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7 Key Questions when Choosing a Website Design Agency
Posted by James O'Connell on
Choosing the right website design agency for your organisation’s web design project is a very important decision. As an organisation, to succeed in a competitive market you need to provide the best brand experience for your customers and website users.
Marketing has changed greatly over recent years, and social media and mobile web has given the consumer the power to engage with a brand on platforms of their choice. This leaves you and your organisation with the difficult decision of finding the right web design agency to deliver your message to potential customers in the most efficient and compelling possible ways.
To help you to make the right choice when choosing the a web design agency, we have compiled the following 7 key questions you should ask before you begin work on your website design project.
1). “We have outlined our requirements specification, but are you able to carry out a full business analysis of our needs, understanding all the information flows and our users requirements?”
Building a website is often more complicated than you may have expected. Even if you think that you have written a succinct outline of your requirement specifications you still need to ask your web design agency to carry out a business analysis. There are many technical issues that need to be covered by a web design solution that may not be obvious without technical expertise. Professional-quality websites are becoming more complicated to create and it takes a lot of technical know-how to tailor a website to fulfil an organisation’s needs.For this reason your organisation will need a web design agency who are able to intuitively sense all of your business requirements and piece them together in a website solution.
2). “Can you offer a fully customised solution, built from the ground up to satisfy our business requirements, or do you normally use a standard ‘off the peg’ content management system?”
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an “off the peg” solution will work for you and your organisation. In some cases a pre-built “off the peg” solution may cover some of your business needs, matching your crucial more intricate requirements will be much harder if you chose a general package like Wordpress; while any updates and changes you need to make later will be far more complicated. You may end up having to compromise your needs to make it fit the ‘one size fits all’ solution. To get a website which is as unique as your organisation, you want a website design agency who are able to deliver a fully customised solution.
3). Are you specialists in designing and building bespoke website solutions?
You need to ensure that your website developers are specialists in their field; people you can trust to deliver a solution that really works for you and your organisation, down to the smallest details.In some cases agencies may outsource some of the critical technical work, which can lead to issues in the longer term. Ask your agency about their backgrounds in the industry, and for recent examples of similar successful projects for clients. And of course check our their work for yourself; are their websites the kind of thing you want for your organisation?
4). Will you be using an affordable Open Source framework to build your site?
Of course, you want your web design solution to be affordable but what you may not have known is that Open Source solutions are a big factor in cost. The licensing fees for proprietary systems can consume a significant part of your budget, and these have to be paid every year. On the other hand, Open Source software is by and large free from software licence fees and is continually changing and developing. This allows your organisation’s website to naturally develop in line with industry trends in the coming years, and be fully modified and adapted to your business requirements.
5). Can I speak to 2 or 3 of your current clients who have had custom sites built?
It is all very well for your website developers to tell you that they are experts, but a whole other thing for that to be properly delivered. That is why talking to previous clients is so important; it will give you an insight and a trust in your website developer that talking to them directly never can. And while this is partly about just ensuring that they can actually deliver on what they promise, it’s also about ensuring that they will work well with you. They may be fantastic at what they do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will gel with your organisation. Talking to their current clients is a great way to get a better sense of what working with them is actually like, and whether they are likely to be a good fit for your organisation.
6). How will you ensure the security of our website, our users and their data?
Too often we just assume that our online data is secure, that the ISP will just take of it. But the Internet is not always the safest place, and unless your website developer hosts their servers in the right place, and follows the correct procedures, they cannot ensure the security of your data. So if you value your data, and your users data, make sure you ask this question now and not after a potentially serious data security problem.
7). Will you have an in-house lead developer working on the project? Will I be able to have his or her email address and direct line, or will I need to contact a manager or customer service rep for support once the website is live?
Too often you’ll find yourself in a situation where you have no clear point person, and end up going via a call centre when you need anything. Make sure you have a direct line to the team who are developing your site for when the time comes that you need support.
As you can see, there are many considerations to take on board when choosing the right web design agency for your organisation. While these 7 questions will certainly help you to make that choice, there are certainly many more points that you will need to consider.