This is Block 81's archive of past articles. Once in a while we may add more, but it's rare.
Block 81 is a design studio producing beautifully crafted websites and brands for independent businesses and startups.
June 20, 2014
Regardless of whether you're operating an offline or online business, a personalized website serves a number of purposes. Accessibility via the Internet provides extensive advertisement options. Sites also open the door for customer or client access to the business. Access to customers opens the lines of communication and leads to sales. While finding a Portland web design agency to accomplish the task may seem overwhelming, there are a number of aspects to take into consideration that make hiring a professional less confusing.
Before locating a designer, have an idea of the type of site that you might desire. Resist the urge to play the role of designer though (unless of course you are one). Choose a general theme (not a theme template), along with possible photographs, links to sites that feature the functionality and style you're after, and any other details that apply. Make a list of must have features and characteristics. This also provides site architects with an idea of how to proceed.
Depending on training, experience and agency, web design pricing varies greatly. Have a budget allowance in place and find someone willing to work within your financial guidelines.
Interview multiple designers or agencies and review their previous work. Having formulated ideas of what you are looking for, determine which Portland web design professionals meet or exceed your expectations. Discuss project costs and timelines. Find out if the work is completed in-house or outsourced to other individuals or agencies. Is the designer or design team listening to you about your ideas or are they more interested in what they have to offer?
Ensure that the agency understands the purpose of your future site. Most websites are geared to generate sales leads. Architectural aspects must include the means for accomplishing the objective through back-links, search engine optimization, and other options.
The website domain address and name should be registered to you or your business and not the designer or the design agency. Having ownership ensures that you may make modifications or completely alter the business in the future.
Take into consideration the ability to stay in touch with the design team. Communication between the Portland web design team and the client is essential for completion of a successful project. Do they respond in a reasonable timeframe or do you have to make multiple calls or send multiple emails?
Once completed to your satisfaction, make sure that you or a member of your team has some sort of support from the agency you've hired. Even if your site is built on a content management system (CMS), allowing you to make updates to your site's content, there are other considerations for post-launch support and maintenance. Will your agency provide support and maintenance should something go wrong or if you CMS or e-commerce software needs upgrading? Often this requires additional costs, so it's good to discuss, plan, and budget for them accordingly.