The website design company from 10 years ago does not exist today. Today’s website design companies have evolved and transformed at nearly the same rate of change as the technology they implement for clients. Not that long ago your website was just an online business card with more pictures and information. Today your website is your digital storefront where potential clients and customers go first to determine if you’re a serious candidate for their business.
Not surprisingly, the website design company evolution has resulted in variations in websites design companies. Not every company is going to be the right fit for your unique needs. This evolution has resulted in four different types of website design agencies:
- The Small Business Web Design Agency – Budget is always the main focus. Limited templates and no marketing strategy.
- The Development Focused Web Design Agency – Technical experts that are great at building highly complex custom websites, but limited in other areas of online marketing.
- Ad Agency Web Designers – Large, expensive, traditional advertising agencies that mostly work with Fortune 500 companies. Usually, come with big overhead costs and long contracts.
- Marketing Web Designers – Strategy experts that provide an all-in-one solution from website design, content strategy, SEO, social media, and email marketing. Great for small to midsize businesses.
You’re in the right place if you’re looking for the best website design firm in Washington, DC to meet your unique needs. We’re going to give an overview of the top web design agencies in Washington, DC, and look at how to evaluate which type of web development company is right for you.
The Top Web Design Companies in Washington, DC
- Keybridge Web (Best all-around website design company)
- FreshySites (Best company for low-budget web design)
- Wix (Best web development service for do-it-yourself designers)
- Squarespace (Best web design platform for artists and stand-alone portfolios)
Today’s website company experience is all about personalization and customization. There is no one size fits all model. The key to finding the right web agency is first understanding who you are and what you need.
If you own or work for a small to mid-sized business, you’ll mostly need a website design company that can offer you an all-around experience to meet all of your online marketing needs. There’s no point in having a beautiful website if nobody can find it, and the messaging is lacking or confusing.
For those working on a very small budget but still want professional help, there are options. You’ll get a good-looking website, but it will have limited functionality, and you’ll have to provide the content and figure out the SEO and marketing aspects.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer and just want to put something very basic together, you have options. The do-it-yourself website option is the latest iteration of the online business card website of the past. You can upload pictures and information, but functionality is, and design is very limited.
#1 Keybridge Web – Best all-around Website Design Company
Keybridge Web is the best all-around website design company in Washington, DC. Keybridge Web would fall into the category of a “marketing web design agency.” They can provide any small to mid-sized business with everything they need to establish a strong online presence and attract new prospects and customers.
Keybridge Web offers:
- Website design
- Website development
- Content Strategy
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
Keybridge Web has been in the website marketing space for nearly two decades. They’ve experienced the changes and have evolved with each new iteration. They grew organically through measured performance and client referrals. Today they implement the very same strategies that helped them grow for their clients.
Keybridge is a U.S.-based company that completes every aspect of your project with an in-house team of website specialists. Because they’re just focused on website design and marketing, they can build you the same quality website that Fortune 500 companies spend hundreds of thousands on building for just four figures.
The Keybridge Process
When you work with Keybridge Web, the first step is a discovery session. They drill down to find out what’s important about your business and the best strategy to shine a light on it.
Discovery will inform design, which is followed by search engine optimization, and putting all the pages together into a site map. Once the big picture is complete, Keybridge helps you with content if needed.
The final step after content is added to the design is quality control testing to ensure your website is performing optimally on all devices. After passing quality control, your new website goes live. But Keybridge Web doesn’t just wave goodbye and wish you luck. You get training so you can control your website to your liking and ongoing support like hosting, security, and backups.
Hundreds of companies have relied on Keybridge Web over the years to get their Washington, DC business seen online. Take a look at just some of the many websites Keybridge Web has designed.
#2 FreshySites – Best Company for Low-Budget Web Design
FreshySites is a website design company that’s a good choice for a small business looking for a website on a small budget. The company is a bit of a national chain company with offices in 20 cities across the country.
The company specializes in themed WordPress sites. This means that you can choose from a number of pre-designed and built layouts to plug your images and content into. Although there is room for some customization within themes, the architecture largely remains the same. You change fonts, font sizes, colors and add plugins.
For small businesses looking to get something up that looks professional and wants to handle their own content and marketing strategy, using a company like FreshySites can be a good option.
#3 Wix – Best Web Development Service for Do-it-yourself Designers
Wix is an excellent drag-and-drop site builder for creating small websites. Wix has gained a big following over the years as they’ve put a lot of money into their national big-budget marketing campaigns. Wix allows users to choose from 100s of pre-designed templates. Buying a prefabricated house would be a good comparison to using Wix. You can’t change the architecture, but you can paint the walls and add furniture you love.
Wix offers a free hosting plan, but the website is branded with Wix, so all your visitors know it’s a Wix website. Premium plans are single-site only, so adding additional sites later is not an option. Any tracking or analytics will require a paid plan. Perhaps, the biggest deterrent is that your Wix website is not transferable.
#4 Squarespace – Best Web Design Platform for Artists and Stand-alone Portfolios
Squarespace is a popular choice for photographers, artists, and anyone who wants to just focus on showing their portfolio online. If you don’t have high-quality images, or if you need to use a lot of text, you’ll struggle to get the best use out of most of Squarespace’s visually focused designs.
Although Squarespace is marketed as a drag and drop website builder, unlike Wix, you can’t just drag anything anywhere. It’s more section-based, and the learning curve is slightly bigger. Some users find the minimalist interface a little “too clean,” and navigation is not the most user-friendly.
Ultimately SquareSpace is like a more advanced version of Wix, slightly more expensive and geared towards artists. So solopreneurs, a SquareSpace website can work quite well and is worth looking into.
4 Characteristics that Define the Best Website Design Companies
Now that you have a lay of the land when it comes to types of website design companies, how do you evaluate the best kind of marketing web design company? Let’s say you’re looking for the best all-around website company in Washington, DC. You can find a lot of companies that describe themselves as a marketing web design agency, but what are the criteria that matter most?
Experienced In-House Employees
The best web design firms have earned their reputation by hiring and working with the best people. Today, most agencies are run by just one or two people who act like their part of a big agency. They handle the sales, then outsource all of the work to overseas teams. Often they charge premium prices and act like all the work is U.S. based when it’s not. The biggest risk with working with a website agency that outsources overseas is quality control and project management. Timelines get extended, sites don’t work properly, and what should have been a 3-month project takes three times as long or worse.
An Extensive and Impressive Portfolio
You definitely want to look past work to see what your web design company is capable of. Websites are unique, but good design is good design and can be appreciated in different contexts. Look at the different types of industries they’ve worked with over the years. The best web design firms will have likely worked with a variety of different types of industries, from associations and construction to finance, healthcare, tech, and more. The good thing here is they don’t need to be an industry expert to build an amazing website for your business.
Real Testimonials from Satisfied Clients
Social proof is powerful because it works. It’s the reason you spend so much time reading reviews on Amazon before buying something. The same time should go into reading what past clients have said about your website provider. Testimonials will give you insights into how the web design agency works on both a customer service level and the quality of the final product.
Well Defined and Proven Process
You’ll know you’re working with a top web design company if they sell you on their process. The “build” in “building a website” involves having a tested and proven process. You wouldn’t hire a home contractor to build a house that doesn’t have a process. The best web design firms have an established and clear process to ensure that each goal and deadline is met. The process should include the following:
- Discovery phase – Where they identify your goals, objectives, and vision. This starts with a kick-off meeting and is followed by in-depth interviews. You’ll discuss technical requirements, competitor sites, aesthetic preferences, content requirements, SEO, analytics, and more.
- Sitemap, Wireframes & Information Architecture – The next step after discovery is creating a sitemap and general architecture for the website pages. The sitemap is a visual list that shows the hierarchy of how your pages will be navigated and which pages will need content. Content and wireframe (similar to a house blueprint) are then created, which will inform the user experience.
- UI/UX Design Strategy – After the wireframes are finalized, the visual layout of the website will begin to take shape. User experience (UX) is the plan for designing how the customers will interact with your website, and UI (user interface) design is about coding the site to make it work as you wish.
- Design & Development – Next, custom designs are created based on your input and needs and presented. After the design is approved, development begins. This includes the bulk of the programming work and makes the site responsive for mobile and tablets.
- Testing & QA – This is an iterative process that happens throughout the project and includes a full review by the design and development team. Everything is tested for looks and functionality before going live.
- Launch and Training – The best web design companies will offer to host your website and provide training on the content management system. They’ll take care of security and make sure your website is always running optimally and is backed up with and up to date.
What to Expect from the Best Website Design Companies in Washington, DC
Clear Proposal and Contract
A professional proposal will reflect a clear understanding of your needs and the value the web design company will deliver, and how they’ll deliver it. It will propose a detailed timeline for the scope of work and a quote for the total cost. The proposal will be thorough and clear. If you agree to the proposal, the contract should mirror the proposal.
Services and Capabilities
The best all-around marketing web design company will go beyond just building you a functional website. For small and midsize businesses building a modern website is just step one. If you don’t have a professional copywriter, visitors might come to your website, but the messaging might not convert them. The best web design companies offer content strategy and have in-house copywriters that can write professional content that turns prospects into leads and leads into paying customers.
Then there’s outbound marketing. How will you get noticed in the sea of competitors? What is your content strategy? How will you give value, establish yourself as an authority, and gain a loyal brand following? That must be executed through a solid content marketing campaign.
Web Design Company Partner or Vendor?
A lot of businesses take on a website redesign project in addition to their daily duties. Finding the time to get through a complete website refresh can be a daunting task while still maintaining your daily work responsibilities.
The best web design companies act as a partner for their busy clients. The company will have the ability to come up with new ideas or alternatives to help you achieve your web design goals. They will have a process that enables you to be involved just enough to express your wishes while not taking you away from your day-to-day responsibilities.
The best web design firms feel like an extension of your team working quietly in the background, building you something amazing.
Conclusion: When Does Hiring the Best Website Design Company Make Sense
For most small to mid-sized businesses that need a new or updated website hiring a web design company will be the best choice. The knowledge and time that goes into designing and developing a professional website are substantial. The entire process from start to finish will take weeks, if not months. The more complicated the functionality and the more pages, the longer. It’s not an after-hours or weekend task a tech-savvy employee can take on. It requires experienced professionals that are up to date with the latest technology and website development best practices.
Your website is your online storefront. It’s your online salesperson. It’s the place your prospective customers look first before ever contacting you. The good news is you can get an amazing website for your business for a very reasonable price. You can get the same quality website Fortune 500 companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on for a small fraction of that price.
Get started with a free website consultation. You can get a sense of where you’re at now, where you need to be, and how much you’ll need to invest to get there.