Not every marketing or website design agency works the same way or has the same objectives in mind. For you to find an agency partner that both fits your goals and working relationship, you should strongly consider the following questions.
1) Do You Have Experience in My Industry?
Understanding different industries can help your marketing agency know not only what sorts of styles can be effective, but also what sort of language to use throughout the website. Your specific industry may be incredibly niche, but having at least a surface-level understanding of what you’re looking for and expecting can make a large difference in the results of the development.
While it’s not reasonable to expect a development or design company to be experts in your field like you are, it is reasonable for your agency partner to be able to understand how your business works and otherwise generate revenue.
If the web design company you are considering does not have a working knowledge of your industry, then the website that the company builds may not clearly express your company’s goals or drive users to take meaningful action. A website that doesn’t have a clear and focused sales funnel can turn a “pretty” website into a worthless one.
2) Are Your Websites Custom?
This may not matter to some businesses, but a common theme within web development companies is to offer the same website to multiple people with just a few color or font changes. These templated websites can be offered significantly cheaper than custom websites, but will likely come with a lower likelihood of SEO success.
Google wants websites to be unique, and template websites will often be less successful within Google’s search algorithm than a custom website.
3) Can I Edit My Website?
It is always better for your business to have control over your website after it’s completed. While having an agency to partner with to make more technical changes and give support is important, it’s probably more important that you can manage the day-to-day maintenance of your website without having to involve anyone else.
Changing images, adding menu items, editing text, etc., should all be within your capabilities as a business. Your website development partner should also be able to train you on managing your website for those simple changes so that you can be properly equipped moving forward. This is the exact reason we use a CMS like WordPress so that clients can have an easy-to-use website backend for simple edits.
4) How Long Does Design/Development Take?
While every project will not always end on or before the projected finish date, having an idea of the potential timetable for your website development project will help your team build a strong marketing plan before the go-live date. Depending on a few different variables, your website project can take anywhere from 3-4 weeks to 6-8 months.
The more complicated your build, the longer it takes. You may not think your development is complicated, but understanding the difference between things like text on a website and an e-commerce store will help manage your expectations of a development timeline.
5) What is Needed From Me?
Other than budget, the largest need from a person or company hiring a web design agency is the production of content.
Whether you need to produce language to explain your products/services, videos, images, or any other content specific to your company’s website, you will need to start gathering the content necessary as soon as possible.
This is the main issue that businesses forget about – your agency partner doesn’t know your USP or specific details unless you tell them. Go ahead and start thinking through your details at the beginning of the project so that when it’s time to put that content into the website, you’re ready to go.