5 Ways to Select the Right Web Design Agency for You
So you need a website. It could be brand new, a re-design of your current one, or a simple landing page to put up while you get up and running. Either way, it’s important to select the right website design and development partner that fits your needs and sets you and your company up for success.
As a full-service digital marketing agency ourselves, we have compiled the top 5 things to look for and consider when choosing the right web design company for your website project.
#1 Do they listen?
Are they able to identify your problem and recommend a solution to achieve your end goal?
A good agency partner will pitch you a solution specific to your problem. A good way to assess this is to:
1. Know the right questions they should be asking you to determine the problem such as (but not limited to):
a) What is your main point of conversion?
b) What aspects of your site do you plan on changing or adding to make it better in this process?
c) What’s your biggest frustration with your website now?
2. Determine if their recommended solution actually addresses your problem or if it feels like a boiler-plate solution.
3. Ask if they have a recommended site design solution for determining the success of the new website (they should be able to answer this if they are asking question 1a.)
#2 What is their approach to content? Do they plan the content strategy before designing? Do they design with conversion and user experience in mind?
Your website content is ultimately the #1 reason a user is visiting your site – whether it be to purchase a product, learn more about your company, contact you, etc. Therefore, your website content should be laid out in such a way that a user is able to easily find the information they need in order to convert. If the creative marketing agency carrying out the website design and website development of your website does not develop a content marketing strategy before (or in tandem with) designs, you run the risk of ending up with a pretty website that isn’t functional for your prospective customers(and therefore doesn’t convert). Ideally, the team you choose should have a harmonious, multi-faceted approach to content, user experience, conversion, and design.
#3 Do they provide SEO support? What is their migration approach?
It’s no secret the Search Engine Optimization is crucial to a website’s success – it determines how often your website is found in Google search results and how high up in the search results you rank. When selecting your website development partner, be sure to ask what their approach to SEO is and how they will not only make sure your website doesn’t lose rankings upon launch, but how they can help your rankings improve. Ideally, the agency partner you choose should follow SEO best practices and be able to help you create high-ranking site content.
Additionally, it is equally as important that the partner has a solid SEO migration strategy in place for when you transition from your old site to your new one. What does this mean exactly? In order to prevent any of your existing website pages from losing their high-ranking value, it is important that proper redirects are set up for ALL pages so search engines (and users) can easily find and index pages that may no longer exist, or have been renamed, or moved to a different location. It is not always the case that agencies execute migrations in this way, so it is important to ask what their approach is to site migrations.
#4 How manageable is the CMS once the site is done? Do you need support for ongoing maintenance and do they offer that service?
Websites are always evolving, whether it be through adding new and relevant content, testing CTAs, enhancing performance, adding new features, and so on. The problem is, who is going to do it? Is it you? Someone on your team? Or someone outside of your company? When selecting your new web design and development partner, be sure to ask them what Content Management System (CMS) they plan on using and how they manage the post-launch process. A good partner will tell you they always include a post-launch training session with your website designer team so you are armed with the tools to update content on your own.
If you don’t have the capacity to do so internally and want to be sure you have support when problems arise, you will want a partner who offers ongoing maintenance services. Some offer these services for free while others may charge an ongoing maintenance fee. Come prepared with what you are willing to commit to.
#5 What does their portfolio look like?
A portfolio, or most often a ‘Work” page, is probably going to be the first place you look when considering a new good web design agency. However, it can be daunting and hard to navigate if you don’t know what to look for when making your decision. As you look through the agency’s portfolio, have these questions in mind to determine if their work is in line with what you are looking for:
- Is it diverse? Many agencies specialize in specific industries, and it’s only natural for this to occur. But you also want to stand out from the rest. Make sure they have experience both in your industry and a couple others. A diverse portfolio means they can utilize strategies and learnings from other industries that may enhance your site strategy.
- Do they have national or regional work? If you’re a national company you may want an agency that has done websites that reach a national audience. They will take into consideration a national SEO and content strategy that will better position your site for optimal performance (see above for more info on these matters).
- Do the sites look up-to-date with the latest UX experiences? In general, does their work seem recent and in line with other websites you’ve visited? Or does it look like they are stuck in the early 2000’s? Go with the design firm that stays up-to-date with the latest trends and functionalities that give the most optimal user experience.
- Can you find these sites in real life? Be on the lookout for any asterisks that note a site that never got launched. And don’t be afraid to ask to see the real site and how the site has performed since. Spec work is fine, but real sites are better.