7 Things You Need to Know When Choosing the Right Web Design Agency
A website acts as a 24/7 calling card that showcases products, services, and company values. Therefore, a slow, old and downright ugly website will only reflect badly on any business. It might even make you lose precious prospects and sales.
Hiring the help of an experienced design team is essential for a sleek, optimized site, but with so many high-profile web design companies to choose from, narrowing down that long list can be a frustrating process. Save time, hassle and money with these seven simple tips that will make it easy for business owners to select the best web design agency for their needs.
1. Experience & Portfolio
The number of years a business has been in operation doesn’t always equal quality. For example, 20-year-old design firms may be struggling to keep up with shifts in the digital world, while one-year-old startups are pumping out highly functional websites that wow. However, it’s wise to seek answers to questions such as:
- When was the company founded?
- How many clients do they work with?
- How many employees do they have?
- What awards have they won?
Generally speaking, older companies have passed the ‘teething’ stage and they will have developed advanced strategies for the design process for a more well-rounded service. It’s important to look at a company’s portfolio to see their design styles and the clients that they work for. Asking for project references and viewing company reviews can also help with your evaluation when choosing your next agency partner.
It’s beneficial to do a little detective work to find out a company’s design processes. Will the website be designed in-house, or does the company outsource elements to overseas freelancers? If the latter is the case, this will increase the chance of delays due to time differences and communication errors.
Also, have a clear idea about the step-by-step process and your input during it. How can the team be contacted, and what is an acceptable level of involvement during the process?
3. Deadline Delivery
Another factor to consider is the time that it will take to complete the project. A proven web design agency will be able to provide a completion date, while some will even break down the project into deliverable action steps so clients can view the progress and provide input.
4. Functionality & Back-end
It’s a bit of no-brainer, but it’s where many business owners fail to their homework. You get drawn into the appearance of a website and forget all about its functionality and purpose. So, always make sure that the websites you aspire to are not only beautiful but highly functional and responsive to boot. Ask an agency to show you the back-end of the websites you like. You want to make sure that the content management system attached to the design is easy to use and functional. If you or your employees are going to be managing the website, it has to be easy to perform the tasks you want to do.
5. Additional Services
Think of a website as the first step in a long walk. Getting a website designed and up and running is great, by then what? Some web design agencies are able to offer a menu of support add-ons that can include things like website management support, technical support and digital marketing to help a brand bloom.
6. Design Fees
Website costs vary widely. They range from cheap (and probably not so cheerful) to tens of thousands of dollars upwards. In fact, the world’s most expensive website design goes to the U.S government-owned recovery.gov, which was built over five years for $18 million. Lower end costs are typically out-of-the-box solutions, which means they are ‘vanilla’ sites that have very little customization and often imagination. Higher priced websites can include tailored branding, consultations, and an aftercare package.
Never assume these expensive sites bring with them extra goodies though, so be sure to understand exactly what is included (and by what date) before a design deal is sealed.
7. Additional Charges
As well as design fees, are there any other fees that come into play once a website is launched? This can include things like hosting, support fees and management fees.
Any business, no matter how big or small, will fare well taking these seven factors into consideration. A few minutes of research in the short-term is worth hours in the long run when it comes to choosing a digital design agency.