5 easy steps to choose a web design agency.

5 easy steps to choose a web design agency.

Just like any other decision-making process in life, making the right decision as regards the choice of a web design agency can be a tricky one, especially when there are so many options to choose from in the digital space of today. 

When you search for “Web Design Agencies” on Google, for example, you get over 300 million results staring at your face. If you don’t have the right procedure to access these agencies and make just the right choice for your business, you can become overwhelmed, and ultimately make the wrong call.

What are the right procedures then? Follow closely as we explore together. 

I. The right steps to an easy and efficient Web Design Agency Choice

  • Making a List of Your Website Needs & Website Goals
  • Making a List of Possible UX Design Agencies
  • Reviewing their Experience, Agency Culture, Portfolios, testimonials 
  • Preparing and Organize a Consultation
  • Making the Ultimate Decision

II. Technical Questions You Must Ask before hiring

Let's begin with,

I. The right steps to an easy and efficient Web Design Agency Choice.

5 basic points to keep a check on,

  1. Make a List of Your Website’s Needs & Website Goals.

Before you begin looking for internet design firms, you should know what your website must accomplish and what features it must have to assist you in achieving your objectives. Your site is a business and marketing tool, not just a beautiful visual composition.

There are numerous things your website might need to accomplish. For example, you may want it to,

 

  • Generate leads for your company
  • Connect with your email marketing provider such as Getresponse, Sendgrid, etc. 
  • Synchronize with your CRM such as Zoho, Zendesk, Hubspot, or any other major CRM application  
  • Collect payments or donations, including recurring payments and donations. 
  • Integrate with your marketing automation tools such as Pardot, Marketo, or HubSpot
  • Amongst others.

Examples of features your website might need to help you achieve the above:

  • User-friendly navigation, SEO-optimized content, and conversion-optimized pages 
  • Secure online forms 
  • An SSL certificate and HTTPS protocol
  • Ecommerce functionality

Having a list of goals and needs will help you and the web design firm you want to hire ensure that your website is tailored to you. This will help you achieve whatever business objectives you have, whether that's driving sales, gaining visitors, or something else. 

It's also critical to have a budget and a timeline in mind before contacting any company. Although you may not know how much it will cost to design your website, having a range (such as $10,000 to $15,000) will help you obtain credible web design quotes and keep your costs down. Having a website live in two weeks, for example, will require an agency that can begin now rather than one that must wait three weeks to begin.

  1. Making a List of Possible UX Design Agencies.

After you have your website’s needs and goals aligned, you can then begin the search for a web design agency partner. If you need an agency that will be physically present during the period of the partnership, you can check around or try searching the internet for web design agencies in your local area or in your country of residence.

In the digital world of today though, you can get a web design agency to partner with without physical contact. In fact, most of the collaborations done today are done online. Apps like Zoom and Google Meet have made it easier to collaborate and communicate with people across the state or across countries.

To get a web design partner who is experienced in a certain field, you can also go on google to search for ‘Web design agencies + the particular service you need them to focus on’, or visit websites like Pinterest, Behance, etc. These platforms provide work samples from well-respected and renowned web designers.

Furthermore, You can be on the lookout for websites of brands that tickle your fancy. If the web design was good for them, it can be good for you. Just find out which web design agency was responsible and contact them.

Now after spotting a few potential partners and shortlisting them, the next step is to examine them by checking through their experiences, portfolios, services offered, and agency culture to see what they are all about and how they approach their work.

  1. Reviewing their Experience, Agency Culture, Portfolios, and Testimonials.

Seeing their portfolios, references, customer testimonials, or case studies on their websites are excellent position for evaluating web design firms. Their website should have a separate area where they are showcasing their work.

Their Experience

When it comes to experience, you’re looking for 2 things:

  • How long have they been in business? Are they a new company or an established one?
  • Has the company developed websites for your industry that delivered results, satisfied customers, and provided the exact services users needed?

Your Web design partner should provide you with a process that will ensure your website is designed and built in a manner that is simple and quick, a marketing service plan to help expand your business, and a support system that caters to issues you may have after the website goes live. 

So basically, look out for an agency that consists of a team of experts who know what they are doing and have a track record of web designs that have met business objectives and needs.

Their Portfolio 

Portfolios are one of the best ways to evaluate an agency’s skills and capabilities. 

When you're evaluating web design agencies, you should be looking for more than just attractive websites. A visually appealing site that's difficult to use will never outpace a simple website that is easy to navigate and meets the users’ needs without time wasting. 

With portfolios, you can get an insight into an agency’s industry experience, tough coding abilities, and creativity, amongst others. 

When reviewing portfolios, here are some things you should be on the lookout for:

  • Are they keeping up with the latest web design trends? 
  • Are all of their websites mobile-friendly? 
  • Are all their websites identical - same layout, UX, etc.?

Now, If you adore an agency's work but it doesn't specialize in your field; just ask what they would do for your company. As much as you will want to work with someone who has sector experience, the work should also be appealing to you.

Agency Culture

Finding an agency that matches your company's personality, ideas and beliefs are important, as it will enable smooth collaboration and seamless work together throughout the web design process. 

Checking through an agency’s culture gives you the needed information about the agency's personality, beliefs. and working style. When you get a grasp of an agency’s culture you can compare it with yours and, from there, see if at all the partnership will work.

To scope out an agency’s culture, you can:

  • Review team pages – Do they showcase their team’s talent and expertise?
  • Check them out on social – Do you see a lot of smiling faces in their Instagram feeds?
  • Community involvement – Are they involved in their local community?

Meeting with your potential web design partners can also give you a sense of their culture. Do they make you feel welcome? Do they listen to your thoughts? Are they excited about your venture? 

Agency culture is an important decision factor when choosing a web design firm. The relationship between you and your web design agency is going to be a lengthy one, so to avoid unnecessary friction along the way, ensure they really match your business and personality.

Testimonials and Agencies worked with,

It is important to also read testimonials and reviews of the web design agencies you are thinking of hiring for your new website in addition to examining their portfolio. When you read client testimonials, you can learn how satisfied their customers were with their websites, their customer service level, amongst others. You can find customer’s comments on websites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and you can also see whether they advertise testimonials on their website. However, if you can only find reviews on their website, do a bit of research before requesting a meet with them.

  1. Preparing and Organize a Consultation

Having created a list of a few possible web design firms, you should then move onto organizing meetings with them. Preparation is critical for this phase, so you must do as much as you can to prepare adequately before the meet. 

Your firm's identity, what you want to accomplish with your website, and what your business does are just a few of the things you should describe to the web design agency. Then, you should present your company's vision and how you see your company to the web design firm. 

In this phase, you must make sure that the web design company understands what you want and how you see your company's vision. This will allow the agency to assess how to assist your organization in accomplishing its specific objectives.

  1. Making the Ultimate Decision

Once you’ve consulted with a few web design companies, you must now choose which one to hire. You should pick an organization that is capable of handling your enterprise and meeting your website’s goals and demands. You should also not forget to take into consideration your budget and timeline factor when making the ultimate decision.

II. 5 Technical Questions You Must Ask before hiring

  • What is your design process?
  • Do you use a content management system to power your websites and which?
  • What are the SEO best practices you follow when building a site?
  • How many pages will you advise my website to have?
  • What does your accessibility testing process look like? How will you make my website ADA accessible?

i) What is your design process?

One key question you must ask your web design agency is the process they employ when designing.

Do they have a documented design process or Standard operating procedure on the ground?

And do they use project management softwares?

If they have positive responses to these questions, then it’s an indication that they know what web design really entails and possess the expertise to handle your entire website design and development process professionally.

You want your designer to take the lead on the process, that is what you hired them to do after all. This isn’t DIY—this is done for you…expertly, efficiently, and looks AND works smoothly after it’s done.

Here is our design process,

It’s nice to work with a designer/project manager/team who will keep you on task, on budget, and launched by your scheduled date! This makes the website process less stressful and much more enjoyable (for everyone!).

ii) Do you use a content management system to power your websites and which?

The content management system (CMS) is what’s used to create and organize content on your website unless you are getting a website coded from scratch (highly unlikely!). 

It’s important to know what CMS your designer is using to develop your website especially if you will be adding content and maintaining your own website post-launch.

Does the CMS support business growth? Can you make updates on your own? Can you add on e-commerce? Can you add it on the schedule? Can you add on a membership?

Do you have all the functionality your business needs and will need in the future?

The answer you want here is yes, they do use content management systems to build websites. The most popular are WordPress (the most popular CMS on the market), Squarespace, Wix, and Joomla.

  1. What are the SEO best practices you follow when building a site?

Search engine optimization should be included from the beginning of your site development. SEO strategies like fresh content, strategic page titles and meta descriptions, proper URL structure, image optimization, alt tagging, mobile-friendliness, keyword research, and on-page SEO help your site rank higher on Google.

Ask if your web designer builds in SEO from the onset of the project to ensure your website is built with the framework you need to be found online.

SEO strategy is so very important in web design. We constantly read up on and test out the tried and true methods and the latest and greatest trends and share our knowledge with our clients. It’s a lot to keep up with so much that some people niche in just SEO services.

While we aren’t SEO experts we definitely have experience integrating all the basic best practices in every website we build.

  1. How many pages will you advise my website to have?

Most small service-based businesses have a 5-page foundation:

  • Homepage
  • About
  • Services
  • Blog
  • Contact

Some websites are only one page with multiple sections. The type of website and content you have will help you figure out how many and what pages you need. 

If your website is e-commerce it will potentially have many pages (each product is a page). If your site is centered around a blog or membership it will be designed as such. The content dictates how many pages are necessary.

Web designers will create a site map and lay out the page hierarchy for the best user experience. This also helps get a clear picture of all the pages on the site.

Ask your web designer if a custom 404 page, terms and conditions, privacy policy, cookie policy, and any other landing pages are included in your build. Some designers charge extra per page. 

  1. What does your accessibility testing process look like? How will you make my website ADA accessible?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established to make all spaces accessible including websites. Ask your web designer what their accessibility testing process looks like. It’s important to optimize your website to create a smooth user experience for all visitors.

Further Questions? Ask Us! 

Have a question you want to ask a professional website design agency? You can ask away in the comment section below or schedule a call with us.

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