How to Choose the Right Website Design Agency for You

Web design can be intimidating. You want your website to look good and draw business in but you don’t want to break the bank. And, how do you decide which agency to use? What sorts of things should you consider as part of your decision? What do you need to know before you start the search?


How to Choose the Right Website Design Agency for You

Web design can be intimidating. You want your website to look good and draw business in but you don’t want to break the bank. And, how do you decide which agency to use? What sorts of things should you consider as part of your decision? What do you need to know before you start the search?

Finding the right web design agency for you is not an easy task. You will have a lot of options available to you, ranging from the local to national level. But, once you have found the right agency, they should make your job easier. First, though, you’ve got to do your homework, by understanding why web design matters, what to know before you start your search, questions to ask the agency, and the key characteristics of a good agency.

Why Web Design Matters

“If only given 15 minutes to consume content, 66% of people would prefer to see something beautifully designed.”—WebFX

There are many reasons why web design is important, but perhaps the biggest reason is that a good website will increase customer conversion and make you more money. This is because, as ECPI University explains, “a well-designed website uses its elements to lead customers directly to what they need without distractions.” Essentially, the purpose of any great web design agency is to give you the perfect online presence to compliment your brand.

What to know before you begin the Search

There are a few important things you should know about you and your company before beginning your search for the right website design agency:

1Your budget.
Before you begin searching for a website design agency, you must first know your budget. Make sure you can tell the agencies you meet with what your budget is—and it’s a good idea to share a number lower than your budget so that you have wiggle room.
2Your company and marketing strategies.
Create a list about your company, including a description, brand values, business model, and operations. This should be something you can easily provide to the agency.
3Your customers.
You need to know who your customers are (online and off), and what geographic, demographic, or socio-cultural barriers they may have. Providing as much information as you can about your customers helps the designers to think like your customers, which will only improve the website they create for you.
4Your competition.
Who are your competitors and how does your company differ? Answering this question helps the agency to consider ways they can make your website stand out.
5What you want from the agency.
If you have an existing website, take a good look at it and list what you’d like changed or improved. If you don’t currently have a site, then do some surfing and find some sites that you like so that you can provide them as examples to the agency you choose.

Questions to Ask the Agency

According to Web Design, you should be prepared to ask a few important questions of the design agency. These include:

1What is the agency’s pricing?
Making sure you go with an agency you can afford will make a big difference regarding the services you need versus those you don’t. Most agencies do not list their pricing, so this question needs asked. The last thing you want is to get involved with an agency that is outside of your budget.
2What is their client retention rate?
This is an easy indication of how well the agency works to meet their customer’s demands. Most companies hover around a 60% retention rate, so anything above that is good and 90% or higher is exceptional and demonstrates a high quality agency.
3Who will be personally responsible for your site?
Will you be dealing directly with the designer or is there a person who will go between and communicate for you? These types of questions, when answered from the start, will help you decide on the best agency and ensure that your work with said agency runs smoothly, since it will provide both sides with an understanding of each other’s expectations.
4How will communication be handled?
The way in which the agency plans on communicating with you must be addressed at the start. For example, will there by physical meetings? Will the agency only discuss the project via online platforms such as Zoom, Skype, etc.? These questions need answered right away so that communication runs smoothly throughout the entire project.

How you know you’ve found a Good Agency

So, after providing your list of information about your business to a company, and asking all of the pertinent questions, you think you’ve found the right agency for you… but how can you be sure? Luckily, there are many indicators of a good agency and we’ve provided a handy list for you here.

They Listen
Your agency should be willing to work with you, and listen to your concerns and ideas. If you’re being dismissed out of hand, that’s not a good sign. After all, no one knows your business better than you!

They Work Together as a Team
Whether or not your agency can work together as a team should be clear by the end of your first meeting. If you get the sense that there is no teamwork, then that’s a sign that the project will not run smoothly.

They Give Ideas
As you discuss your ideas with your agency, they should be presenting their own ideas and showing both their expertise and excitement about the project. If they appear uninspired, you should be worried. Additionally, if you’ve provided the agency with the information outlined above, they should be able to hone in on a style that’s right for you, to help guide the design in the right direction. You should never feel like your agency is pushing you into a design corner where your website looks like everything else they’ve already produced or doesn’t capture your brand.

They Know Their Stuff
While you wouldn’t want an agency that speaks over your head and uses a lot of buzzwords and design jargon, you definitely should have a sense that the agency knows their stuff. This is easily accomplished by asking to see their portfolio—which should be full of great examples. If you don’t see anything inspiring or exciting about an agency’s portfolio, then this is a good indicator that you should keep looking! A good web design agency must have a strong online portfolio to stand out because it shows they care, are good at what they do, and know how to compete in a very tough market.

They Understand your Goals
Other than the main goal of creating a website, a good design agency should be able to understand your goals and what the website should accomplish. They should not be pushing their design aesthetic on you, but rather should have an understanding of your company, clientele, and other goals—indicating that they paid attention to the information you provided them. As such, you should expect a good agency to ask a few important questions of you, including the following:

  • What is your website for?
  • Who is your website for?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your deadline?

These questions, when answered from the onset, will make sure your agency understands your goals.

They Incorporate Responsive Design
No matter what websites they share with you from within their portfolio, a good design agency understands that 96% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind  and use it to surf the web. The website they design for you must be responsive for mobile devices.

They keep up with Trends
Trends, by their very nature, change all the time. A good web design agency will have an idea of upcoming trends and those that now seem passé. You can’t always trust that an agency is up on trends, so ask about them! A good agency should be able to give you a quick rundown of the latest trends and which they’d like to see included in your website and why. They should also be able to outline past trends and forecast upcoming trends.

They’re not cheap
Of course you would like to save money when you can, but a good web design agency should not be dirt cheap. Your website is one of the most vital parts of your business, why would you want to cut corners with it? If you put $2,000 into it and get a basic WordPress theme that is clunky, uninspired, and looks like everyone else’s website, why should you expect your customers to be interested in visiting it? As Nathaniel Tower explains, you must think of your website like an investment:

“A great website will yield a high return on investment. A bad website will result in a stagnant business.”

They work with a Timeline
A good agency should be able to work within an allotted timeline, committing to having your project completed in time. They should be able to tell you how long they anticipate the timeline being and whether they foresee any reason that the agreed-upon timeline cannot be met.

They Communicate with You
Finally, the agency must be able to communicate with you. If they don’t understand your needs, and can’t communicate theirs, then there’s no point in moving forward. And, sometimes you just have to go with your gut on this. The agency may have an amazing portfolio, but if something about the initial meetings/discussions leaves you feeling like communication will be an issue, then you’ve got to cut ties and keep the search going.

 Ready to Take the Plunge?

Now that you have the information about your company, questions that you should consider of any web design agency, and an idea of what to look for in a web design agency, you should be ready to take the plunge and start your search. Reach out to Activator Studios with any questions you have!