You recognize that in order to succeed in a competitive market you need to have the best brand experience for your customers. With the great waves of marketing change over the past few years the social and mobile web has given the consumer the power to choose on many different platforms. This leaves you with the task of finding the right agency to deliver your company’s message to your potential customers in the most efficient and effective way possible.

We’ve put together a checklist to help you make the right decision when choosing an web design agency.

Step 1 – What’s the End Goal?

The first step is to work out what you want to achieve online. You need to consider carefully your aim, your goals and how you are going to measure success.

For example, if your website is mainly e-commerce your attention is going to be on return-on-investment (ROI), conversion of sales, and building and maintaining your client base.

If you are launching a new company and you need brand awareness, you will simply be providing information and education about your services or products. So in this case, good visibility and a clear focus is essential.

When you know what you need to accomplish your goals, you will be able to see if an agency fits the bill.

What to do? Ask the agency you’re interested in to provide solid proof of their capabilities. They should be showing you case studies or examples of how they have approached a problem and how they have provided a solution. Professional digital agency are always process driven and take you through a range of Steps to achieve your goals.

Step 2 – Know your cost vs. value

It’s usually the elephant in the room. Cost is definitely a deal maker or deal breaker when it comes to hiring an agency.

As with everything else you purchase, the phrase “you get what you pay for” rings true in the world of web design and development. If you begin to cut costs solely for saving a dollar now, you may not reap as much value in the long-term when it comes to delivering the results you planned for in step one.

So how can you justify the costs of your project? It’s simple maths really. This is where you as a business owner will need to stops and do some research. What have you spent in the last year on your marketing and advertising? The past three years? How have those efforts brought a return on your investment?

What to do? Ask your agency if they can provide clear evidence of the value delivered work through tangible results. Remember it’s about value, not cost. If the agency can provide a website or service that brings ROI, then cost isn’t a deal breaker. Don’t let slick one service agencies blind you from your goals in step one, if you do your research you may find that you’ve been spending money elsewhere without results for quite some time.

Step 3 – Identify a solid track record

This is not necessarily how long an agency has been in business. In fact, a lot of new agencies have some stellar ideas and new methodologies to consider. The point here is how much the agency understands you and your company requirements. Good agencies will always do their homework to get a pin sharp understanding of your industry and have an effective presentation that will deliver a strong solution to their clients?

What to do? Ask the agency for some performance data, client testimonials and a case study or two demonstrating their approach and how they measure results.

Step 4 – Communicate and learn

The forever-changing web makes it a highly complex and technically challenging monster even for us who are living and breathing it every day. So it is highly important that you understand what your web agency is talking about and doing.

When you enter into a discussion with them, they should be on your side, working hard to explain what they do, how they do it and most importantly why they are doing it. If you are ever confused or lost by any part of the discussion, it’s not your fault… it’s theirs.

What to do? Ask the agency questions about their process, their methodologies and why they are making certain recommendations or decisions. If you don’t understand a component of the web project, ask. Yes, it is up to you to do your own research, but you should never feel like you’re out of the loop about your investment.

Step 5 – Recognize content is your problem

You no doubt have come up with your own reasons for either a makeover or a re-launch of a new site. Most often, the first thing that comes to mind is how your website looks and functions. These are of course important factors, but the most important factor that is most likely overlooked is your content.

If your agency tackles art before content, you’re in the wrong place working with the wrong people. They are simply putting lipstick on a pig.

Your agency needs to dig deep, they need to be asking the right questions about your customers, your business and your industry. If they are not, red flags should be going up and you should be headed for the door.

Even though this is step five, it is honestly the most important aspect to consider when choosing an agency. The agency needs to know the importance of content first. Whether they create the content or receive from a copywriter, they are building the framework that is housing your content. They need to understand how your users will interact with the content and how you specifically will manage the content in the future. This ensures that your website is delivering your message and maintains its quality for years to come.

What to do? Use your content to help your customers. Content is everything from your written copy to your images and videos and more. Your web agency should be talking content before art. If anything, they should be in touch with your marketing team or copywriters if they are not creating the content themselves.

Step 6 – Know what you want to achieve, be realistic

Invest some time and thought into your goals and expectations from your agency. Define what it is in six months or a year’s time that will reassure you that your money was well spent.

Think beyond “first on Google” or “getting more traffic”.

What are some goals you can reach?

  • Generate more leads
  • Increase online sales
  • Improve product or brand awareness
  • Be “in touch” with your customer base

What to do? Ask your web agency what tools and services they provide to drive measurable traffic to your site. Your agency should understand your sales process so that they can provide a solution to making your process more efficient and provide real value through the new website.

Step 7 – Know your strategy

A good web agency should be offering you a clear and concise online strategy. This goes beyond your website.  A good strategy will give your business a strong sense of authority, relevance and trust. When you’ve got a solid plan, your able to measure. When you measure you’re able to make good decisions based on real data. This results in converting your site visitors into paying customers.

What to do? Ask your agency to explain their approach in great detail. Make sure the strategy is able to reach your goals in step one. The approach should outline that you will reach your deadline and stay within budget.

Step 8 – Maintain the quality of your investment

After launch of your new site, a good agency will maintain a healthy relationship with you. Depending on how involved you are with the maintenance and publishing of content, a good agency will assist you in your analytic reporting and ensure that your website is helping you reach your goals.

What to do? Ask your web agency to about their existing ongoing relationships. How are they assisting other clients? Do they have ongoing maintenance or service plans on a monthly or quarterly basis that you can sign up for?

Ready to discuss your next project? Contact us today on or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and find out how we at WebOracle measure up to our list above.

Over the coming weeks we will be breaking down each of these steps in further detail. We’ll show you how you can plan each step effectively and get yourself a end product that will achieve your goals.

 

Training

It’s important that your provider is supporting your online platform through hosting and maintenance. They should also inform you on ways to manage your online platform and develop strategies to help you make future changes on your own. Training is a great way to provide your client with a knowledge base and development opportunities. It’s important that your provider addresses you on the training that you will be provided with, and the various methods that will be used to help grow and develop your business online. Ongoing training is important, it demonstrates a level of consistency and allows you to identify the weaknesses and strengths in your business. You’re also able to be more productive, increase engagement and make more effective decisions. It also allows your business to be ore adaptable to changes in circumstances. A great digital agency should provide you with solutions that help you make strong effective choices and generate success.

API and plug-in integration

An application-programming interface is classified as a set of functions that allow the creation of applications, which access the features, or data of an operating system, applications or other service. Many people use API and plug-in integration for a number of reasons, and the implementation of these systems can be very effective. Most digital agencies should be including these services in their media offerings as they help to facilitate a numerous amount of different services and allow for flexibility with the business’s digital platform and operating system. API’s are classified as one of the most commonly used ways of allowing companies to integrate with each other. They contribute to a business ecosystem and programming language that supports many of the digital platforms on which businesses are built and created. 

Content Generation

Creating and developing content is necessary for any company. The quality of a website’s content is what’s responsible for delivering the core messages of the business to the customers. So it’s very easy to assume that the content on any given website is primarily responsible for its success. Being able to generate content though is the real challenge. It’s important to research the market and identify any patterns or similarities you notice with websites or businesses similar to your own. It’s also crucial that you develop creative strategies to come up with content that is different or superior in some way.

Making sure your website is clear and rich in relative content will help to effectively deliver the right messages to your target audience with power and persuasion. The main focus of your website’s content is to intrigue buyers, so incorporating keywords, phrases, titles and descriptions is also very important. Taking these steps will help retain visitors and improve SEO results as well as many other factors. Many digital agencies such as our own, help to generate content for your website and make it easy for you to grow and develop a dynamic and successful online digital platform.

Custom Solutions

It’s imperative that as a business you understand and recognise that every client is different, so it’s important that they feel valued and understood. Providing custom solutions for their needs and desires is fundamental in making their business unique and competitive in a growing market. The development, integration and implementation of customised solutions, enable businesses to flourish. Solutions that target real problems create change and modify people’s perspective. A customised approach enables a designer to listen, negotiate and create, something unique and special for their clients.

App Development

Mobile applications are playing an increasingly important role in the business world. They are convenient and enable users to access information easily and efficiently. Most mobile applications are a refined replicate of a business’s core services. Most people in today’s world spend more time on their mobile devices than they do on any other form of media, this is why they are so important to consider when developing a business. Applications are a user-friendly way to provide your customers with the products and services your company provides. It is a great way to communicate with buyers and should definitely be considered for any business trying to create an inviting digital landscape.

A well-designed app can have many other benefits. It can save business’s time and money, increase customers satisfaction and sales and give you an edge over your competitors. At the end of the day developing an app is a delicate process and must be filtered through the same process as building a website. Design and interaction are important elements that will affect the quality of the user’s experience. It’s important that this is carefully thought through as a poorly designed app can lead to bad reviews and effect the reputation of the business.

Web based Design

Like any website, having a credible and creative design is critical to any business’s success. A well built website enables a better user experience and a higher conversion rate that leads to the generation of new business.

A strong and well built website design can help with a varying number of factors when it comes to setting up a new business, so its crucial that a design strategy is considered. First and foremost the aesthetic look of the website needs to be inviting, with the design directing the user to the most important aspects. Also a professional and contemporary layout will create trust and guide users to explore the site and purchase any products or services that the business provides.

The website design must also be simple and clearly defined in a logical and easy to follow way, making sure every image and piece of content is placed with purpose. This is vital, as capturing the user’s attention from the beginning will generate trust and confidence. If all the elements of the web design are considered it will come together. Not only this, but a good web design means increased traffic, sales and revenue for the business.

User Experience Design

Every business must provide a good customer experience, so creating a website that is user friendly is of utmost importance. Creating a website design that is simple and easy to navigate is a better solution then a design where users get confused or overwhelmed. Therefore, every website design should have the necessary features it needs to prevent this from happening. Navigation must be clear, easy to manage and enjoyable. Content should be easy to read, links nice and visible and a design that is user friendly and responsive across all devices.

Due to the large volume of websites out there, it’s imperative that your website design provides its user with an enjoyable experience. If this is done properly, you as the business owner will benefit significantly. A pleasant user experience means happy satisfied customers. This means customers are more likely to remain on your website for longer periods of time and in many cases purchase some of the products or services your business provides. A strong well-refined user experience design should always be considered when a website is built.