How to Choose a Web Design Agency

Posted at Dec 20, 2018 1:29:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share

Web design is more than just making a great-looking website (though it certainly does that!). It also includes aspects like search engine optimization, user experience, customer service, branding, conversions, and much more. Finding an experienced web design agency is critical - from an aesthetic point of view, to be sure, but also in creating and maintaining a strong, cohesive, effective online presence.

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How do you choose the right website design services and agency for you? These 7 tips will help:

1. Start with the numbers

No, it’s not the sexiest part of the process, but it is the foundation. Establish a realistic budget before you begin looking into agency partners. Build in a little wiggle room in the event that an agency can deliver ancillary - and equally essential - website design services.

You will also want to start researching agency pricing. Often, they will offer various packages, as well as a more a la carte approach where you can pick and choose your services. Identify the costs for those you require to meet your business goals - and which you can comfortably pass on or do in-house.

The above step is a difficult one: many agencies do not publish their pricing structures. They will tell you after you indicate that you want to create a strategy with them. Remember, though, you do not have to enter into an agreement unless you are comfortable with the cost.

All right, one more financial piece: inquire about fees and charges. Some agencies “hide” their fees or tack them on where you do not expect (e.g., billing for an unscheduled checkup of your site) . Make sure you fully understand what you’re being charged, for what, when, and why, or you could find your budget blowing up. You want maximum transparency here.

2. Look at past work

Ask about current/previous clients so you know what type of work and results you can expect from an agency. They should be happy to provide you with examples of their past work.

Beyond that, though, you can - and should - contact these clients to get a sense of how their experience with the agency is or was. Are they happy with their choice? Was there anything that went wrong? What was challenging? What was rewarding?

Pro Tip: Ask for a potential agency’s client retention rate. Industry average is about 60%. If you see numbers dip below that, consider it a red flag. Numbers above? It means they typically deliver a great client experience.

3. Ask about your point person

Who is going to be responsible for your website? This is the answer you do not want: it’s a team effort! Great. But you want a dedicated account manager you can call and who is responsible for making sure your site gets the attention it deserves. This person should answer your questions, update you on an agreed-upon schedule, and help you course-correct or re-strategize, if necessary.

If everyone’s responsible, you risk a reality in which, ultimately, no one is responsible and critical details slip through the cracks.

You need a contact person, but you also need a backup. Who else on the team is up to speed with your account in case your dedicated individual is on vacation, sick, etc.? How and when do you contact if you need them (e.g., to fix an error on your site)?

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4. Ask who will have the authority to update your site

On a related note, you also need to know if your web design agency will handle all of the direct changes themselves or if they will set you up with tools via a CMS (content management system). It depends on what works best for you; your agency should accommodate your need to be as hands-on or hands-off as you are comfortable with.

5. Ask about site relocation

If your web design agency does not work with your existing hosting service, they may switch it to another service or host it themselves. Make sure you ask and are clear about this.

Remember we mentioned transparency? This is another area in which it is critical. If your agency switches hosts (and username/passwords), it can cut you out of accessing your own website. It can also impact loading speed and end-user accessibility, which has a significant effect on your customers/site visitors.

Relocating a site is not a deal-breaker, but you must understand why and when it could happen.

6. Set goals

What do you want to accomplish? By when? What are your metrics for success? Create a schedule with clear, specific, and achievable criteria - and hold your agency (and yourself!) to them.

7. Get started

When you choose an agency that can deliver the website design services you need, get to work. They’ll have an immersion process to educate themselves about your brand, and you can begin creating the web presence you need to thrive in today’s market.

More questions about web design services? THAT Agency has the answers. Contact us today.

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