How To Find The Best Website Design Agency For Your Business
Note: Today's post is for those of you who want to learn the 3 things you absolutely, positively, must check out before making a website agency decision.
So you've started a search for a new website design agency, eh? And you're frustrated because it's hard to tell them apart because every one you call tries to tell you why they're so great?
Well of COURSE every web design agency is going to tell you they're great.
You either already know this is true or you're about to find out when you start searching for the right partner: 99% of website design agencies out there will jump at the opportunity to tell you why they're so fantastic.
(Sidenote: Well, actually, we don't do this. Even though we're an award winning web design agency, we have no interest in trying to convince a business to work with us if we don't yet know we could be an amazing fit. Successful website projects rely on wonderful relationships between agencies and clients. Wonderful relationships cause magic to happen.)
Searching for a design agency to plan, design, and build the website your company has always wanted? Here's an invaluable gold nugget, 3-part tip:
Before you visit an agency's fancy downtown office... or start talking to them about their patented processes... or meet their hip team of developers..... or dive into the tiniest of details of your biggest challenges with them (and therefore become emotionally involved), etc., there are 3 things you should do first.
After you've ensured the agency gets passing grades on these three critical things, THEN you can start diving into details, comparing them to the other finalists on your list, setting up in-person meetings, etc.
The 3 things you MUST do before spending too much time considering an agency are (drum roll, please):
- Make sure you're in the same budget ballpark
You don't need a quote (and you shouldn't be asking for one yet). But you do need to know whether an agency will be able to do an excellent job for you with the rough budget range you've allocated for your project. You may fall in love with a particular agency, but if their projects start at $150k and you only have $30k in the budget, don't waste your time moving forward. On the other hand, if you reach out to an agency and their average project price sits around $2k, you'll be much better off maximizing your budget with an alternative option.
Yes, we know this seems like one of those no-brainer, throw away tips, but it's not. Each year we receive leads from from businesses that have reviewed our site's pricing page, confirmed their budgets didn't match up, but still spent time writing emails or setting up calls or attempting to schedule meetings in hopes of figuring out how to work together. Unfortunately, they were wasting time they could have spent exploring options that would have been far better fits for their situations.
- Make sure you like the work they've done in the past
This one is simple. Review the agency's portfolio. Like what you see? Good. Move on to #3. Don't see a single project in their web design portfolio that you really like? Be careful spending any more time considering this agency. You're entering very dangerous waters. You've been warned.
- Ultra important: Make sure you'd play well together
If a web design agency has ticked the boxes for 1 and 2 above, hop on the phone with them. Have an initial exploratory call. When done, ask yourself how you feel. Feeling warm and bubbly and excited and heard? That's a great sign. Feeling pressured? Feeling like the people on the other end of the line showed up and throwed up about how amazing they are? Bad sign. Did you thoroughly enjoy the conversation, and feel energized yet comfortable throughout? Good sign. Did the call feel like it dragged on and on an on? Bad sign. By the end of the first call you should have a good gut feeling as to whether the possibility exists that you and the agency would play well together.
Having this gut feeling is absolutely critical. It's more important than budget, agency location, agency size, or portfolio. We absolutely guarantee that you can hire the most amazing website design agency in the country but if you don't get along with them superbly, the project will be frustrating and your final results will NOT be as successful as they could be. In fact, working with an agency you don't love to work with significantly increases the likelihood of a highly unsuccessful (or cancelled) project.
And that's it.
If a website design agency ticks the 3 boxes listed above, add them to your "finalists" list. (Pro tip: Don't make that finalist list too long or you may get stuck in analysis paralysis. It's not pretty.)
If an agency doesn't tick these initial 3 boxes, don't waste another moment considering them as a potential partner, no matter how amazing they seem otherwise.
And then what?
Found some agencies that tick the 3 boxes above? Great.
You'll likely want to peel back the layers and look a bit more deeply into your options. You may wish to research some additional critical details such as...
- awards and/or recognition
- client testimonials
- client reviews (off-site)
- client list
- real-life results they've achieved for their clients
After looking into these various facets of multiple agencies, you'll likely have narrowed down your final choices to a list of 3 or fewer. Have another round of conversations this time, and go more in-depth.
If, after another round of conversations, you can't seem to choose between your options and they all seem fantastic, DO NOT choose based on price.
Instead, go with the agency you feel understands your concerns the best, trust will take good care of you, and has the best connection with you. You'll have a better experience, will feel at ease during the project process, and your final website will be far more successful if you choose based on best fit instead of just price.
Curious how our agency stacks up when it comes to the bulleted list above? We've mapped out a quick page of simple answers for you. Take a look here.