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January 25, 2016

8 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring a Web Design Agency

Make sure you're asking your web design agency the right questions with our useful guide.

B2B Selling

Are you asking your web design agency the right questions?

In today’s digital world, it’s become increasingly critical for businesses to have a strong online presence. That’s why a quality website is a must – to help establish online credibility, build a digital brand and influence new sales. Web design is just one among other digital marketing needs that should be implemented.

With so much riding on it, one really needs to exercise care when selecting a digital partner. Here, we outline the eight questions you MUST ask before hiring a web design agency.

1) What’s Their Portfolio Like?

One of the best ways to gauge a web design agency’s capabilities is to take at their previous works. What is their creative style and is it in sync with yours? Do the websites they’ve built look polished?

Encourage the web design agency to share more on the creative and development process behind the work. This will give you a better insight on what it’s like to work with them, and whether they’re capable of delivering on your website design.

2) Do They Implement On-Page SEO Best Practices?

There’s no point building a website, if there’s no online traffic. And one of the ways to ensure a stream of quality traffic is to increase your website’s visibility in Google’s search engine results pages – a process know as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

We won’t go into a full outline of what SEO is all about, but a good web design agency will ensure that on-page SEO best practices – optimising the factors of a web page that influence search engine rankings – are incorporated into the website right from the start.

Some of these include optimising title tags, URL structure and image alt texts. You also need to ensure that your websites is easily crawlable by the Googlebot. That’s means optimising your robot.txt file, sitemap, and internal linking amongst others.

If it’s a website revamp that you’re doing, find out how your web design agency intends to migrate to the new website, without this affecting your current search engine takings.

Finally, a strong component of on-page SEO is user experience. That means your website should load fast, be mobile-responsive, easy to read and navigate, and have lots of strong content (that users will want to read) on every single page.

3) What’s Included In The Web Design Quotation?

It’s important for client and web design agency to align their expectations, before the start of the project. Thats why it’s you should always ask just what their quotation includes.

You can make use of references to show your web agency how you envision the final website to look like. This will help to eliminate any unpleasant surprise further along the project.

Useful questions to ask include how many rounds of major and minor revisions are included, whether the web design agency is charging an hourly rate or a flat fee for the project, and whether they are any potential cost overruns.

4) What Will Be My Participation Throughout?

No website is successful without any client participation. You can’t just hand over all the work to the agency and let them blindly grope for what you want.

To achieve your desired end-result, your input on the imagery, campaign setup, content and other factors especially during the beginning of the setup stage, is very important. If your web design agency didn’t ask for your involvement, take it as a bad sign.

5) How Long Will They Need To Get Your Website Ready?

The time it takes for an agency to deliver you the finished product depends on the scope and complexity of the project. Nevertheless, it is still important to set a realistic timeframe, not just for the final output, but for key project stages.

It’s important to establish this upfront so that you can better plan for your business and marketing efforts. Later on, this will also give you a sensing of whether a project is at risk of overrunning schedule.

6) Will I Be Able To Update The Website Myself In Future?

Most websites these days provide some form of a content management system (CMS), that allows website owners with little or no technical knowledge to update online contents by themselves.

Based on statistics from BuiltWith.com, WordPress is the most popular CMS platform around, accounting for some 39 per cent of all websites online. There are many reasons for its popularity such as its strong ease of use, customisability and scaleability.

Bonus Tip: Be sure to get your web design agency to include a training session on how to use your new website in their contract.

7) Will They Provide Quality Control?

To ensure the website will run smoothly, a good web design agency will conduct internal quality control checks, as well as cross-browser testing and cross-device testing. This is especially important considering how online users are accessing websites on wide variety of computers and smart devices.

Ask the web design agency if they will provide a window period during which they will continue providing support for any technical issues relating to the website.

8) Will I Have Complete Ownership Of The Website?

In your discussions with your web design agency, check that you have absolute ownership of the website, including its designs and content. You need to also make sure the domain and web hosting registrations are under your company too, instead of your web design agency.

After all, your website is an important aspect of your business. That’s why retaining full ownership and control is critical, and this should be explicitly stated in any contracts.

Get Your Website Ready Now

By going through the questions that we’ve listed here with your potential web design agency, you should be able to get a pretty good sensing of whether they’re right for your project and whether they would be good partners to work with. We wish you great success on your next web design project!

If you would like to get a second opinion on web design or search engine optimisation (SEO) matters, feel free to reach out to us at donald@impactbc.com.sg for a quick chat.

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