Grow your business and attract new site visitors and leads through a new, optimized website. Find an experienced website design agency to create a fresh, responsive website design or transform an old, outdated site to bring in new customers and increase sales.
An up-to-date website helps your business show up higher in search results to ensure that customers find you online first, as opposed to finding and visiting your competitors’ sites. It can be difficult to commit to a website design agency, especially if you have never worked with a designer or agency before.
Check out the top things you should consider before hiring a web design agency to create a new site for your business and ensure the final site design is everything you want.
What Experience Does the Agency Have?
What experience does the agency have, and do they have a portfolio of client work? Inquire as to whether they have created mobile responsive sites before and get an idea for their standard of work. Look at the agency’s online reviews and client ratings, or ask around for suggestions from family, friends, and colleagues.
If the agency has other clients in a similar field or industry to yours, you will get a better understanding of what requirements you may need for your website and how the final design will look.
An experienced agency will likely have more work experience; however, do not discount a younger agency altogether. An up-and-coming agency can offer fresh ideas and often have equally capable designers that will complete your site design at a lower price point.
What Kind of Website Does Your Business Need?
Do you need a simple website listing company information or a more complex site design for eCommerce, online interactions, or service offerings? If you aren’t sure what site functionality you need, consult with a few different agencies an get an idea of what they typically provide.
Regardless of what needs you have for the site, it should be mobile responsive so that mobile users can access the site with ease and will have a positive user experience.
Make a design wish list or must-haves list before getting started and ensure the agency can fulfill all those items. Talk to the agency about what they suggest for site design and how the new website will benefit your business in that format.
Who Will Be Completing the Design?
When discussing your new website, ask who will be completing the work. Is the design and development all done in-house, or will the company outsource certain aspects?
This distinction between who will be completing the work and from which location can affect the time it takes to complete the website, along with any communication and back and forth you might need to have with site designers to get the final website completed.
If possible, try to meet with the designers who will be handing your new website design and development, and if that isn’t possible then at least ensure you can talk to your project manager or project point of contact.
What Is the Expected Timeline?
Prior to officially hiring a design agency to create a new website, you should determine the expected design and completion timeline.
Ask how long it will take to complete the website and what will happen if there are unexpected delays or if you have design changes for the team.
Web design and development takes longer than most people think, especially with complex or unique designs. Prepare for hiccups in the process and include some flexibility in the schedule for design changes and reviewing. (are you on a tight deadline for opening a business or a grand opening?
Do You Need A Customized Website?
Determine if you need a simple website design, a more complex design, or a completely unique custom site design. Keep in mind that the more complex the website is, the longer it will take to complete and the more expensive the work will be.
Ask whether the company provides customized web design services that will meet your needs and if they have any suggestions for custom design work.
It can be helpful to go into a meeting knowing exactly what you need, sitemap in hand, but realistically many new businesses or individuals in need of a website don’t understand what their needs are.
After a discussion, you may find that a preexisting template fits your needs, or that the new website will only need a few custom sections as opposed to a complete design from scratch.
What Is the Website Development & Design Process?
When considering hiring a website design agency, inquire about their process, including different steps and timelines for completing work, and any effort required from your end.
Discuss what happens if there is an issue that requires additional time or reworks.
Are there certain steps that you will need to take or items you need to provide prior to the agency beginning work? Make sure to outline the design/development process and establish a timeline for deliverables and reviewing.
What Is Included With Website Design & Development?
Get an idea of what is included with website creation, including any SEO, content, or initial support.
While some agencies will scrimp on anything other than the website to offer a lower price, you might want to pay up for a better overall experience for visitors and higher search engine rankings for your website.
Find out if the agency has “add on” capabilities, such as marketing strategy, branding, copywriting, content marketing, lead generation, marketing automation, and SEO, among others. You may find that a website alone is not enough to sustain your business or draw in new leads after a certain point.
Ask about the items that you should produce–will you need to provide media and content or can the team product those things in-house (either from stock images or their own media) with some input or guidance from your end?
What about SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is what helps your website appear in relevant search results and a new website should be optimized before going live and may need to be optimized on a regular basis as search terms change over time.
In order to attract more visitors to your new website and ensure that it shows up in Google search results, your site should be optimized with relevant keywords, backlinks, a fast loading page speed, proper web security, mobile-friendly features, meta details, tags, and technical SEO.
While you don’t have to hire the same website design agency to implement SEO for your site, they will likely be able to implement these items faster and more efficiently than a new company that has to take over managing the SEO for your website.
Do You Get Along with the Agency?
If you can’t see eye to eye with the web design agency you hire, then it’s likely that the entire web design process will leave you feeling underwhelmed and unsatisfied.
Do you get a positive feeling about their work or team from discussions with the company or website designers? You should feel comfortable with the team and point of contact, especially if you need to make edits or corrections.
While each agency is going to have a different culture, it’s important to have productive discussions and maintain some level of trust throughout the design process with the agency you hire to create your new website.
How Much Will It Cost?
Cost is a big factor when it comes to hiring a website design agency. When meeting with different agencies, provide the same scope of work for each and inquire about an estimated cost for the proposed work.
Do some research and ask yourself whether the cost reflects the quality expected in website design of the caliber you expect.
Get cost estimates from several different agencies and compare the quality relative to the quoted price. Some agencies will charge more but have a quality of work that is well worth the extra cost.
Ensure that you have gotten a great website for the money, but don’t cheap out either. Make sure to discuss payment as well. Many agencies require funds up from, while others take half payment before completing work and half after delivering the finished website.
How Is Hosting Handled?
How does the agency handle website hosting? If you don’t like the host that they typically use, are there better options available?
There are a variety of website platforms and hosting options, some better than others. A good web design agency should be able to discuss the pros and cons of different hosts with you.
Learn how often will there be site backups and how long will your site be backed up? Having access to your site information is important in case you decide to move to a new host or get a new website in the future.
Is There A Content Management System (CMS) For Your Website?
A content management system allows you to update and make changes to your website without the need for coding. Some common CMSs include WordPress, Drupal, Wix, and SharePoint, among many others.
Whether the agency uses a system you are familiar with or something you’ve never heard of, you should be able to make simple edits to the site, update content, photos, and add new pages with ease (no coding needed).
How will you update your website? Will you do the work yourself or depend on the company? Discuss what logins and final ownership will you have of the website, along with any training or user guides the agency will provide for your website’s CMS.
What Does Post-Launch Support Look Like?
Ask what support the web design agency provides after your site has been launched.
From small adjustments and walking you through the new site design to updates upon request, it’s best to find out how the agency plans to transition support after the site is live so you aren’t left hanging when an issue crops up unexpectedly.
Some agencies may have support plans, while others may offer guidance or a demo to show you how to make changes yourself. How accessible is the agency? Find out whether you will have to submit an online ticket to fix something or you can email contact at the agency with questions or issues.