t even respond to order requests from their own website? As this experiment shows, always test your potential partners before giving them your business. At Direct Line Development, we work through a system that records the time between each correspondence with have with our clients. Currently, our company-wide average response time is two hours and 21 minutes. We are working to bring that average down to one hour.

Wrapping It All Up

This scheme is by no means exhaustive and we most certainly recommend that you amend it to fit your company’s specific needs and decision-making processes. What it will do is get you started in the right direction and help you root out the companies that will waste your time and money. In the process, we took into account all of the aspects that give customers confidence in their website design companies. We want to emphasize the importance of considering these firms for not only their abilities to meet your immediate needs but to consistently provide for you and make you money. Put this algorithm into action and see how it works for you! If you have any questions about the viability of your results or about a company’s specific actions throughout the process, feel free to write to us and a representative will gladly address your concerns!

The article was updated on January 22, 2018.

Alex Kudimov
Alex Kudimov


Steve Greenspan

This is a great article because it outlines the conversation I always have with people. Not just about weighing your options, but about getting educated to ask the right questions of the company that will take over your digital presence!

Anytime a company is looking for help, time is always of the essence. But partnering effectively goes a long way. Clients are hiring the Team that is the best fit for them. Be organized and thorough. Get what you are looking for.

When looking for a new company it's extremely important to do your homework as this article states. There's nothing worse than choosing the wrong company and knowing that you've made a costly mistake. Quite a few times we meet with Companies that just spent a lot of money in Developing their Site, but are not getting the results they were expecting, the site might be visually appealing, but it lacks on structure and intent, so my best advice is Don't just hire a company to build you a pretty website, take a step back and look at the whole macro approach. Your Web Development company should be there for every step as your business grows.

I think when a company that has everything to offer, but doesn't contact you is incredibly frustrating and should be removed from your list of choices right away. Maybe they are packed with too much on the plate or simply don't prioritize communication, which is one of the signs that it may not work out well.

Interesting to find that some companies don't even respond to an inquiry, while I am not surprised, I don't understand...

I find it very surprising that many of these companies have not even emailed you back. Along with this, some of them sent a automatic email response. A company should always prioritize their clients first and make them feel welcomed, this being said, you should receive a personalized response back to show your importance to them. This article really helps you understand what you should look for in a company before deciding on using them.

Some companies just don't have the manpower to take a lot of clients at certain points in the year. I think it also comes to the value that these companies put on your business. The "heroes" will see the value in each client and the "zeros" will be picking who they want to work with.

Almost all business owners have a hard time finding a good Web company due to lack of knowledge. A lot of companies are too small to complete multiple projects at the same time.

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Stephen Greenspan
Stephen Greenspan
(215) 901-2356