Web Design Team Valley: Choosing an agency
9th February 2021
9th March 2020
Making a decision on what agency to choose to design and develop your next website can be quite a daunting task and it can be stressful. It is a big decision and one you should take the time over as mistakes could be costly if you choose the wrong company. When thinking about what web design agency to go with, it’s handy to have a little checklist of the pros and cons of each. You could possibly score on them on a variety of criteria and then see who comes out on top at the end. This will help you ultimately in choosing the right partner for you. You will have your own questions of course but as a rule, we suggest thinking about some of the following topics.
The first thing you should be doing if you haven’t already is taking a look at their previous work. This is the fastest way to know whether they are the real deal and can deliver what you expect as the client. Visit their website and find their their work and case studies. Make sure to read about what services they provided as the agency for each project. Did they design AND build the website or did they maybe only provide the design? If so, think about whether the company may potentially outsource the development (or build) of the website and how that could impact on the project if you don’t have direct access to the developers for example. It’s always a good idea to click through and visit each individual projects actual website too so you can see for yourself the final product. View them on both desktop and mobile devices and see how the website scales down. Keep an eye out for any bugs or weird issues as this could be a sign of bad development or they may use a pre-made template.
When looking at their previous work, it’s also a good idea to find out whether they have worked on any other projects that are in your own business sector? So if you are an estate agent, have they designed and built any other estate agents websites? A lot of web design agencies become niche in certain areas so they can pass on experience they have learnt over the years working with similar businesses to your own. This can save time and money when working with you as they can avoid potential issues and also offer better, well thought out solutions. Of course you don’t have to go with an agency that has ‘done it before’ as there is lots of potential working with an agency fresh to the sector too and they may offer solutions that haven’t even been thought about before. It’s certainly worth weighing up the pros and cons though and whether you want a safer pair of hands or prefer a fresh take on things.
These days, location isn’t as important as it once was when choosing an agency to partner with. We work with clients in the North East but have multiple clients in Europe and as far as the Middle East. With good communication and regular updates, location is generally not a problem. I have heard stories about companies that can’t get in touch with their web agency for weeks while working only 5 minutes away from them. So it really does depend on who you decide to partner with. It’s good to think about whether you would rather have face to face meetings though or if you are happy with email and calls and then discuss this with the potential agency.
The size of the potential agency depends very much on what kind of business you have and also your expectations of the project. There are good things and bad things about each size of agency. You may have a very large website that demands lots of design and development to take place whilst also needing large amounts of content to be creating such as copywriting and photography. And the site might need to be live in a matter of weeks. If that’s the case, a small two man studio won’t likely have the resources to be able to give you the attention you need. So a larger agency with a specific project manager will be more beneficial to you. However, if you are a smaller business running an online store and like a much more personal hands on approach where you can speak directly to the owner of the agency who may also be the creative director and like the one to one approach, a smaller studio will suit your needs better.
The personality of the agency also needs to fit with how you are as a business. When meeting with the agency to speak about your project, take note on the key contacts personalities. You are likely going to be speaking to these regularly throughout the course of your project so it’s important to know that you get on first and foremost and additionally that you can be yourself and their personality works well with yours. If you have a good sense of humour, do they too or are they more serious and to the point? Or maybe you prefer this. It’s certainly worth taking this into account when choosing your agency.
You may have been referred an agency from a friend who have had a good experience working with them in the past. This is usually a good way to know what the agency is like and how good the outcome of the project is likely to be. It’s always worth reading some reviews or testimonials of the company too where possible. Google Business is a good source for this as generally these are quite independent and the customer will have to add these themselves. The reviews on agency websites are okay but remember that they can curate these themselves so if they do have any negative ones, you likely won’t see them on here.
Cost is obviously very important as you will have a budget in mind but hopefully isn’t your top priority. Getting an idea of what each agency will charge for the same project will help you gain an understanding of the average cost and make a better decision as to who to go for. You will also be able to see who are very cheap and who are charging maybe more than the ‘going rate’. If agencies are miles outside of the average cost once you speak to a few, then perhaps consider why this is or dig a little deeper. Does the agency charging more offer a far superior service or higher quality of work? If not, then they may not be for you. And also if the agency is extremely cheap compared with the others you have spoken to, is that because they don’t offer a quality product and instead are just knocking out cheap websites quickly and using pre-made templates.
Speak to the potential agency about your deadline. When do you want to go live and why? Is there a particular reason you need to hit a certain date – maybe you have an event coming up that you wish to launch your website around? If so, let the agency know and see how they react. Some agencies might be very busy so knowing when you want to launch your website is very important before you sign that contract as it could cause problems in the future.
Finally, ask the agency about support. Once your website is live and you’ve paid the final invoice, what happens if you have a problem? Do you get training on editing and updating your website as part of the website project package or does this cost extra? If you get stuck and don’t know how to perform a certain action, can you give the agency a call and will they charge you or is it free? We offer free support for a year after your website goes live but some agencies may not so it’s certainly worth finding out before you make a final decision. This may not be important to you but some businesses like to change things on their website regularly so things can break and it’s good to know someone is there ready to help