Choosing an agency to design and develop your website can be overwhelming — especially if you’re not sure what qualities should matter the most in your decision. Even if you have a very clear idea of what you want, there are many variables to consider. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re scouting out a web design agency:
1. How long has the agency been in business?
Experience matters. You need to feel confident you’re working with a team that is not only talented but also has experience in working with businesses like yours. Agencies that have been around for many years have seen it all. They know the answer to your questions without missing a beat because they’ve answered them before. They know how to solve problems because they’ve already solved them at least once. They know what to do if something goes wrong because they’ve learned from past experiences. When an unexpected challenge arises, the agency you choose should be confident and ready to tackle it head-on.
2. Does the agency’s portfolio demonstrate experience with your industry?
Reviewing portfolios is a common sense first step when searching for creative work for hire. After all, you want to find an agency that does beautiful work! But it’s more than just looks you need to consider. You also need to make sure that a prospective agency knows how to meet your organization’s unique needs. Do they specialize in creating websites for specific industries or niche purposes? For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you may want to browse portfolios of agencies that have experience creating real estate websites with integrations for displaying MLS property listings.
3. Do they have a well-defined process and dedicated project managers?
You might be surprised to learn just how much work goes into producing a website. In addition to design and coding, there’s also asset collection, copywriting, several rounds of revisions and approvals, ongoing email communication, status check-in meetings, and numerous quality assurance checks from start to finish. Needless to say, there are a lot of moving parts!
Working with an agency that boasts an established process and a dedicated project manager will help ensure a smooth experience. Without these two key components, projects can become disorganized and things may start slipping through the cracks.
What does the process of a website project typically look like? At Southern Web, our team employs a 7-step approach for all of our custom web development projects:
- Discovery & Asset Collection
- Content Strategy
Processes differ from agency to agency, but the most important thing is that an agency has one that will keep your project moving forward.
4. How well do they keep up with emerging technologies?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know just how quickly internet trends and aesthetics can evolve. Websites only have a shelf life of a few years before their aesthetics and functionality require an overhaul. A website that looks outdated or doesn’t function correctly can reflect poorly on your business and even negatively affect your SEO efforts.
There is no better example of this than the rise of responsive design. These days, if your website isn’t responsive, you’re probably taking a significant hit in the user experience and SEO departments. That’s why the agency you choose should be on top of the latest design and development trends. This will ensure your website will last for the duration of your website’s expected depreciation timeline.
5. Are they cagey about contracts?
If so, that is a major red flag and you should run far, far away! The agency you choose should be open and transparent about anything involving contractual and financial obligations. Contracts exist to protect both the client and the agency, so there’s absolutely no reason why either party shouldn’t want one.
6. Do they offer maintenance support and marketing services?
The day of your website’s launch may feel like a conclusion to the process, but the truth is that making the most of your new digital property requires ongoing maintenance and marketing efforts. After all, even the most well-designed websites will require updates at some point in the future. And if you’re interested in pursuing any digital marketing work — whether it be search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, or email marketing — choosing a web design agency with an in-house marketing team positions you to enjoy a smooth transition into these types of campaigns.
Looking for a web design agency you can trust?
Southern Web is a web design agency that specializes in creating professional websites that help businesses achieve their digital goals. Contact us today to learn more about our custom and express web development services.