Sourcing a new website for your business can represent a significant investment for a small company. It is a window into your business and often the first thing potential customers see so it’s important to get it right. Choosing a web design agency, therefore, is a critical factor in the success of your website. But how do you choose between the hundreds of web design agencies you find online? What are the important factors to consider? Here we have a guide to help you make that decision.
1. Check out their website
It goes without saying that a good web design agency should have a great website. Don’t just look at the design, the site should also function well. Can you find all the information you need easily? Is the navigation straight-forward? Good websites need to have a good user experience, a pretty website that doesn’t function well is not what you want. Check out the loading page speed and whether it is responsive – does it look good on your mobile as well as on your laptop? With more than half of all internet usage now conducted on a mobile device, this is crucial for a good website.
2. Look for Client Testimonials
As well as those listed on their website a good agency should be able to supply you with a portfolio of their work. Don’t just look at the pictures, visit the websites. Are they the sort of thing you had in mind for your website? Are they fast, responsive and user-friendly? Are they up to speed with the latest design trends? You want an agency that has experience across a broad range of clients if they specialise in one particular sector which isn’t yours, they probably aren’t the best choice. Look for reviews on the internet, if there are any negative comments are they about the same thing?
3. Meet the Staff
You should be able to meet the actual designers at an agency, not just a sales rep. Do you get on with them? You will have to spend quite a lot of time liaising with the designer so it’s important that you click with them. Do they have a marketing department? Your agency partner should have processes in place to make the design and development process simple and easy, support for your website after it’s live, ongoing marketing services to help grow your business, and a team of knowledgeable experts to help ensure your website meets your goals and needs. Do they use a lot of jargon or explain things clearly? Have they taken the time to tailor their offerings to you? Are their suggestions relevant and suitable for your business? Far too often, companies try to sell you products that you don’t need.
4. Do they use a CMS (Content Management System)?
You want your website built around a content management system so that you can do basic updates. A CMS is a website platform that makes it easy for non-technical people to easily update their website on their own. So instead of a website where you need to know HTML or CSS to edit (called a static website), you can quickly login to the backend of your site and update text, images, videos, etc. all on your own. This gives you more power and control over your own website. Otherwise, you will be reliant on your web design agency for every small change.
5. Check out the terms and conditions
This is important so that you know where you stand. Ask the following questions:
• Are there any hidden costs, like set up fees or holding fees?
• 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?
• Are the files backed-up?
6. Do they factor in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
You want customers to be able to find your website – a site that looks beautiful is useless if no-one visits it. It is important to build SEO in from the start in order to get a site that ranks in search engine results. A good website developer should have this in mind at every stage. Who will provide the content for your website? A good copywriter can make all the difference to where a website is ranked in search engine results. Do they have a content writer or will you be expected to provide it? If they have one will there be extra charges for content?
7. Do they meet the best coding standards?
Will the website meet the W3C guidelines? What browsers does the web agency test their work in? It’s important that your site is developed to the best possible standards, best practice is to ensure all sites are DDA compliant and built to W3C guidelines, meaning your site will be accessible to all. There are now a variety of internet browsers available, including Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. It’s important to ensure your site can be viewed properly in all of these browsers.
8. What ideas do they have?
A top web design agency will work closely with you to create a design that achieves your vision and functionality needs, starting from Day 1. So, before you hire an agency, ask them what design ideas they have. Good design isn’t arbitrary, and a good agency knows that. Any designer you work with should be able to back up their choices, and you should feel confident that they have a plan for success. If they can’t, or if you don’t, that’s a big sign that they may not be the right fit for your project.
9. Will you own the website once is goes live?
Some web design agencies retain ownership of the sites they build. This makes it hard for you to make changes in the future, and can even allow them to repurpose your design and content for other clients. Look for an agency that gives you full ownership and copyright of any marketing assets they create for you such as; websites, logos, mobile apps, etc. It’s common practice to allow them to use your website in their portfolio and use it for marketing purposes. But other uses, like copying your site for a competitor, should be strictly forbidden.
10. What happens if you want to change agencies?
If the web design agency is going to host your website, what happens if you decide you want to change agencies? Find out if the agency hosting your website will move things for you. Or if they will grant you database and FTP access but you’ll have to move it yourself or find someone to move it for you. Typically, the experience should go smoothly but make sure you fully understand the process first.
Choosing the right web design agency for your next project can be a difficult decision, with a number of different things to take into consideration. Here at Koreti we factor in all these points. We have web developers who are also designers so will handle your project from start to finish. We can provide you with a portfolio of satisfied customers. We also have a marketing department and experienced content writers. Our websites are created using WordPress, and we will provide training on how to update your website. We can host your site but will make it a straight-forward process if you want to move. Our pricing plans are transparent so there won’t be any nasty surprises. We also provide free design ideas before you commit to the project.
For help with your website call us on 01202 650 333 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, you can fill out our contact form here.
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