Finding a website design agency to partner with can be likened to finding that perfect one to marry, the one that ticks all of your boxes and you can grow old with. But the odds of you finding that perfect someone from all the people in all the countries in the world are astronomical!
Once your website is built, normally the work does not stop. There are other projects that may need to be done. These could include making the site mobile friendly, installing updates and plugins, keeping it synced with social media the list can go on.
Likewise finding the right web agency for your business can be a very long journey. You want the best kind of website, one that produces lots of enquiries for the best price.
Consider what kind of website you are looking for? What platform do you want your website built on (Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla etc.). What do you want your website to do (generate leads, be your online shop, be a discussion or networking site such as Facebook or Linkedin)? What about the future, what if you need another area of marketing (such as internet advertising) and your agency does not have the skillset, you then have to start the journey again.
There is also a vetting procedure, as we all have different criteria in selecting 'the one'; likewise your agency needs to be a good match with you.
If you are a new business, then cost is going to be a major factor. But, often in life, you do get what you pay for. On the other hand, you do not want to spend thousands for something you could have produced yourself using a free website builder (as there are many out there on the web now).
If you are a global business, your website has to reflect your brand, there cannot be simple issues such as spelling mistakes or 404 error pages.
Does the web agency know your industry? Sometime this is essential when it comes to communication and brand positioning.
Do they understand your business, your products and services? What about price, how much is it going to cost for you to get an efficient website set up? What if the website does not 'work' properly, do you get your money back?
These are questions businesses of all size will face, no matter what country you are in, no matter what your products or services are and what sector your are in.
Another option is asking your next door neighbour who designed their website. If they are happy with their website, then the same thing should work for you right?
Not necessarily, someone else's 'the one' may not be right for you. Just because it works for their business, does not necessarily mean it will work for yours, as we all have different 'criteria' in choosing 'the one'.
The internet was created to bring the world closer together, to make finding anything easier.
Surely the internet can provide a hassle free way to find your agency. Better than the old days of using those big business directories.
However there is a new problem, too much choice; now there are too many web designers to consider. Top award winning agencies, freelancers that have just finished university, established agencies that only have a few staff. Multi skilled agencies that offer additional marketing services with lots of staff to support not just your website but your business as a whole.
What about using an 'award winning agency', surely if they have won awards, they will be able to produce you the best website? After all, if they have won awards, they must be the best?
There are many organisations that offer awards, so the list of 'award winning agency' options is also large and growing. Also, just because they have won awards does not guarantee they will be able to produce you the best website for the best price.
What about just going onto a search engine and typing in what you need, the agency at the top must be the one for you?
'Cheap website designer in.....'
'Top website designer in.....'
The issue here is that search engines deliver results based on many factors (such as what you have historically searched for or your location in the world), and then the adverts that are delivered are also based on pre-set criteria. The 'algorithm' that search engines use to calculate what results they deliver you is always updating, so the results you get one one day may differ to the next.
There is also the financial element to consider; what is an acceptable price to pay for your kind of website, will you get what you pay for and are there any guarantees? How do you know you are not being over charged? What is a fair price to pay?
This has to do with many factors:
Whether your business is a startup plumber, or a global conglomerate, the problem will be the same, finding 'the one'. However the general criteria can be very similar for both; indeed both require different kinds of websites, but both want the website to look great and not to be over charged.
There is also the issue of being efficient. After all, if the website does not produce enquiries, then it is not much use. It is after all your shop window, so you need to attract customers.
This then drifts into another area linked to the design 'SEO' which is all about getting visitors to your website. There is onside SEO (how search engines react to your website) and offsite SEO (how your website is reflected and positioned on the wider web). Both of these will effect the number of enquiries your website is producing for you.
So what is the answer to this problem? Choose the wrong agency and it could cost you thousands (or maybe millions)! It will also cost you time, as you may need to start the process again.
Here are a few things to consider:
1/ Compare, there are tens of thousands of web agencies out there, so take your time and look around. Do your research, use the internet to look around and find some to compare. Read reviews on websites like Trustpilot to get an idea of what they are like.
2/ Consider your industry, whether it is defence, medical, high street, B2B or B2C; does the agency know your market and your customers? Talk to the agency and ask the questions, also look at their portfolio and see if they have the experience you require. Consider if they work for one of your competitors, can this help you or cause a conflict of interest. If they are writing the content for your site, they will need to know your industry terms (jargon that your sector can relate to) and where to use them.
3/ Ask the question 'what can you guarantee'? All areas of marketing carry the element of the unknown, however asking for some kind of performance measure is wise. Marketing should not be a blind gamble, it should be structured, and this starts with who you use to handle it.
4/ Is it wiser to recruit someone to handle the design for you internally? Sometimes having a member of staff that has the necessary experience is a better choice than using an external agency. Finding a web designer/developer to employ could solve the agency issue. But this brings new issues such as employment costs, holidays, trial periods. Also what if that member of staff gets an offer of a better job, then you need to re-employ and the process begins again.
5/ Ask for a trial. Depending on the vertical, a trial may be possible. The website designer may be happy to give some initial designs for you to consider to give you a taste. It may not be possible, but there is no harm in asking the question, the worst that can happen is they will say no.
Take comfort that you are not alone with this problem, it is a problem for every business now that the world has got smaller with the internet; it has been a problem for decades and will continue to be a challenge in the future. Finding 'the one' is a journey, one that will take time and careful consideration based on your individual criteria. In many ways, finding a website designer is a marathon, not a sprint.
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