Launching a new website or upgrading an old one is one of the most important things a business will do. But while choosing the perfect web design agency isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be hard.
A good website can deliver your business significant amounts of success, where a bad one will have your visitors exiting the page as quick as your competitors’ load times.
Think about it. Your website is the face of your business and likely the first impression prospective customers will have of your brand. While an underwhelming website isn’t the be all and end all, it is certainly an influential factor in whether people choose to do business with you or a competitor.
If you’re in need of a new website or simply looking to upgrade your existing one, ask yourselves these questions before you make a decision to ensure you choose a web design agency that’s experienced and, more importantly, the right fit for your business.
1) Do they listen to your ideas as well as suggest their own?
You’re an expert in your industry and know your business like the back of your hand. You probably also have a million different ideas about how you want to present your business on your website. A good web design agency will not only listen to your ideas but will also be able to improve and successfully execute them.
While it’s important that your web design agency listens to you and your ideas, it’s equally important that you choose one who brings their own ideas to the table and pushes back on ideas you suggest that they disagree with.
If a web design agency simply nods their head and agrees with everything you say, either you’re a genius with potential for an outstanding career in web design, or you’re more than likely not getting your money’s worth. Your web design agency should be able to bring expert knowledge of their industry to complement your expert knowledge of yours.
2) Is their marketing team as good as their web design team?
Far too often do we see businesses who jump at web design agencies with the cheapest prices end up completely underwhelmed with the results their website actually produces once it goes live.
When choosing a web design agency, businesses need to think of the bigger picture and choose one with a team of marketers as equally talented as their web design team. As today’s digital landscape continues to evolve, digital marketing is a crucial contributor to a website’s success.
Think of your website as a Lamborghini without an engine. Sure, it may look amazing and make a great first impression, but other than that it’s not going to go anywhere or do anything. When you have a complete team of developers, designers and marketers working in tandem on your website, you can be sure the final product will be more than just aesthetically pleasing – it will actually get results.
3) Can they provide you with examples of their work?
Before you make a decision about what web design agency you’ll use, it’s highly recommended you take a look at projects they’ve worked on in the past and review the live websites yourself.
The reason it’s so important to look at the live websites with your own eyes is because when a web design agency provides you only with screenshots or mockups of work they’ve done in the past, you only get to see how the websites look visually and miss out on inspecting other important features like navigation, user experience (UX) and page load time.
When you’re looking over the websites, asking yourself the following questions will help you determine whether that particular web design agency is the right one for you:
- Have they made any websites similar to what you are looking for?
- Are their websites well designed and do they look professional?
- Are their websites user-friendly and easy to navigate?
- Do their websites have variety or do they all look similar?
- Do their websites load quickly?
- Are their websites ranking well on search engines?
4) Can their past clients vouch for their work?
Another way of determining whether or not a web design agency is a good fit your business is to speak with their past/current clients. A reputable web design agency that’s proud of its portfolio should have no problem passing on the details of references if it could result in future work.
Speaking with past as well as current clients about their relationship with the web design agency will give you greater insight into their strengths and weaknesses and how they operate. Asking these sorts of questions will give you a better understanding:
- Were you happy with the final results?
- Did they complete the website on time?
- Did they obtain sufficient information from you, and how did they react to your ideas?
- All in all, did you get what you paid for?
- Was there anything you didn’t like about them?
- Would you recommend them?
5) Are they experienced in SEO and SEM implementation?
Finding a web design agency to build you a good-looking website is only half the equation – making sure your good-looking website ranks well on Google is the other.
Web design agencies that not only know the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) but also apply these strategies themselves are more likely to provide your business with long-term success.
If an agency’s website ranks highly on Google then the chances are they’re well-versed in managing their own SEO and SEM, meaning they’ll be able to apply these same tactics on their clients’ websites.
6) Do they have in-house copywriters?
Anyone can write copy to fill a website, but good copywriting is so much more than that. You need an experienced wordsmith that can satisfy two of your website’s most important audiences: the search engine and the customer.
First impressions are everything and if a potential customer visits your website and sees unprofessional, poorly-written content, it’s more than likely they’re going to move on and never visit your website again.
A good copywriter will be able to highlight your brand’s strengths and values with clean, engaging and useful content that increases your website traffic and boosts your sales. As the common saying goes, “design attracts, copy sells.”
7) Are they active on social media?
Social media has never been more relevant in the business world than it is today with people spending large amounts of time on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. If a web design agency is inactive on social media or can’t be found at all, you have to question – how much experience do they really have in digital marketing?
Web design agencies with a social media presence show that they care about investing time and effort into building their brand and providing their audience with helpful, engaging content. The same notion with SEO/SEM also applies to social media: if an agency offers these services and posts regular, engaging content on their own social channels, it’s clear they can offer your brand the same.
8) Will they be around for the long run?
It’ll only be when something with your website goes wrong that you’ll thank yourself for choosing a reputable web design agency over the random guy offering $99 websites on Craigslist. These types of people can easily disappear when you need them the most, and who’s to say after they’ve got your money they won’t change career paths a few months later and simply delete your website?
Opting for an experienced web design agency with multiple skilled developers will give you peace of mind knowing that you’ll be able to get assistance with your website should anything occur in the future.