How to Find a Stellar Web Development Agency
Here’s the scenario: you need a website and you want it to look professional. You don’t have the time (or necessarily the knowledge) to build
an efficient and aesthetic site
yourself, nor do you want to hire someone in-house to do it.
The solution? You decide to hire for your web development, but with so many agencies available, which one to choose?
Well, you’re in luck. You came across this article and I’m here to give you some key points to consider when hiring a design agency. Spoiler alert: The most telling factors aren’t mind-blowing, but they’re extremely important if you want the job done right.
As with any project – whether it’s building your house or fixing your car – you want to make sure the people doing the work know what they’re doing. Look for an agency team with at least a few years of experience under their belt. (And if you’re planning on building a large, highly-customized site, look for a place that has more than a few years of experience in the business.)
Experts understand that half the battle to creating the perfect website is understanding the customer – their brand, their tone, their strengths and their shortcomings. Before any work begins, provide the agency with your brand guidelines and a style guide. If you don’t have these, your chosen agency should work with you to create them. If they do not have the capacity or resources to develop these elements, enlist your own staff or another outside agency for assistance. At our own agency, we don’t move forward with a website project without these, as they provide concrete direction and rules on how to work with the brand.
Also, have you heard of the terms “sitemap” or “wireframe”? Your design agency would do better. Otherwise, run (fast)!
Do yourself a favor and set aside at least a few hours to review the work of the agencies you are considering. Their portfolios will give you an idea of the quality and style of their work. Are they industry specific? Do they incorporate best practices for on-page SEO? Can they design for e-commerce? You need to know their abilities.
An agency team must be proficient in many areas: web development, design, copywriting/editing, and SEO, to name a few. Look for agencies that employ specialists specific to those areas, where that’s all those employees do every day. Can a brain surgeon do an open heart? May be. Prefer a heart surgeon? Yes.
One of the best ways to find a web agency is to ask around. Check with other companies that have stellar websites and see who they’ve used. Or, if you’ve already contacted some web design agencies, ask for references in a similar industry, budget, or purpose.
The amount you spend is highly dependent on the size and scope of your project. Do you need to integrate e-commerce shopping, custom programming and design, content development, or regular maintenance? If so, expect to pay more.
Each agency has a reason for the price they give. Check with a few to see what their costs are, and if one is significantly higher, ask why. There may be a good reason for the price difference. By digging a little deeper, you get the information you need to make the most informed decision.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are other elements, such as the physical location of the agency and its marketing capabilities, which may be important on an individual basis. It all depends on your goals.
When looking to hire an agency, act as if you were hiring an employee. Don’t assume they can do the job just because they say they can. Interview them. Ask questions about how they do their job and be specific about your needs. With a little research and effort, you will find your ideal agency.