So you’ve decided you need a new B2B website and that you’d like to work with a B2B web design agency to help you realise your goals. You want a website that will be fit for purpose and effective at generating and nurturing leads. But how do you determine which is the right agency to go with? To help you whittle down the choices, we’ve put together 10 key questions that you should ask a B2B web design agency to help you understand more about them and their position in the market before making your final decision:
- Will you take the time to understand our company/brand/customers?
- What’s your website design process?
- Do you have designers, developers
- How much input do we need to have in this and what level of communication can we expect from you?
- How long will the website project take and can we expect to go-live by our deadline?
- Will we be able to easily manage our website ourselves after launch?
- How much does it cost to build a website?
- What's your experience in designing and building websites in my industry?
- What recommendations can you make to improve our website?
- What kind of support can you offer us during and post-project
Will you take the time to understand our company/brand/customers?
The right web design agency should always do a discovery process with you. Even if you’ve already done one internally and know your personas, it’s vital that your chosen agency is also on the same page. However, doing a discovery process is more than just that. It will provide the agency with an opportunity to bring to light any new information they’ve discovered or to gain information that they feel is missing.
What’s your website design process?
Take the time to understand exactly how the agency carries out their website projects. In many cases, a website process can be quite broken up with different people working on different aspects of the website. It’s almost like a production line where it’s passed along without much communication in between. This kind of process can start to show cracks later on if there’s isn’t any alignment between the different areas.
At Axon Garside, our design process is a little different. A website encompasses so many different elements that work best when they come together and presented to a user. We believe a website project should reflect this and be a collaborative process between all those involved in the project - especially between content, UX/design and development. This way provides a much more rounded view of the website and ensures everyone is working towards the same goals.
Do you have designers, developers
and content in-house?
This is an important question to ask and it will determine whether or not you’ll be dealing with just the agency, or whether there will be a third party to consider as well. In our experience, it’s always better if the agency has talent in-house as it means they will be working to the same standard and there will be less fuss in setting up collaborative meetings.
On another note, if your agency designers, developers and content people in-house, it’s also worth checking whether they have a UX person on board as well. Your website is your most important asset and should work to attract and nurture your visitors into leads. To do this successfully, you need to consider the user’s journey on your website down to the finest detail. A UX person will be able to help map out these journeys and provide greater insight into how, when and where we can direct these users to the places they need to go on your website, as well as ensuring the journey is as consistent as possible.
How much input do we need to have in this and what level of communication can we expect from you?
This all depends on your website project. Perhaps you will be writing or providing all the content and the agency will be solely concentrating on the design and development. These are things that should be hashed out in the beginning so that everyone understands who needs to provide certain input at different levels of the project. Additionally, whether you want to be kept in the loop on regular basis or whether you’re not one for meetings, you need to discuss this with the agency to see how they’ll accommodate your needs.
For example, we like to have regular weekly catch-ups with our clients to ensure every aspect of the project is running as it should be and it provides the opportunity to bring up anything new that comes to light or snag any issues as early as possible and means we can get regular input from everyone involved. We feel it’s a good, agile way of doing things.
How long will the website project take and can we expect to go-live by our deadline?
Every website project will need to meet a deadline and yours will be no different. Ask your agency this question and understand whether they would be able to meet your deadline based on how much work there is to do and how much time they have to complete it.
A good agency should be able to map out your project requirements and dependencies to foresee what it will take to get your website up and running by the date required and should also map out a contingency plan as well
Will we be able to easily manage our website ourselves after launch?
This is a question we get asked a lot and we feel it’s become quite an important question. This all depends on how the agency plans to design and develop your website and what platform they will be building the platform on. The more custom the templates and the design, the harder it may be to manage without the need for a developer or someone very technical on hand - and this can end up costing you.
For instance, we build our clients’ websites on the HubSpot platform because it’s incredibly user-friendly and flexible. So much so, that once a website has been built and goes live, you’ll be able to make changes to your website as when you need to without the need to get a developer involved. This is especially great whether the changes you need to make are fairly small or even larger-scale changes - the HubSpot platform provides easy drag and drop modules for pages and lots of intuitive features and functionalities - which is what makes it so popular with our clients.
How much does it cost to build a website?
A lot of businesses will have a budget set aside for a website project, so you’ll know there will be a limit on your spend. Ensure you discuss this in depth with an agency and make sure you get agreed costs down in a proposal from the beginning. This way, both you and the agency will be on the same page and know what work is expected without any confusion or money-chasing later on.
What's your experience in designing and building websites in my industry?
You could choose any web design agency to do the job for you - after all, designing and building websites is what they do. However, in order to be fully confident that you can trust them to build a website that truly reflects your brand, you ought to consider looking for an agency who has experience in building websites in your industry.
This way, you can ensure that they understand how you need to position yourselves in the market, understand your business processes and what makes your buyers tick in order to provide a website that is aligned to work with your specific goals. Take a look at their current and past clients and see what kind of results they’ve achieved for them and whether they can prove their track record. An agency that understands your needs in the scope of your industry will likely provide a better end product that one that doesn’t understand your business.
What recommendations can you make to improve our website?
Naturally, you already have an idea of what you want your website to achieve, but if you’re going to be working with a web design agency, ask them what kind of recommendations they can give you to make your website work even harder.
The right agency should have the expertise to understand the ins and outs of not only website design, but how a website fits into a larger marketing and sales campaign. So they should be able to come up with several recommendations on how to improve your website so that you can really see the return on your investment.
What kind of support can you offer us during and post-project?
Your chosen B2B web design agency should be able to offer you support during and after your website project. As a website project is collaborative in nature, this needs to be reflected in the amount of support you’ll be provided to ensure everything is, and remains, on track. Make sure you ask what kind of support is available such as whether they offer maintenance services or making changes to things like content and whether these are on-going, on a retainer basis or as and when required.
Selecting the right agency to design and build your B2B website isn’t by any means a quick decision. That’s why you need to ask the important questions during your shortlisting process so that you are clear on what you’ll be getting from an agency, and what would be required from your end, too.
Axon Garside is a platinum HubSpot partner and has had over 14 years of experiences in designing and developing B2B websites for clients in the technology, industrial and professional services sectors. Our websites encompass inbound marketing at its core to ensure they work hard to successfully attract visitors, generate leads and convert those leads into sales.
If you’re ready to take the next step and start shortlisting agencies, why not download our free Website Brief template? It covers all the aspects you need to consider for your website project, what’s required from an agency and what you want to get out of your project at the end.