So you're excited about quitting your job and starting your own business. Your dream of having a business of your very own is finally coming true and you have a zillion things on your mind to think of. Of course, you want to launch your business with a bang and you want people to find you on the internet, so you decide to get in touch with a web design agency to assist with the process of designing and developing your website. But you have a persisting question: How to choose a good web design agency?
But you keep that thought aside and carry on. So far so good! After contemplating a while on what kind of website you want, you finally start looking for a good web design agency. You sit on the computer for hours on end and it is simply adding to your confusion. We know how it is. We have been there! Finding a good web design agency for a business can be a hard nut to crack but it is not impossible and in this article we delve into the subject and give you some pointers on how to choose a good web design agency.
A good web design agency can be a bit challenging to find as there are a lot of variables to it. However once you find it, it can be a great tool for your marketing efforts. Whether you are just starting out for a new website or wish to revamp your existing one, a good web design agency can help you with your exact requirements without compromising on quality and time.
We know what you guys must be thinking: Come on, there's the internet to search on! We agree, of course there's the internet to do a quick search but some of the best clients we've had so far are the ones who got referred to us via recommendations by our past clients. Once you complete a project and have a satisfied client on record, he will always remember you for anything website-related and happily bring in more prospective customers through word of mouth.
One of the best clients we've had referred 3 other people in her network who needed digital advertising services. And we didn't pay a penny in advertising fees to get them in! So long as you do great work and have a happy client, they'll gladly drop your name when someone is looking for your services.
Recommendations go a long way and it is one of the best ways to determine how good a company and its people are.
2) Do a quick online search
Since you are just starting out and searching for a good web design agency, it is only logical that you head over to Google (or whatever search engine you are comfortable with) and take a quick glance at the various web design agencies you find. Often times, you will see similar names and it will give you a vague understanding of who the different players are and how they stand online.
A word of caution though: Not all of them that you see listed on the front page of Google are great companies. Just because Google shows them right on top doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good firm. There's something called SEO (search engine optimization) that helps in ranking a site on top of the search results page and is not an indicator of how good (or bad) a company is.
It's also a good idea to make a list of all these companies and start filtering them out based on your criteria. Maybe some of them aren't from your city, or their pricing structures don't fit your budget, or the company just doesn't feel right for some reason etc.
Once you have a list of companies jotted down, it'll be much easier to assess them more critically.
3) Check their websites
You won't believe if we tell you how many websites we've come across who do web design and development work for others but look out of shape themselves. If you are searching for a good web design agency to work with, you better work with people who take care of their own image online.
You can't afford to work with a company and expect good results out of them if their own website looks shoddy. If you come across something like that, then be certain that they are not a good fit for your business.
Take a cursory glance at those various websites and mentally take a note of a few things - are they well built? Do they load pretty quickly? Does it take a lot to understand what exactly are they into and the services they provide? How is the navigation - is it simple to use or does it make your head spin? How is the colour scheme - does it all tie together or they look like a mishmash of colours randomly thrown together? Do they have a lot of typo errors on their website? Do they have a blog section and is it regularly updated? Does it look cluttered and claustrophobic?
What we're looking for, is to get a general pulse of how the company operates and how serious they take their own business. If you find a lot of spelling errors on their site, it means that they are not serious about their online image and will most likely not care about yours as well. If you feel like you're lost on their website, that could be an indication of them not designing their website with user experience in mind and will most likely repeat the same issue on your website as well.
Just keep in mind that these are basic pointers and not the end-all. If your answers to the above questions are positive overall, then it's a good sign. Else, keep checking other websites till you find the right one.
4) Speak to them
Once you have a list of the websites you've vetted, it's time to get on the phone and speak to someone from their team. Speaking in person directly is much better than emailing and chatting online. Having a human connection is important and it subconsciously helps you understand how their attitude towards work and potential clients is.
A good web design agency will ask you a lot of questions to thoroughly understand your requirements from the ground-up. This is crucial as it will affect how your website will be designed and built.
A good web design agency will also answer all the questions thrown at them. Even if they don't know the answer (which is perfectly okay - not everybody knows everything), they should be polite enough to let you know that and must get back to you to help dispel your doubt and respond to your question. If you find yourself speaking to someone giving you twisted answers and a lot of technical jargon without helping you understand what they are, that could be a red flag for you right there.
5) Get your budget in place
This seems like a no-brainer. It is important to be realistic about how much you can spend. You need to set a budget aside for your website and other related activities. Knowing how much you can eventually dispense to have a good website will determine what kind of web design agency you will work with. If you are a small business owner, you most probably cannot afford agencies that huge corporations contract. You will likely search for some agency which isn't that big and which isn't that aggressive on their fees too.
Having a budget clearly defined before you start approaching web design agencies will help you negotiate the contract and puts you in a better position. Of course, give some room to accommodate other activities that a web design agency may offer as an advice. Give yourself some room to play around with the budget but don't exceed what you know will be an overkill for your project.
6) Ask for their pricing plans
This could be hard one and understandably so. Even some of the best web design agencies out there do not disclose their pricing structures. But don't be discouraged. All it should take for you is to contact them directly and speak to someone to get an idea.
One of the reasons as to why companies do not disclose their prices is because of the sheer volatile nature of the web design business. All websites are not the same. Every website has its own design and having to make one which is customized to a client's requirement is going to affect the overall pricing. There are many variables that affect the final price of a project such as the total pages of the desired website, the overall look and feel, the actual web design of the project, the inclusion of graphics and other media, any other addon services and so forth.
It is therefore advisable that you have your requirements clearly defined so that you get what you pay for. Else, you'll end up spending for services or layouts and pages that you don't need and it'll add to the overall cost of the project.
7) Ask for their client history
Every web design agency must have already worked with a few clients at least. If the company is brand new, you can still ask for some demo websites that are readily available and it'll give you a heads-up as to how they work and the quality of those demo projects.
Asking a web design agency to help you with a few of their previous clients' works is an important step in your journey of finding the right agency to work with. Seeing their past work will give you a sense of what to expect and also gives you the opportunity to ask more detailed questions.
The idea here is to understand the aesthetic value of a web design agency and to check if it aligns with yours. Also, it gives you a chance to reach out to those clients and ask them if they were satisfied with the work or were they struggling with it. Speaking with past clients can either turn out to be your lucky day or it may open a Pandora's box that you want to run away from!
8) Check their reviews and testimonials
You will find a lot of web design and development companies who claim to have completed a plethora of projects and flaunt them on their websites. Of course, anybody can do that! What is required here is to check if the clients have left any review for them on other websites such as Google or Facebook or Yelp (or whatever the platform is). If you want to know how to choose a good web design agency, then this is it - this point sums it up.
Reading reviews and testimonials left by previous clients will give you better insights on the process or the team and the general trustworthiness of the web design agency. Those agencies receiving reviews with less ratings (stars) should make you wary of working with, as there's often times a deep-seated issue with the agency that the previous clients reveal by way of their review ratings or testimonials.
We, at WP Adventure, love to receive reviews and testimonials from our clients. They help us to streamline our process and refine the overall journey for our clients to provide a great user experience. You can find our reviews on our Google My Business page as seen below:
9) Ask about their customer support and terms of service
Once you have your web design agency shortlisted, you still need to figure out who is responsible for your website's creation and maintenance. You need to speak with the agency and have a single point of contact within their team to answer your questions and be responsible for your site as it is being built. You clearly do not want to be in a position wherein your call is answered by 20 different people and have to explain everthing to each of them to bring them up to speed. That will be a nightmarish experience you don't want to deal with.
Besides this, it is also imperative for you to understand what the agency's terms and services are. How much time will it take for the website to launch and what is their operative process? Will they do the content as well? What about the price - do you have to pay all upfront or are there any alternatives available? Do they offer support after the website is launched? If so, for how long is the support guaranteed? What happens after this period is over?
You get the drift. Once you have these terms and services clearly understood, it'll be much easier to work with any web design agency as the expectations are laid out right from the beginning.
10) Check what else do they offer
It'll also be a great idea to check what else do you get along with the website package. Many good web design agencies offer additional add-on services that are related to websites such as content generation, graphic designing, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing etc.
Although these are not a necessity for any web design and development company and is not really a yardstick of their capabilities, but it's "good to have" these services under one roof so that you don't have to look elsewhere and deal with the whole process again of finding such services later when needed. A lot of clients want more than just a website created. They also require SEO or digital advertising services, therefore it'll just be easier for you to ask the agency as you'd already know them by now.
Having additional services on the agency's portfolio is great as it generally indicates their knowledge of those and the breadth of the various tools and platforms involved. Dealing with such an agency will provide you with an advantage you should take of.
Keeping the aforementioned points in mind, you should have a fairly good understanding on how to choose a good web design agency. If you wish to get in touch with us to discuss your business requirement (aka web design or development), we'd be thrilled to help you with it!
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