How to choose a web design agency
Your business website is often the first point of call for your potential clients. Therefore, choosing the right web design agency is absolutely critical in ensuring that your website is optimised to achieve your business goals whilst also being visually engaging. This article delves into key factors to consider when selecting a web design agency, aiming to ensure a perfect fit between your requirements and the capabilities of the agency you choose.
Consider your website requirements
Before choosing an agency, it’s important to be clear on your requirements and goals for your website. For example, do you want your website to focus on increasing conversions or would you prefer it to be more informational? Do you know how many pages you require? Who is your target audience? Do you need ecommerce functionality? By establishing your requirements and being clear on what it is you want your website to achieve, you’ll find that your initial enquiries with web design agencies to be much more valuable.
Furthermore, If you already have an existing website and are seeking a redesign, it’s important to be clear about what is currently working well and what isn’t working so well. Is there a problem that you’re trying to solve? By arming yourself with as much information as possible and by being decisive in your requirements, you are more likely to ensure your new website’s success.
Explore the range of services available
A reputable web design agency will offer a comprehensive range of services and it’s an important consideration when choosing an agency as a “one stop shop” for your website launch.
Some of the most likely services a website design company will offer are:
- Website design
- Website development
- Website maintenance
- Ecommerce solutions
- Search engine optimisation
A good agency will be experienced in managing the whole process from website design through to development and launch. Moreover, they should ensure that your website is designed and developed to be optimised, responsive on all devices and accessible as well as being both functional and visually pleasing.
Understand their expertise and specialisms
Every web design agency will work slightly differently and will specialise in different areas of web design and development process. By taking a look at their portfolio, process and services, you’ll be able to quickly establish their strengths.
If you’re looking for a bespoke website design with elegant transitions or advanced functionality then you’ll likely want to find an agency that specialises in bespoke website design and development. This will ensure that the agency has the capability to not only design an impressive and unique website, but also has the expertise to develop the website with the level of functionality that you require. If you’re simply looking for a more static website with a generic design then the need for a bespoke service is going to be less influential in your overall decision.
Another consideration is what CMS the agency will use to build your website. A CMS or Content Management System will enable you to manage and update your website’s content over time. There are a number of CMS providers to choose from, currently the most popular being WordPress, and it’s important for you to understand the implications of using one specific CMS over another.
Take a look at their portfolio
It’s advisable to take a look at a web designer’s portfolio before making a decision. By doing this, you’ll be able to see the quality of their designs and their ability to adapt their design style to different industries. You’ll also be able to see whether they have experience within your particular industry.
Next, take a look at the attention to detail within the designs; does the layout work well, does it flow, is it intuitive? A good website should be more than just visually appealing, it should also be easy to navigate with a clear journey throughout each page. Furthermore, a consistent design will reinforce your brand and comply with your brand guidelines and so you might want to look out for details such as typography, layout and spacing to ensure that these are consistent throughout each design.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember though that design is very subjective and so it’s unlikely that you are going to love every design that you see. A good web design agency will cater their designs to suit their clients preferences and so it’s important to assess their skills and ability rather than whether the design is to your individual taste.
Consider the agency’s reputation
Another important factor when choosing a web design agency is their reputation. One way to assess this is by taking a closer look at their reviews and feedback. Reviews give you an insight into the past experiences of clients as well as giving you a clearer understanding of what the agency does particularly well and not so well. Moreover, reviews will indicate how an agency communicates with their clients and the level of customer service that they offer.
Oftentimes, reputable web design agencies will display client reviews on their website allowing you to gauge the level of client satisfaction as well as an indication of their level of professionalism. It can sometimes act as a red flag if there is no visibility of customer feedback.
Some agencies will gather reviews on third party sites such as Clutch or Google reviews, which provide a star rating along with comments from the client. Although no agency is perfect, it’s advisable to see if you notice any patterns when it comes to client reviews. What does the agency tend to do well and, if there are negative comments, is this a one off issue or is the agency consistently falling short on a particular aspect of their service? In addition, if you are looking for a particular service, such as ecommerce web design, you might want to look at reviews specific to this service.
Furthermore, many agencies will have social media pages such as LinkedIn or Clutch and most reputable agencies will ensure that these pages are regularly updated. Although a regularly updated social media page isn’t necessarily an indication on the agency’s web design skills, a well maintained social media page does give you an indication of how active the agency is, as well as affirm their professionalism and reputation.
Book an initial consultation
Before you make a decision on which web design agency to partner with, you’ll want to book an initial consultation to discuss your project in detail and ask questions around the agency’s approach to website design.
During the consultation, you should expect to provide details about your business, your target audience and your website goals. The agency will ask you questions relating to your website design brief, which could include how many pages you require, the functionality you require and any specific features your website will need. A good agency will be able to help make suggestions or provide feedback on your initial ideas based on their expertise.
Creating a website is very much a collaborative process and it’s important that you understand the agency’s process so that you feel supported throughout the project and to ensure that your website is successful. During the consultation, you’ll be able to establish the agency’s communication style and level of customer service provided. It’s encouraged to ask as many questions as you feel necessary to ensure that you understand the process and feel confident in your decision of partnering with a particular agency.
Making your decision
After the initial consultation, you should take time to evaluate the agency’s proposal and determine whether the agency’s experience, approach to web design, communication style and services are the right fit for your project.
Once you decide you’d like to move forward, you’ll need to carefully check the agency’s terms and conditions to ensure that there are no surprises. We suggest that you pay particular attention to the expected timelines for the project as well as the overall cost. You’ll want to fully understand what is included in the cost, for example, how many design revisions are included? What functionality is included? By taking your time to carefully review the contract, you’ll have a better understanding of what service you’ll be signing up for.
Now, the exciting part begins! By carefully considering the agency’s reputation, skills, portfolio, process and reviews you’re likely to find an agency that will align with your requirements which will ultimately make your web design project a success.