So you are a new business looking to have a website built, or perhaps you're an existing business looking to have your site re-designed. You've already read our primer on how to find a web development company, and you're weighing the pros and cons of working with a local website designer.
Depending on where you live, you might have a huge selection of local website design companies to choose from. Here in Minneapolis, there are quite a few!
So should you work with one of them? What are the advantages?
I'm glad you asked! Here is our top 5 list of best reasons to work with a local website designer.
1. You can meet face-to-face
It might seem kind of old-school, but the ability to meet face-to-face is extremely beneficial when you need it. There are many reasons why meeting face-to-face is better than a phone call.
The biggest issue is trust, for both parties. When you have a phone call with some faceless sales guy 1000 miles away, it's hard to read his body language or gauge his intentions. You don't know if he genuinely wants to help you, or if he's even a scam artist.
Communication is also generally much more effective face-to-face. When trying to convey your business needs and describe what you're all about, the other person will be much more receptive when he's on the other side of the table from you.
Plus, when you have something really complicated to hash out, you want to be able to go see your web developer any time. If they are located near you, that's easy to do!
2. You have mutual connections
Again, this goes along with the trust piece. When you work with a local agency, more than likely you will have some mutual connections. These can be leveraged to make sure you've made the right choice in your web developer.
Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn and invaluable for finding these mutual connections. Once you've found someone you both know, you can reach out to that person and get the real deal about the company.
If they have nothing but good things to say, you are in the clear! But if the design shop is disreputable, you're likely to hear about it from your connection. Crisis averted!
Finally, there is added incentive for the web design company to do a great job for you when you're both in the same geographic area. Their reputation is on the line! If they did a bad job on your website, odds are other potential clients and business contacts are going to see, and that will hurt their business.
If you're working with a company thousands of miles away, they may have no vested interest in actually performing the work to a high standard -- or at all! The ubiquity of online reviews is helping in this area but it still doesn't help as much as simply knowing that your developer is local.
3. Similar culture
While great things can happen when different cultures come together, having a shared culture with your web development company can have huge benefits. And that's much more likely when they are just down the street from you.
Communication is one of the biggest benefits of having a shared culture. Here in Minnesota, we have a very particular culture. We have specific ways of talking, we have our own values and cultural norms, and lots of other things that make us unique.
Don't you want to know that the company you've entrusted with the creation of your website shares all of those same things with you? Besides literally speaking the same language, you are like to be much more in-sync and feeling like you speak the same figurative, cultural language. This can smooth out the development process and ensure that the finished product is what you wanted.
A different set of values also comes with culture, and with a local developer, you're much more likely to get what you expected. For example, the business climate out on the west coast, particularly of California, is vastly different than the one we have here in Minneapolis. If you've ever worked with a business out there, you know that they tend to be a bit more business-oriented almost to the point of being cold (to us anyway) and, in my experience, occasionally ruthless.
Work with a local firm and you know what you're going to get.
4. Sense of community and duty
When two local business work together, they both share the same sense of community and duty to each other. You'd be amazed how much this can impact a working relationship.
On both sides, people are more willing to see things from the other's point of view, to overlook minor inconveniences, and to generally smooth over every interaction.
A web developer working for a local client is also more likely to go the extra mile because of a shared sense of identity and the corresponding sense that even if they aren't being paid directly for extra effort they put in, it will come back to them because they are helping their community.
While you can appeal to someone's sense of community with their national identity, realistically a developer hundreds of miles away is not going to feel that same connection.
5. Support local businesses
For the same reasons a local web developer is likely to work harder for a member of their community, you will receive the benefits of working with a local business!
Besides contributing to the character and success of your own personal community, working with a local website design agency will also help increase the tax base of your local municipality by increasing the income of its businesses and residents.
But most importantly, you can feel a sense of pride for having supported your local community. Choosing a web development company is hard; wouldn't it be nice to feel good from a moral standpoint for the choice you made?
Overall, working with a local website designer is an easy choice, assuming you have any around.
And if you happen to be located in Minnesota, we hope you consider us for your next local website design project!