If you’re looking to commission a new website or redesign, how do you differentiate between the different agencies out there?
It’s not an easy task, but get it wrong and a badly conceived website can cost more money, drive away customers, and damage your reputation.
There are essentially two fundamental factors to consider:
1. Working relationship – You need to be confident that the working relationship with the agency is a good one. An enjoyable, productive experience is always favoured over a difficult and protracted one.
2. Results – You need to be sure that the agency you choose can deliver your message, achieving your optimum targeted results.
With these two fundamentals in mind, here’s what we think are the 9 main criteria you should look for when shopping for your web team:
A positive recommendation from a friend or colleague can carry so much weight in your decision process. If someone you know has had a great experience with a web agency, chances are you’ll have a similar experience too.
Ask around other businesses or friends to see who they’ve used.
Do they publish client testimonials? If they do, read them.
Remember, a company will only promote the best ones. But if a company are actively posting a good amount of feedback from satisfied clients, it should suggest that they have a reasonable collective of happy customers.
Many web agencies promote themselves by posting a few screenshots of recent websites, saying “Our work speaks for itself”.
Does a mere screenshot give you an insight into how the website was the correct solution for the customer? Are the screenshots accompanied with case studies that detail an understanding of the client’s message and how it was delivered. Have they documented the results?
Look for evidence that the agency not only knew what they were talking about, but were willing to share their knowledge openly.
A common issue that arises is this issue of listening or rather, of not listening. Has the agency really listened to your brief, needs and aspirations?
It is highly likely you know your business and sector better than they do. A web agency should not only listen carefully to your requirements, but should respect your knowledge of your business and market.
If you feel like the company are imposing pre-determined packages on you it may be time to walk away.
5. Benefits, not features
Many simply provide a list of services in the hope that if they have a long list somehow they’ll appear more worthy of your business.
We would recommend you steer well clear of agencies that only promote their services. Instead, look for companies that focus on the benefits they can provide for your business.
If the focus is how they can help you make more money, save more time or generate more leads we’d recommend going with them over the “we do web design too!” agencies.
6. Collaborative meetings
We would strongly recommend not to award your project to an agency without an initial face-to-face meeting. A meeting will help you get a feel for how important your project is to the team in question, and enable you to ascertain whether you can see yourself working with them.
An agency should discuss your requirements, needs and plans at least a few times in order to fully understand you’re objectives.
7. Detailed proposal
Try to avoid one page quotes, simply containing a price and not much else. Always request a detailed proposal.
A well written proposal should detail the agencies understanding of your unique requirements, as well as solid, targeted claims for how they hope to achieve your objectives.
8. The feel-good factor
So much of what we’ve already talked about comes back to whether you like the team you’re thinking of working with. We know from experience that website projects are far more likely to be successful if team members gel personally.
9. Their own website
What do you think about the agencies website? Their own website should be a good barometer to their ability and delivery.
Does the site detail quality case studies of past successes? Do you like their past work?
9 points to bear in mind when shopping for a web design agency.