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What to Look for When Hiring a Web Design Agency

Save time and use your budget wisely by asking yourself these five questions.

So you know you need a web design agency but not sure how to choose a partner? We get it. You want to find an agency who can knock it out of the park and shoot-you-straight when it comes to cost and features. We feel you. There’s a lot that goes into making a quality website that’s right for you. Below, we’ve assembled top questions we recommend you ask when vetting a web agency.

Let’s start with the most important thing of all…gauging if the partnership is a fit.

1. Is the web-agency goal-oriented?

This should go without saying. But, it’s particularly important when choosing a web design agency. Has the agency asked about your goals for the website? Do they seem like they care about what you do? This can help you determine if the agency is strategic. That is, it will help you figure out if they will be on the same team, making informed decisions as they move along. Some agencies use the same templates for every client, and if it’s not right for your goals, they might not know to alter it or suggest changes if they don’t know your goals in the first place.

2. Do you trust them?

Trusting them, of course, is crucial. But, beyond establishing basic trust, does the agency seem organized? Are they responsive? Building and updating websites requires a lot of attention to detail—from design to copy to functionality to development. At certain stages of building a website, particularly launch, having a responsive, well-organized team is crucial to success. Trust your gut. There are great web design agencies out there, and it’s worth the time to find one you trust.

3. Do they tell you their specific expertise or say “they can do everything”?

Full stack is full of confusion. It’s rare a web design agency can do absolutely everything well. Ask what each agency’s specialty is. It can be helpful to make a list before you start your search. Write down your top 2-3 goals for the website. If you already have a website, make a list of what’s working for you with the current site and what you’d like to improve or build upon. Let each agency know your goals and ask if those fit with their expertise. Some agencies specialize more in design-forward sites, SEO and analytics, or e-commerce. Also, it’s good to ask which aspects, if/any, of the website will be done out-of-house? It’s not a bad thing for agencies to outsource. But, it can give you an idea of what the agency specializes in.

4. Do you like the websites they’ve built in the past?

Again, this may seem obvious, but it bears emphasizing. Look at some of the websites the agency has built before. Click around. Make a note of features that you might want included in your site. Is there an animation you love? Are there elements users can interact with? While you shouldn’t limit your perception of their expertise to what you’ve seen them do in the past, it can be a helpful indicator of the fit between your needs and their talents. 

Also, pay attention to the usability of their sites. Does the website communicate what the client does clearly? Is it intuitive to use or is it just pretty with fancy tricks? At Four Fin, we’re not fans of jumping on the bandwagon for every new web feature. Our goal is to help you tell a compelling story through a website that is fun and easy to navigate using technology that will stay classy for 3-5 years. Story is more important than bells and whistles. Is your message coming through? When people see your website, will it inspire them to act?

5. How does the web design agency talk about adding content to the website after they build it?

This is a great question to ask upfront. Do they encourage you to go to other professionals to make updates or are they empowering you to own the upkeep? Asking this question can help you find out about additional costs. It can also help guide the conversation about what platform you are building or updating your site on. There are many ways to build a website, but we are big fans of WordPress. It’s easy for developers to work with and intuitive on the user-side. That makes it easy on whoever updates your site regularly. Also, it’s widely used and updated regularly.

A sustainable branding company

As a sustainable brand and web design agency, we help companies who are making a positive impact on the planet tell their stories. Our mission is to amplify the impact sustainable companies have on the health of our planet by growing inspiring brands, strong businesses and bold leaders. For these world-saving companies, it’s crucial that their solutions can be understood and trusted by investors, future employees, and the wider world. Beyond clarity, it’s important to move hearts and minds. We love to support companies and watch them succeed for all of our benefit. 

If you’d like to pick our brains on marketing strategy, join us at Office Hours, casual consultations with brand experts for free. 

Deep dive

We care deeply about sustainability branding, graphic design, industry trends, company culture, and more. Dive into the minds of our team on the Four Fin blog, The Deep End.

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