Before delving into the crux of the article - the 10 reasons - we will first explain why choosing the right digital agency is an important decision…
Regardless of sector, size and location, a well-designed and developed website will support you in achieving your key aim - whether it’s to raise brand awareness, inform, educate, encourage bookings or sell products. This is especially important in today’s digital economy where websites are an integral part of your business and marketing operations. Moreover, you are likely to make a relatively significant investment in your website and, therefore, it’s important that the agency deliver a quality product to budget.
1. View Their Previous Website Designs
Take some time to look at their portfolio of work and visit the websites they have designed. Most digital agencies will have a page dedicated to showcasing their work - this will give you an insight into the quality of their work. Do you like the designs? Are the websites intuitive? Is the functionality sound? Of course, agencies have varying levels of input on different website designs, which is why we’d recommend viewing a few projects!
2. Research Their Client Base!
Have they designed websites for a company in the same sector as yours? If they have, they are likely to have developed a good understanding of your target market, your processes and your requirements. This could save you quite a bit of time, particularly during the initial stages of the project.
Working with a variety of clients - small & large corporations / different sectors / public v private sector - probably indicates a knack for understanding unique business problems & processes.
Big brands are impressive and usually demonstrate high-quality work and a rigorous selection process. However, the agency is likely to have much less freedom when working with bigger brands who often have internal marketing teams directing the website design.
Conversely, digital agencies are likely to have a greater level of creative freedom when working with smaller companies, so don’t discount lesser-known brands!
Does the agency have official certifications? Certifications can help to demonstrate an agency’s competency in delivering effective solutions.
In the United Kingdom, the ISO-9001 award certifies that an agency has implemented correct procedure and processes, ensuring that high-quality standards are met.
Some Content Management System platforms, for example Umbraco and Sitecore, have official certification programs. If you have a specific Content Management System in mind that you’d like to develop your website on, then check if the digital agency is certified to build a website on that CMS. All Umbraco Gold Partners have a profile on the official Umbraco website which affirms their certification.
4. Digital Agency Directories
We would advise you to review and compare agencies on the Recommended Agency Register, a prestigious directory of digital agencies located across the UK. Clients are given the opportunity to leave feedback for digital agencies, and assess various criteria including Web Design Quality, Client Service, Strategic Thinking and whether projects are delivered On Time and To Budget.
You can also check out Clutch.co, which boasts the largest directory of digital agencies worldwide. Client reviews are more detailed on this directory: https://clutch.co/profile/csi-media
5. Core Services
What are their core services, and do they relate to your needs? If you’re looking for a new website but the agency’s main specialism is social media management, then it may be advisable to look elsewhere. Also, how long have they been offering their core service? This is why reviewing their portfolio of work (point 1 on this list) is critical!
A good indicator of quality work is winning industry-recognised awards. In the digital sphere, the Recommended Agency Register, Drum and Clutch organise prestigious awards that recognise quality work and achievements in the industry. Awards are usually listed on an agency’s website - check their homepage and news articles.
7. Attitude & Approach
How do they deal with your initial enquiry? Do they show a genuine interest in helping you? Is their response friendly and timely?
A very important tip here:- Don’t choose a company that tells you what you want to hear. If one agency says a project will take three months whilst the rest are saying six months, they may be overpromising to win your business.
8. Meet with Them
Arrange for a face-to-face meeting (if possible). This way, you can properly discuss your requirements, ask questions and learn about their processes. This also gives you the opportunity to learn about the people you’re likely to be working with for a considerable length of time - do you feel you can work together, are they approachable, do they show a genuine interest in helping your organisation?
9. Cheapest Isn’t Always Best
Remember that the cheapest option is not always the best - particularly for web design projects. Quality is paramount otherwise your website may not look as good as it could, draw in visitors, or perform well technically.
10. Age & Background
One final tidbit of guidance is to research how long the agency has been designing websites for. This isn’t always easy to find but the more established digital agencies will usually state that they have “X number of years’ experience” somewhere on their website (check their Home and About Us pages).
In this article, we will share with you some tips and important things to consider when choosing a digital agency to design and develop your website.