15 steps for choosing your web design agency

By | 18 December 2014
3 Minute Read

We thought we’d put together a little shopping list for web site owners and aspiring web site owners to use when choosing the right web design agency to work with on their digital projects.

The field of web design is a bit of a minefield and there are hundreds of digital agencies out there. But choosing the right one is a becoming a harder and harder task especially when you consider how fast the web is evolving.

To help you weed through the agencies and give you a head start we’ve come up with 15 points that will help you create a relationship that meets your needs.

  1. Before you approach an agency make sure you have a brief. Knowing what you want is the first step in approaching a web firm as the more information they have the better response you’ll get back.
  2. Have they worked in your field before? Choosing a firm that has experience in building website for your industry or similar industries means that they’ll understand more about your project and as a rule of thumb should be better equipped to fulfil your needs.
  3. Don’t pick the agency from the first meeting. Ask questions and make sure they know what they are on about. Some web agencies are wolves in sheep’s clothing, with more design agencies moving into the web world or software houses moving into the industry it’s harder to spot the pro’s an agency who are focused on the web are going to look after you and your project and have the skills required to fulfil it’s goals.
  4. Think about what you’re asking for. If you don’t know what it is you want how will they?
  5. Are they charging you to pitch? If an agency is going to charge you just to find out what you want are they right for you?
  6. Don’t ask for too much. The world wasn’t created in a day and neither are websites, if you ask for the world on a plate your either not going to get it or it’s going to take forever. Make sure your aims are realistic!
  7. Work out your budget, knowing what you can invest not only helps you choose your agency but also helps the proposing agency come up with the best solution to fit your budget. There’s nothing worse that being offered your dream solution only to find out it’s out of reach.
  8. Ask for examples! Even young agencies should have a portfolio of work they’ve completed even if it’s when they were freelancing or studying
  9. Do you already have a web infrastructure? If so can the agency support this? prime examples are servers that run ASP need ASP programmers to develop a system for them, or likewise PHP servers normally require you to hire PHP competent developers to ensure there aren’t additional cost just to host the site.
  10. Look for companies who use industry standards, there is nothing worse that having a great website, the developers go bust but the code is so unique that the solution has to be rebuilt just to change your address.
  11. Get the copyright! ask if the developers give the copyright or if you have to pay for it but make sure it’s yours! at the end of the day you’re the one paying for it.
  12. Personality counts. It doesn’t matter how great a developer is, if you can’t communicate with them the project will never work.
  13. Check potential agencies out in the social media, do they have LinkedIn accounts, facebook profile or a twitter feed? These feeds are great avenues to understand the individuals in an agency as well as checking out their competencies.
  14. Find out what their rates are i.e. daily rates, out of hours support fees and even the average project rate.
  15. Finally be clear and open with the agencies – the more information you give the more you’ll get – remember you’ll be forging a relationship with a firm who will be looking after your solutions for a long time!