Finding someone to build a website is not difficult in this day and age — finding someone who can do it well and provide a successful solution to your business needs can be. With the (literally) millions of search engine results for “web design agency” — it can be extremely difficult to find a quality web design firm and filter out the and the “pop up” shops who are just looking to make a quick buck. So… how do you know if the company you found is the right one to take charge of your online presence and search marketing strategy?
Know and Work Within Your Budget
Before you start looking for web design agencies, you’ll need to set a budget for your project as a whole. This can be anything from limited resources to substantial funding, but you may want to have a figure on paper before starting your search. Furthermore, you’ll need to set your budget flexibility to ensure it can accommodate additional features & web integration needs.
More often than not, you’ll be able to find someone that can fit within your budget but an agency could recommend additional web design options and strategies to get the most for your investment in an online presence. Remember, you will still need to host your website with a reputable hosting provider after the website construction is complete. Luckily, there are a number of quality affordable web hosting service providers out there.
Are They Good at What They Do?
Direct industry experience may not matter too much, even if an organization may have worked with a lot of businesses like yours. A quality web design firm will be able to effectively understand your business needs and provide a web solution and custom web design that is right for your business, no matter the industry. As long as you’re aware of what your business needs, being assured that those needs can be met is important.
The company in question should be able to understand your business problems and effectively articulate how their solution can help solve them. If you aren’t the most technically savvy individual and the web agency fails to communicate their strategy and ideas clearly to you — they may not be the firm for your business.
Research Their Previous Customers
James, Head of Research at a New Zealand SEO firm, Synapse Search, states that every established web design agency will have previous customers and that,
“If you want to know what to expect from a particular agency, conduct some independent research and learn about the work they’ve done for these clients — this will demonstrate what you can expect from an agency and will also provide a list of customers to contact for more information”
While it’s crucial to see samples of an agency’s previous work, this phase also provides the necessary information to link to clients and ask of their individual experiences. If they praise the agency in question, you can be sure you’re in the right spot (be sure to thoroughly investigate their online reviews).
Do You Believe Their Story?
Ask all about their strategy; this includes timeline, budget, technology, experience, or any other specifics you can think of. If the strategy is sound and meets the needs of your business objectives, you’ll likely be making the right decision.
Ask Who Will Be Personally Responsible For Your Website
Web agencies are great, but the designers and programmers are the ones who are actually working on your website. You don’t want to establish a relationship with a company whose employees are all anonymous entities — if there’s a problem with your website, you’ll want it resolved as soon as possible with a consistent point of contact within the firm.
Who Owns The Code?
It’s great if you’re the owner of the code at the end of the process. However, you’ll likely experience problems in the long run with any company that owns your “intellectual property” (and this does happen, often hidden within a lengthy contract). Suffice to say, you’ll want to know that the code you hired the agency to write will be available for release to your firm after the contract has been fulfilled.
Ask About Customer Support
Even for agencies that provide a dedicated point of contact, that person may not always be available 100% of the time. After all, they are human beings and sometimes get sick, take vacations or have to deal with other issues.
Therefore, if your regular contact is not available, you’ll need a person or team who can provide the support you need, especially if your previous contact is absent for an extended period of time without notice.
Whether you’re the head of the department, a company representative, or someone who serves customers for other people who are not in the office, you’ll need to hold the agency responsible for the progress of your website.
Establish Concrete and Achievable Criteria with Deadlines
Finally, after having performed all the previous steps, it’s necessary to establish concrete and achievable criteria by implementing deadlines in a projected timeline for the project. This type of programming offers you a way to monitor the progress of your web design agency.
The concrete criteria comprises features such as defining if your website is mobile-optimized; the number of visitors you want to sustain at any one time; when your site will be launched; and a regular maintenance program of feature upgrades and software updates. As a general rule, you’ll be more successful when what you want to achieve is already clearly pre-defined. A lack of clearly defined goals gives your agency ‘negative freedom’, which can result in a disappointing outcome of an unsuccessful launch.
Making a strong choice for a web design company should be easier, considering all the information we have access to on the web (including this article). Find the web design agency that best suits your business needs and make sure they work with you through all the concerns you may have. If there are other questions you wish to ask, then do so (wink, wink, contact us here).
The proverb “You get what you pay for” is definitely not a myth. There are no specific guidelines when it comes to this type of decision, but the above tips will help point you in the right direction.