Whether you’re building your first website, or just want to refresh your current site, a good website design agency is hard to find. A perfect-fit website agency will not only build you a website that looks great, but that reflects your brand values and provides an excellent experience for your visitors. Finding an agency that ticks all these boxes is a challenge, but there are factors that you should consider, and some steps you should take before making your mind up - which we’ve listed here.
1. Look at an agency’s previous work, and the results
This one’s fairly obvious - of course you’re going to check out what an agency has done in the past before choosing them to create your website. However, in order to do this properly, you need to ensure you’re looking beyond just what their website portfolio looks like and seeing exactly what the agency has done well in the past, and how this can translate to your website in the future. Don’t rely solely on aesthetics here - it’s important to look at the results previous websites have achieved.
Be sure to ask questions, or look for information surrounding:
- How did the website perform?
- Did the website get the business more leads? Did it bring in more customers?
If these questions can’t be answered, this is a red flag. The worst thing you could do is to base an agency’s ability on past work that doesn’t show any tangible results - you want proof that your website will perform just as well as their other clients’, so ask for this information when you need it.
2. Evaluate the agency’s website
Another fairly obvious factor, but one that is often overlooked: the agency’s own website. Does it look good? Is it easy to use?
Chances are, the agency’s website is a good indicator of how their designs are. If their website is terrible to look at, doesn’t function well and offers a poor customer experience, do you really want them in charge of your website?
I think you know the answer.
While an agency’s website isn’t the main factor you should consider, it’s definitely going to be some indication of the expertise and skill you’ll be receiving from them, so it’s worth bearing in mind when making your decision.
3. The size of the website design team
When trying to decide who will design your website, chances are you will have evaluated all options, from lone freelancers to huge companies, and it can be tricky to figure out just what size team you need to make the project successful. If you want the agency to take control, and would prefer a more outsourced approach, a large agency who is skilled at website design may be the perfect fit for you. On the other hand, if you want a lot of input, a sole freelancer may be more appropriate.
Whichever way you choose to go, it’s important to evaluate the size of an agency’s team before working with them. This way, you’ll get insight into the level of expertise and the support you may need throughout the project and beyond.
4. Know which CMS you want to build in, and if the agency can build in it
Now, this is an absolutely crucial factor to consider when choosing a website design company. Many agencies will only build websites in certain content management systems (CMSs), and you don’t want to be disappointed when you realise you want a WordPress site, but the agency you choose only builds in HubSpot. While most agencies will make their CMS preference very clear from the get-go, you still need to know which CMS you want to build in, and if it's actually right for the scope of your project. When choosing a CMS, it’s a good idea to look beyond simply building the website, and ensure that you can:
- Actually use the CMS in the future
- Understand what can be customised within the CMS
- Easily edit or add elements of your site further down the line
If you’re not sure you can do any of these things, it may be time to reconsider your CMS. Whichever CMS you decide to go with, it’s worth choosing an agency that specialises in using it, as this will definitely yield the best results.
5. Know exactly who will be designing and building your website, and if you need to do any of the work
Again, many agencies will take a different approach to designing and building your site. Some will do everything in house, some will outsource certain aspects of the design or build, and some will expect you to do some of the work. Which of these approaches is best depends entirely on what your expectations are, what works best for you, and how involved you wish to be in the project.
It’s important to note that it’s rare that you won’t have to do any of the work yourself - if you expect to get the best results without once speaking to your agency, you won’t gain anything from your website. At the very least your agency will want to discuss your business with you and any other experts they need in order to get the best content and designs. That’s why it’s good to get a feel for the agency before working with them - ask to speak with who would be working on your project, and see how you communicate with them. See if their company culture aligns with yours. How you get on with the people at your chosen agency is one of the most important factors when deciding who to go with, so don’t underestimate it.
6. Consider the approach they take to website design
There are many approaches to web design, and it’s important that you know which one is best for your business before committing to a project that doesn’t work for you. While many agencies will offer a more traditional approach to website design, more and more companies are choosing to go down the growth driven design route, which uses agile methods to provide value as soon as possible.
Ultimately, GDD is the way to go. Traditional website design involves a lot of work, and takes much longer to develop a viable product; whereas with GDD, you’ll get a functioning website a lot sooner. GDD also prevents your website from becoming obsolete, as it is designed to be an evolving and developing entity that can be improved and expanded at any time. This means that you’ll be able to edit your website as your business grows, and you’re unlikely to need to do a redesign again any time soon - meaning you’ll get more for your money. We’d advise looking for agencies that build in this way, as you’ll see value in your website project much sooner.
7. Be upfront about your budget
Typically, you can design a website on practically any budget. However, obviously the amount you spend will determine what you can get on your website. That’s why it’s extremely important that you’re honest and upfront about how much money you want to spend when discussing the design project with an agency. This is because what they’re able to offer you will vary based on your initial investment; and while some website projects may seem expensive - it’s often underestimated just how much work goes into creating your site.
Don’t forget the difference between cost and value - if a website design agency charges a little bit more, but they have evidence that their sites generate income and ROI for their clients, this will prove a much better option for your business. Sometimes, spending that little bit extra can get you a much more substantial return on your investment - so if you have it, go for it. If you don’t, be honest - go for agencies that are within your price range, and be upfront about your budget when discussing your project with them.
8. Think beyond your website, and what other services you could benefit from
A website is often just one part of your entire marketing strategy, and it’s essential that the agency you choose understands this. That’s why choosing a website design agency that offers other marketing services may be the best way to go, as you’ll get a “one stop shop” offering from a provider that knows your business’ marketing goals inside-out, and can factor this into the redesign. While this may be slightly more pricey than simply paying one person to build your site, you’ll often find that the convenience of having a team of experts on hand, and someone to support you after your site goes live is more than worth it.
As a comprehensive website design agency, we offer a range of services in addition to our website services; and create websites with marketing in mind using growth driven design to get the best results and ROI. Specialising in B2B website design, we can work with you at each stage in order to showcase the very best of your organisation to your visitors, in a way that works exactly for them.