Taking the time to search for and vet a professional web designer can seem like a daunting task—even greater than perhaps finding yourself an easy website platform and putting the thing together yourself. Small and medium businesses often have a host of reasons for not wanting to seek out a web design agency. In our decades of designing and developing websites, we’ve pretty much heard them all. We also know that these objections will likely only lead to one thing: a website presence that doesn’t fully leverage the power of the internet.
Here are some of the common objections to hiring a digital marketing agency, and why you should totally ignore them.
Objection 1. I don’t need a whole agency.
The typical perception of a web designer is that of a lone wolf sitting in front of a multitude of screens and writing code. Many businesses don’t understand why they shouldn’t just hire that guy. After all, he will be cheaper than contracting an entire company. And that guy has a sweet portfolio and a list of clients you can call for references. Freelancers appear to be a pretty good deal, and sometimes they are.
Truth 1. Hiring a lone web designer will get you a website. And ONLY a website.
The typical freelancer will design you a nice website—and nothing more. With a website design agency, you will have design, development and SEO specialists working together to make sure you have a beautiful and functional website that is also properly built to reach your target audience on the web.
Having a nice website won’t mean a thing if customers can’t find it or use it easily. Keyword research, on-page optimization, social media leveraging: all of this is now part of a strategic package when you hire an experienced web design and marketing agency.
Objection 2. I don’t have time to research companies.
Yes, it does take some time to find the right agency for you. You have to Google companies, and you have to read reviews. Then you have to interview and ask for proposals, which you’ll have to read.
Truth 2. Investing that time will yield great returns.
Your website is critical to the success of your company. You should take the time to find an agency that can help you achieve your business goals. The amount of time you spend now is minimal compared to the years your website will be live on the internet.
Objection 3. I don’t know enough about websites to hire someone.
If you don’t know your landing page from your backend, you might feel timid engaging in a conversation with professional web designers. We get that.
Truth 3. You don’t need to know anything.
That’s the whole point of finding a quality web design agency. They bring the knowledge you don’t have to your digital marketing efforts. The questions you ask don’t need to be technical. Your goal is to ensure the company you’re hiring is reputable and that you can develop a positive working relationship with their point people.
Now it’s time to hire. But how?
Check out our “Hire A Web Design Agency” Checklist
Now that you’re considering working with a professional web design company, here are some tips for finding and contracting the right agency. We’ve even created a list to help you in your search.
1. Research local companies.
Do a Google search. Ask other companies whose websites you admire for their agency, and network on LinkedIn. The first step is to put a list together of about a dozen companies you would like to research further. This is your starting point.
2. Go to their websites.
Take the companies on your list and really browse their websites. Learn about the principals and their processes. Eliminate companies with websites that don’t function properly or are led by folks who don’t seem reputable or experienced. Things to consider:
- Is the company website easy to navigate?
- Do they have staff members who specialize in design, development and SEO?
- Do they have testimonials from clients and/or case studies of their successes?
3. Study their portfolio.
A good web design company will have a vast portfolio of projects with descriptions of the work they did. Look at all the different websites the company has created, and then ask yourself these questions:
- Do they all look the same?
- Does the design of a site fit its industry?
- Do you like any of them?
Here’s where you cross out companies whose portfolio does not match your company’s needs or looks too cookie cutter.
4. Check their clients’ websites.
Google their clients and see how their websites function across various platforms.
- Do they work well on desktops and mobile?
- On what page of Google searches do they tend to show up?
5. Contact the top three for a proposal.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your list, contact the top three agencies and set up a time for an initial meeting. During this meeting, you’ll describe your needs and expectations to them. They’ll in turn ask you questions about the services you would like them to deliver and make suggestions. Then they will put together a proposal. Set a timeline for the proposal and when you expect to award the job. This will help keep your website development moving along.
Things you want to determine:
- Do you feel comfortable working with this company?
- Do they answer your questions to your satisfaction?
- Do they appear interested in helping you and your business?
6. Review the proposals.
Don’t just look at the cost. Be sure to compare deliverables.
- What will each company create for you?
- What website platform will they use?
- What added value services will they provide to help further your business?
- How long will it take them to develop your site?
- Will they host and maintain your site for you?
- Will they train you to make simple website changes yourself?
If you have questions about the proposal, set up a meeting to review it.
7. Award that job.
Lastly, hire the company that prepared the best proposal for achieving your business goals. Make sure you both agree to what will be delivered and by when.