Pick us. The End.
Only kidding, there's more to this article than that.
Below are some hints and tips on what to do if you want to choose someone to make your website and don't know where to start.
Tip #1 - Ask for a couple of quotes
Always contact more than one to begin with, at least three is advisable, otherwise you have no idea of your options.
Tip #2 - Check out their previous work.
In our opinion they should have a wide range of examples of websites they've made on their website for you to view without asking. However, if they don't offer it right away and you do decide to ask, they shouldn't have any problem providing you with a list. If a web design company can only show you one or two websites they've made, you've got to wonder why.
"Trust, but verify." – Ronald Reagan
Tip #3 - Check out their previous work thoroughly
More than just look at it, use the websites. Are they easy to navigate, do they load fast enough? If they don't, chances are yours won't either. Try AT LEAST three.
Tip #4 - Look at their website
A website is a showcase for all businesses, but for a website design company it's absolutely critical. If their website doesn't work it's an extremely bad sign. If their website is 'under construction' I would be extremely wary. If they aren't organised enough to complete their own showcase, how can they organise client sites?
Tip #5 - Look for testimonials and recommendations
You could even contact their clients (you know who they are, you've seen their websites) and politely ask how they found the web design service. Most people will be happy to tell you if they've had good service, and even more keen if it was awful.
Tip #6 - Don't be afraid to ask...
If there are any terms they use that you don't understand, don't be afraid to ask exactly what they mean. They should be able to explain in a suitable manner, taking into account the fact you're not a techie. If your designer can't explain it to you, there may be communication barriers later down the line, or they may just be trying to baffle you with meaningless jargon.
Tip #6 - Check contract
Make sure they can provide you with a clear breakdown of what is included in the contract and terms and conditions of the project. It's in both your interests to have it in writing to avoid disputes (often simply due to misunderstanding) after the project is underway.
Tip #6 - Access to analytics reports
They should be able to provide you with reports on your website's performance, so you can see how many visitors you're getting once the site is live. Ask if they are going to do this.