:: By Saher Naseem, @SaherNaseemD ::
Selecting the right partner for Web redesign endeavors can be a real challenge. This is especially true when it’s a startup, where there is a dire need to hire a Web design agency that can create the website and manage redesigns as the need arises.
There are often expectations that are unmet by agencies. The reason is because the agency was not looked into before being hired. While proposals sent may play a vital role in the process, it’s a great idea to collect a little insight on the company. A company’s reputation is at stake so seriousness of the matter is required.
Before an agency gets selected, take a look at these tips that have helped various start-ups, small-scale and medium-sized businesses choose the perfect Web design agency that works for them.
1. Business Needs
Perhaps the first thing that needs to be done is finding out the exact requisites of the business itself. Make a list of all that is required, the websites that stand as inspiration, the competitors’ agencies and how well they are doing. Other requirements may include if there will be frequent changes required in the Web design, the content and other aspects of it. If this is the case, then a Web design agency can really do the trick in the long-run.
Most of the agencies usually send their portfolios in the form of a proposal or provide a link of it in the proposal email. Take a look at that and see what matches the required needs. Things that are needed to check off the list may include whether the agency has worked in the same industry as yours and if they have worked on similar websites. Look up the businesses mentioned online and see where their reputation stands currently.
3. Development Team
The proposals may state that they have a full-stack development team in place but do they mean it? In order to find out the truth, take a closer look at their previous work. If it feels undone or requires fixes here and there and has been haphazardly done, they are not as professional as they sound. If they are located locally, take a visit and if not, then the best chance will be to rely on the quality of their previous work.
Years of experience may not be everything but it sure has a major role to play in the entire game. If they have been in the industry for long and have an insight of the latest trends, their experience is worthy enough to be considered. Further interaction can also prove if they have the valid experience and relevant knowledge or not. Don’t just fall for the technical terms that are being thrown around. Ask them about the website traffic, whether they can pull off responsive designs and generate leads through it.
Keep an eye out for the distinction in the designs and the platforms they help you pick. If they have been catering to the unique needs of each client, they will suggest varieties with a hint of originality about them. The website also needs to be ‘hand coded’ by an expert, qualified developer. If they are capable of doing just that for a custom design that has been tailor-made for the business needs, they certainly stand out.
6. In-house Resources vs. Outsourced
This may not sound like an important consideration but it has a pivotal role in the make or break of the entire company's reputation online. If all the aspects are taken care of in-house, it really could be a relief. However, if they outsource it, the real worry is not the ‘outsourcing’ itself but ‘who’ the third party will be and if they will be able to meet the deadline.
7. The Process
Asking the agency for an action-plan could really be the start of yet another test that they need to be put through. The processes vary from one company to another. Some have stringent steps while others have a more flexible module. They key is to know the process itself, how it will be implemented and the impact it will have on the overall project.
8. Budget Information, Cost Comparison and Deadline
Asking for the cost information before hand is a wise move. Many companies might hesitate in doing so but if this can be inquired, it can really help in the cost comparison later. A sign of a potential Web partner also includes that the team will be able to work around the budget information provided by the client. A set deadline alongside the budget and right before the project begins is essential before any commitment takes place. If an agency can work with the provided parameters, there could be nothing better than this, provided the budget and deadline are realistic.
Deciding on a Web design agency that fits the set criteria can really be critical but not too critical if the right areas and questions are explored. Selection process may take some time but it will be worth it in times to come.
About the Author:
The blog has been penned by Saher Naseem (@SaherNaseemD), a creative writer, blogger and a social media addict. She is currently working as a brand strategist and content crafter at Dubai Monsters, a Web design agency.