How to Choose a Website Design Agency
It comes as no surprise that in this ever-evolving online world, a strong digital presence is key to improving business growth. Owning a website is one thing, but making sure it is updated, visible to your customers and easy to use is another.
As of 2023, there are approximately 1.13 billion websites online, yet 82% of them are inactive. It is common that websites are built, and then often neglected or completely abandoned. Don’t let your website fall through the cracks!
So, how do you even start making your voice heard in the very loud digital sphere? How do you make sure that your website is in tip-top shape for your target customers to see?
Taking on the responsibility of creating a new website from scratch yourself is an arduous task. That’s why employing a web design agency is a brilliant way to ensure your company’s website is user-friendly, increases credibility, and succeeds at hitting your business goals.
- How an Agency Works
- Website Design Agency vs Freelance Web Designer
- Find an Agency that Understands Your Business
- Pay Upfront vs Pay Monthly Websites
- Reviews and Testimonials
- Do You Need a Website Design Agency?
In this article, we’re going to walk you through how a web design agency works and how to choose the perfect one for you!
An agency is a company that provides specialised services and expertise to businesses that do not have that expertise in-house. In the case of a web design agency, they will design and create a website specific to your needs, following a typical structure.
That process tends to be something along the lines of:
- Client consultation: the agency meets with you, the client, to discuss your requirements and goals
- Design and creation: the agency begins the creation of your website. They will provide mockups, layouts and colour schemes for you to choose from. Then, once you have provided your feedback and reviewed the mockup, the website designer will make the amends
- Development: the website designer will build and develop you a good website, often using a content management system (CMS). Your website content will also be integrated into the process, e.g images, reviews, and contact details
- Launch: once you are happy with the final result, your website is ready to go live! This will be available for your customers to see, too
- Adjustments: after your website has been published, your agency will be able to help with any design or content adjustments, the extent of which would depend on your initial agreement
- Ongoing support: depending on the services the agency provides, they may provide managed website services or you may be able to request new changes and updates to the site on an ongoing basis.
Read more: What makes a bad website?
Your customers expect to find you online, and a website (that works) is what they want to see. Without having a user-friendly website, you risk missing out on the opportunity to attract more customers and increase your revenue. With the help of a website design agency or designer, you will be able to expand your audience better.
When exploring which website design company is right for you, your main concern may be choosing between an agency, or an independent website designer.
Web Design Agency
Experience and expertise: with a large portfolio of clients, an agency is knowledgeable about what works best for each type of client and their industry needs
More opportunities: an agency can offer more services beyond web design; including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click Ads (PPC) and social media management to further grow your business online
Reliable and supportive: chances are, an established website agency has seen it all before. Rest assured, if a technical or marketing-related emergency came up, you are supported by a team of professionals for guidance
Freelance Web Designer
Flexibility: if you had a concern or problem with your website, they may be able to help outside of usual working hours
Cost-effective: you are only paying one person, compared to an agency
Close communication: having a close relationship with your web designer can speed up the process and help you make decisions quicker
The major drawback of a freelance website designer is that they are generally fully independent. They can become unreliable if a problem occurs beyond their expertise and may rely on other freelance workers for help, or try to fix the issue on their own, potentially causing further issues. Although an agency may use freelance workers for specific problems, they are likely to have the experience in-house to deal with most issues.
Your website is a reflection of your business, so the agency that designs it needs to understand your goals and aspirations. Perhaps you run a paddle board business, where people can learn to take up the activity. What are your goals? Would you like to expand your lessons to small groups, private 1:1s or parties? Perhaps you would like to provide personal testimonials from happy customers to increase your credibility?
A website design agency can take these aspects into consideration, tailor them specifically to your needs, and work their magic to make it happen!
Before you sign up with your website design agency, ask yourself:
- Are they a friendly team? It might sound obvious, but you want to choose a company that is happy to take your calls, answer your questions, and build a long-lasting relationship for maximum success.
- Can you visit their office? Online meetings are quick and convenient, however, building relationships is often done better face-to-face. Establishing a good, professional relationship with your agency builds trust and understanding.
- Can they show you similar websites in your niche? Before you sign on the dotted line, take a look at what they’ve created for other companies similar to your own. Do you like the layout? Would it attract your customers? Take your time to decide.
Pay monthly or upfront? When the matter of finance is involved, it is important to see which option works best for your business.
Although an upfront cost can give you more peace of mind in the long run because it is one less financial commitment to consider, not many businesses can take the risk of a large single payment. This is when a pay monthly option is more desirable.
Generally speaking, small or medium enterprises with tight margins prefer the benefits of paying monthly.
Pros of paying upfront
- Financial advancement: you may be partial to a discount by agreeing to pay upfront, depending on the agency
- Simple budgeting: after paying upfront, you do not need to think about the calculations of how much money you will need each month to pay for your website
- Priority: once you’ve paid, the agency is committed - they can start working straight away on your website
Cons of paying upfront
- Large cost: a large upfront cost is a big commitment for many businesses and may cause short-term financial strain
- Limited creative freedom: once you’ve agreed to pay upfront, and agreed a design, there’s less scope for you to request changes or modifications to your website, additional changes could cost you more
- Potential dissatisfaction: you may just not like the way your website turns out, making it more difficult to negotiate a refund
- Reliability concerns: after the payment has gone through, you pose a potential risk of not hearing from the agency, depending on its professionalism
Make sure you identify the agency’s reputation by reading their reviews and assessing their communication before you make any commitments.
Pros of paying monthly
- Cost-effective: this is especially beneficial for SMEs, as they can spread the cost of their website over a period of time
- Flexibility: if you needed to adjust payments or circumstances change, it is easier to sort out than if you were to pay upfront
- Improved relationships: choosing a monthly payment creates a constant, longer-lasting relationship between you and your agency. Each business is nurtured; you are getting the quality work tailored to you, and the agency can keep you and consider your company as a loyal client
Cons of paying monthly
- Long-term commitment: by paying monthly, you are contracted to make the payments for a specific period of time. If you had to cancel the contract before the final month, there may be fees to pay
- Agency-dependent: as this is an aspect of your marketing, you need to factor that the performance of your website counts towards your business’ success. Communication must be clear and responsive between you and the agency, in order to prevent any delays
There’s a lot to weigh up here, so take the time to decide which one suits your business best.
The best way to ensure you find a reliable and professional agency is to read their reviews and testimonials. If any negative reviews appear, read those too! Good and bad reviews will tell you a lot about the service you may potentially receive. Using the internet to search for the right web design agency for you can be overwhelming. The sheer volume of opportunities is a minefield, and you do not want to fall for an unreputable business. However, there are a few useful ways to ensure that you are a reliable and professional agency.
Find trusted reviews at:
That being said, one of the most effective types of marketing is word-of-mouth. You are most likely to choose a website design agency if you know someone who has used their services before. Perhaps you know a local business who can give you a recommendation too, especially if you love their website!
Ask your potential agency the right questions
Just like a job interview, asking the right questions is extremely useful in understanding why the agency is right for you and your business.
Here are some examples of good questions to ask when contacting a web design agency:
- Have you designed websites for companies similar to mine? If you’re looking for a web design agency, you want to be able to see something that’s similar to your business. For example, it would be very difficult to imagine your paddle board website compared to a landscaping service website!
- What other digital marketing services do you offer? If your business is growing and you have the opportunity to do more digital marketing to generate more customers using SEO and PPC, this is great to know!
- Do your services include ongoing updates? It’s great that you’re getting a website built, but can you add to it? Your website needs to grow and evolve with your business. A website that doesn’t get updated is a website that will soon be ignored by the search engines.
- Is my website safe? You do not want your website to be prone to a data breach or cyber threats, so make sure an agency can reassure you on this.
- Do I need to provide any content? Discover how much is required on your part, and on theirs. If their services do not include blog writing, find out if it is something you need to deliver.
- Do you use a Content Management System (CMS)? This is a platform that is used to create websites, in which non-technical people can update the site themselves. Popular CMS include Wix and Joomla.
- When will I start paying? Be clear on the finances. You do not want to commit to something that does not align with your accounts.
- Can I move my website if I want to stop working with you? It’s important you know this from the get-go. Find out if moving your site would incur any additional fees.
- Can I meet the team? Putting a face to the name of who will be looking after your website gives you the confidence and knowledge that a professional is working for you.
- Can we schedule regular catch-ups? It’s great to be ‘in-the-know’ about what’s going on with your website, and it allows you to add your creative perspective!
So now you know everything you need when it comes to making the decision to choose a website design agency. Oh, and since you’ve made it to the end of this, did you know that approximately 10,500 websites are reported to be created every hour? Imagine how many that is while you were sleeping last night!
We are a friendly bunch of web designers in the Oxfordshire area, where building and designing websites of any size is our speciality!
Our clients are important to us, which is why we work closely with them to create a website specific to their needs that makes their business stand out. We also ensure that your website has SEO considerations, too.
Read the testimonials from some of our happy clients…
National Garden Scheme"Beyond Your Brand has helped take someone with basic Google Analytics and Google Ads knowledge and helped us to develop accounts that are high performing yet realistic to manage. All aspects of training are managed in a way that is clear to understand and so you feel comfortable that no question is too silly to ask. Beyond Your Brand’s knowledge of Google Analytics, Google Ads and Ad grants is second to none and I feel confident that any advice we implement will have a positive effect on our search presence."
CIGI"Beyond Your Brand was hired to help manage and grow our company's Google Ads presence. They were tireless in their efforts, great communicators and always willing to help answer our questions. They spent countless hours on the phone with Google support when problems arose in our account. Our companies online advertising wouldn't be as successful today had it not been for the support of Beyond Your Brand. Highly recommended!"
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