First things first, you want your website to stand out from the crowd and land your unique message, and that’s a hell of a lot easier when the solution is innovatively executed. A good website design agency with creativity at its core will think outside the box, approach problems with solutions, and open your eyes to new opportunities. Of course, technical expertise is important, but creativity is the foundation that might just be the difference between an average website, and an unforgettable one.
It might feel counterintuitive, but it’s worth engaging agencies who work outside your sector. Agencies that have experience in different fields are less likely to follow the path well travelled. Churning out work for very similar businesses can lead sub-par organisations to use templated processes and solutions, thus not celebrating and defining what makes your business different. On the other hand, agencies with experience in a wide range of sectors will bring a new perspective. Look for agencies with a range of case studies or a portfolio of work showcasing different approaches, demonstrating their ability to solve unique challenges and new and engaging ideas for building a website and increasing your online presence.
No one knows your business better than you, and no one will understand that if your agency doesn’t listen. Before any creative solutions are proposed, you should be given the chance to share your problems, goals and ambitions, and your agency needs to listen. And I mean really listen. They should be asking insightful questions, digging into the inner workings of your organisation, empathising with your current challenges, asking about successes, and taking the time to truly become part of your world. If they’re not inquisitive enough, it's probably time to ditch them and move on.
Without a budget, it’s impossible to give an accurate picture of how they can help. Knowing your budget ensures an agency can better understand the scale of your business, how much you can afford and ultimately, it becomes a framework against which a solution is crafted.Having a budget in place enables a good agency to work out what to prioritise; is it an all-in solution for an aggressive market takeover? Or, a solid foundation for steady growth? Agencies who don’t ask for a budget will guess what you can afford (or what they hope you can afford) and work backwards from there. This approach is not bespoke and could result in the wrong strategy for your business and its long term growth.
If you’re unsure how much a website costs or how to establish a budget we've built a handy tool which will inform you how much organisations with similar requirements tend to spend.
Agencies that know their worth won’t sacrifice their values for new business. Although it may sound great to hear an agency is willing to accommodate every single whim and desire, it’s more likely to mean they want to keep you happy over building the solution that your business really needs. Don’t get me wrong, agencies should be flexible and help you in any way that they can — but as you’re likely to be looking for an agency who provides expertise that you don’t have, it’s to be expected that they may push back, offer alternative solutions or explain why a different approach would work better. They’re there to challenge your expectations in order to build something bigger and better.
Traditional agencies may still opt for the big reveal approach, keeping clients in the dark until their work is polished enough to show. But I truly believe this is a dated approach, as I wrote about at length in this article. The best agencies collaborate; they send over work-in-progress designs, bounce ideas off you, and are comfortable giving you a peek into their process. It’s these agencies who will give you the most user-friendly results by keeping you involved from start to finish.
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