Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Web Design Agency
BY ITW Consulting
ITW Consulting Corp
What are your web design project requirements?
Before you start looking for a local web design agency or freelancer, you need to know what you need. The size and complexity of your project can impact who you work with.
If you are looking for a large redesign or to build a new website from scratch, then you will need custom work and tech integrations. This information will influence who you work with. For example, if your project includes e-commerce, social media integration, email integrations, custom forms, geolocation content filtering, and custom layouts, then tell this to the people you approach for help.
Freelancers and agencies have different skills. You can hire an agency to do complex work, or you can hire a freelancer to do simple work. It is easier for your team to partner with an agency if you want someone to manage all the web design and development pieces.
How much time do you have to work on the project?
The timeline is very important, but it is also important to make sure that your team is available to work with the agency or contractors you choose. Communications, reviews, approvals, content gathering, and meetings are all typical parts of web design and development processes. How much time your internal team has to work on these aspects will impact your partnership.
You will need to use a web design agency to help with the project management. This will reduce the amount of time you need to spend on the project. However, freelance web developers and designers may require more input from you at each stage of the project. If you are outsourcing both the design and development phases, it is important that you have enough time available for communication between all parties involved. The more experience an agency or contractor has, the smoother the process should be.
Where are both teams located?
Location is really important when you are looking for a web design partner. If everyone is in different time zones, it will be hard to communicate with them. And it can be hard to work with people who are not available during your business hours.
If you want to have work done on your property outside of regular business hours, it’s important to find a city that is on the same time zone as you. That way, you can be available to review the work and answer any questions during your own working hours.
What is their web design process?
Having a process in place can help make sure that your work is done on time and to the right standards. You should ask anyone you work with about their process, and get timelines for major deliverables so you know when to expect them. Having a good process can save time and lead to better results. Not having a process can lead to delays and frustration.
Which web design and development services are included?
If you are doing a refresh, a full re-design, or building a new site, it is important to know which services are included in your partnership.
Do you need to hire a freelance developer who is also an experienced designer? Or do you need to outsource design as well? Can you contract a designer and developer who have worked together before? This will help to streamline the process and communication.
What skills do they have? What can they do for you? Web design agencies can offer many services like UI and UX design, SEO, and content strategy. If you want all of those services, it might be easier to partner with an agency instead of finding a freelance worker who is good at everything.
What is the cost, and what’s your budget?
When hiring a web design agency or freelancers, remember to consider both the cost and the value. The cost is what you pay upfront, while the value is what you get in return.
- How much are you able to spend?
- Will you be billed at an hourly, or is there a set budget?
- Is there a cap on hours, or does the contract cover unexpected delays, unsatisfactory work, and other hitches in the process?
- Which metrics will you use to gauge the value in leads or sales driven by the new website?
If you are on a small budget, you might want to think about creating your own website. There are many ways to do this. You can use a website builder like Squarespace, or WordPress which are both free. Or you could use a fully managed solution that is designed, hosted and maintained for a low monthly price (Anvil is one of these options). Another option would be to find a contractor from another country who can help you with your project. But remember that other things like project time, team location and availability for ongoing maintenance still need to fit your needs.
If you partner with an agency, you should still check what services are included in the price. Will they work with you on ongoing maintenance and support? This is important because your website is like a living being. It needs attention after it’s launched as much as it did during the design and build stages.
Who are the personalities?
This is a working relationship. It can last from a few weeks to several months. So it needs to be good. Who on your team will be involved in the communications and meetings? Can you get all of the key players together in an initial video call to put faces to names and test the waters?
It’s important for the points of contact on both sides to have a good rapport, so that the project can move forward as planned. A mutual respect and understanding will help to steer the boat, especially in case of anything unexpected that might come up.
Their previous work: case studies
You should always look through a potential web design partner’s work. This includes looking at their referrals and the work they have done online. There are some things you should look for when reviewing their work:
- Number of projects
- Scale of projects
- Services & capabilities