6 Tips for Choosing the Best Website Design and Development Agency for Your Business Needs
You’re finally ready to build a website, or to redesign your existing one. Congratulations! You’re in store for quite the ride. Developing a website is exciting! In the beginning, however, the process can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done this before. But even if you have, it’s important to choose the right web design company for your specific business needs and goals at this moment. Otherwise, you may end up with a lot of headaches, and a website that doesn’t do what you need or want it to do.
Because SMILE understands how challenging the process of choosing a web design company can be, we’ve put together a few tips to help you with your research.
1) Know Your Goals and Challenges Before You Begin.
Before you go any further – ask yourself the following questions:
What goals are you trying to accomplish, and what you need to accomplish them?
What challenges do you anticipate, and how could a web design agency provide solutions?
Who is your target audience, and what features and functionality will help you reach them?
Before you begin searching for a website design company, you’ll need clear answers to each of these questions. This will help you to focus on finding an agency that will propel your company forward, and to eliminate agencies which aren’t likely to help you reach your goals or provide solutions to every day challenges.
2) Research Capabilities and Specialties.
Once you’ve determined the answers to the questions above, it’s time to do some extensive research. Now is the time to set up online or in-person demos, phone consultations, product and service documentation, testimonials from existing/previous customers, etc. While an agency’s website should provide general information about what they offer, there’s often much more behind the curtain that will only be revealed by asking the right questions.
Never go into a consultation or demo without a list of questions. Take good notes, and save them so that you can go back later and compare your options. Since you’ve defined what you need to reach your goals and work through your challenges, it should be easier to come up with specific questions to determine if an agency can provide what you need.
3) Compare Apples to Apples.
While it may be tempting to simply choose a web design company with the lowest pricing, it’s also important to compare the value of the services being offered. While one agency may offer services for X dollars per month, and another may claim to offer those same services for $20 more per month, the value of each may differ significantly. Be sure to dive into the details of any package pricing so you understand what’s included, and what’s not.
If an agency isn’t able or willing to clarify the details of what they’re offering, how can you possibly know if they can deliver the services you need? Transparency and honesty are important qualities to look for in a web design and development company. If they aren’t being open with you, cross them off the list, and move on.
4) Look for Customized Solution Providers
There are a lot of web design and development agencies out there claiming to have the best solutions to meet your business needs. How can you possibly narrow down your choices? One of the best ways to shorten your list, is to cross off any agencies which only offer out-of-the-box solutions. If you’re just looking for a quick and short-term solution, then an out-of-the-box agency might work for you. However, in order to succeed long-term, you’ll need to work with agency that is able to customize solutions to meet your current needs, as well as one that offers scalable solutions as your business changes and grows over time.
A great web design company will be genuinely interested in seeing your business succeed now and in the future. After all, their goal should be to provide products and services to help you reach and exceed your goals. Look for an agency that values creativity, innovation, and that is always striving for improvement. Out-of-the-box solutions, by default, aren’t meant to last, and don’t leave much room for flexibility, scalability, or improvement. They aren’t worth your time or investment.
5) Request Testimonials and Case Studies
Even after you’ve interviewed an agency, grilled them on specific features, functionality, customer service policies, pricing, and everything else, it’s important to find out what others have to say about them. Take a look at their social media channels, website and other online review sites to see if you can find any reviews. See what people are saying about them in general.
It’s important to note that the absence of review isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and that it’s also important to take negative reviews with a grain of salt. While checking for online reviews is a great place to start, you’re likely to get a better idea of what it’s like to work
with an agency by requesting testimonials, and/or referrals. And, a great web design company should happily comply. Why wouldn’t they want to connect you with happy customers, so you can learn about how great they are?
6) Look for a Guarantee and Short-term Contracts
Before you sign anything, be sure to discuss each agency’s guarantee and/or any contract requirements. Do they guarantee a certain level of quality? (They should.) Do they require a long-term contract? If so, you may want to discuss the reasoning behind this, and/or negotiate a shorter contract.
Your best bet is to work with an agency with multiple and flexible contract options to meet your needs and budget. You shouldn’t have to be locked into a contract for 2 years with an agency, unless there’s an offer for better pricing, or additional services.
MAKING A CHOICE
Once you’ve compiled list and narrowed it down to a select few candidates, it’s time to make a decision. Choose a web design and development provider that best meets your needs and goals, and give them a solid try. But your evaluation doesn’t end there. A great agency will do their best to continue to provide the best services possible, so that you’ll continue to choose to work with them. If the company isn’t consistently invested in helping your business succeed, it may be time to go back to the drawing board.