Narrow down your digital agency selection using our handy top ten tips on choosing a web design agency.
1) Check out their own site
Do you like it? Does it sell to you? Does it contain all the types of skills that you’re looking for e.g. good web design, well designed user interface, well built, works on mobiles. Does it impress you?
2) Ask to look at their portfolio
Are the case studies recent? Do you recognize the company names? Do a Google search and check that the companies exist and have the same website that the agency designed. Do you like the website designs they have produced? Ask yourself: Do they represent the company well? Would you use this website? Do they have experience of website design in your field? Do the website’s meet their objectives?
3) Check References
Ask the web agency if they can send you references or testimonials from customers. And when you get these testimonials, make sure you check them out. Call the clients up and check that the testimonials are real.
Finally, ask how long the agency has been running. Age doesn’t always matter, but it does help to identify experience.
All agencies will be good at some things and not at others. Find out what they have experience in and what they do well, they often have a bias to one content management technology or another. Often, it’s helpful to get the CV’s of all staff employed. The best agencies will have a balance of online marketing, development and creative. If you have specific requirements – make a list and ask the agency what their proficiency is in the specific skills.
5) Availability – Service levels
Check that they can meet your needs. Quite often companies have a client account team in the UK but their main development team may be based elsewhere. Make sure you get a phone number not just an email address (and not a premium rate number either). Ask the web design agency what the turnaround time is for responding to emails.
You want your web design agency to be big enough to ensure that if your account manager is off sick or on holiday your business is not forgotten.
Do you prefer a larger, higher resourced agency or a smaller, more flexible agency? The general rule would be to find a web agency that’s resourced to reflect the size of tasks and projects you require. If you have 1000 employees but your actual marketing and development budget is reasonably low, you are only likely to need an agency of 5-10 employees. If you have 100 employees, but you are heavily reliant on outsourced projects, a larger agency may be more suitable. No one size fits all!
7) Age of agency
Age doesn’t always matter, but in this industry it can be an important factor. The web has seen many changes in a relatively short space of time, if a website design agency has been in business for five or more years it have obviously been managed well. The internet has seen the boom and bust of many company’s; those that live to tell the tale are obviously being run well.
8) Are the staff approachable and professional?
It’s important that you connect with the people managing your account. The best results will be created when you forge a partnership with your web agency.
Do they provide an off the shelf package, or do they tailor their resources to your needs? Do they use a lot of jargon or explain things clearly? Have they provided relevant suggestions suitable for your business? Far too often, company’s try to sell you products that you don’t need and are not tailored to your needs.
9) Check out the agency’s terms and conditions
This is quite important and helps avoid problems further down the line. Here’s some helpful questions to ask:
- Are there any hidden costs, like set up fees or holding fees?
- Can you make staged payments for your web project?
- Are updates and maintenance included in the website design fees?
- Are bug fixes charged for?
- Will you get a copy of the source files?
- Who owns the source code?
- Who owns copyright of the design?
- Are the files back-up?
- Will it work on smartphones?
10) Do they outsource their work?
Check to see if your project will be developed in house or if it will be outsourced. Ask to meet the design or technical team. If work is going to be outsourced, find out where, are you able to contact the team? There are many cases of company’s who have an account management team, and an outsourced development team. It’s common for technical development to be done off shore as resources abroad are cheaper. The problem with this scenario is guaranteeing the quality of the work produced. Does the account management team check the back end code? Does it meet current guidelines and legal requirements? Can they be flexible enough to meet your needs?
Want a web agency with a difference
Reasons for choosing DAT (DAO)
There are five main reasons for choosing DAO:
- You can create a site that can attract customers properly
- Gives comprehensive advice on the web
- Explains in easy-to-understand words without using technical terms
- A person in charge with solid experience and skills will support you
- Reasonable and cost-effective