This is the article other web design agencies don’t want you to read.
Sadly, some agencies still think it’s clever to use jargon to impress their prospects, aren’t transparent about cost and just generally overcomplicate what should be a simple and enjoyable process.
But here we’ll lay it all out.
We want to demystify the process of hiring the right web design agency for your project and that starts with the mistakes we see smart people make all too often.
We’ve also prepared a website planner for you to download and take away. Taken right from Creative Tweed’s desk, this is the same planner we use when we’re working on our own projects.
It will provide you with clarity, focus and allow you to map out exactly what you want from your new website.
But first, let’s jump right in with the mistakes you want to avoid
Mistake #1 Not knowing what you want
It may sound silly but it’s a good idea to have know why you want a website in the first place.
What is its purpose?
To sell your products/services online? Capture more targeted business leads? Showcase your business offering? Stand out in a crowded market place?
Your website goals should ideally be inline with those of your business.
You also want to be clear on who your audience is and why they would visit your website.
Your time is valuable. Knowing your objectives will allow you to be super focused when finding your ideal agency partner.
Make sure you’ve done a bit of research yourself. Have a look at other websites you like and make a list.
Consider aesthetics, function and usability.
Note their address and what you like about each of them.
Mistake #2 Hiring a ‘designer’ to build your website
Let us be clear, of course you want your website to look amazing but your website has to do a lot more than just look pretty, it has real work to do.
That’s why you need to make sure the web design agency you speak to are also expert digital marketers.
You do want a design agency that is going to do strategy.
Strategic website design is considered.
It places your objectives right at the heart of the design process.
Everything is crafted with purpose.
Does that mean it can’t look good? Absolutely not.
In fact, when it’s done correctly, you get the best of both – a stunning website that gets your audience to take massive action.
Conversion strategy is the process of taking a site visitor and turning them into a paying customer. Make sure the agency you talk to covers this in your first discovery call as its fundamental to your website’s development and success.
Mistake #3 Going with the cheapest option
There is always the temptation to go with the cheapest option you find.
We get it. You’re in business and you need to be smart with your investments.
But the cheapest option isn’t often the best option.
Sure, the DIY methods with services such as Squarespace and Wix may seem like a good money saver, however, going down this path puts immediate limitations on your project. The first one being templates.
Yes, they both have large libraries to choose from and they do offer some customisation options but at the end of the day, everyone is still working from the same building blocks.
This means your site won’t look to different from your competitors.
Spiralling costs can also be a concern. A lot of these DIY options have “add-ons” which require you to purchase a subscription.
So if you need to connect your site to email marketing software, like MailChimp, add an events calendar or include your Instagram feed be prepared to pay more.
Then there is your brand.
A web design agency will listen to your vision for your business and translate that into a design that is truly unique, reflective of your personality and showcases your USPs.
Don’t forget, your website is your most valuable marketing tool and it really is a good idea to seek help from a marketing expert if you want to start converting site visitors as soon as you launch. This is not an option with the DIY route.
Mistake #4 Going with the most expensive option
There can also be the temptation to go for the most expensive option.
You’re paying more so it must be the best right?
Wrong. You need to consider why it is costing more.
‘Big agencies’ will have larger business overheads to cover.
The other thing that you really need to consider here is the type of relationship you want to have with your website design agency, before and after the project.
Do you want to be an account number on an agency’s roster or do you want to work with a team who cares as much about your goals and overall outcome as much as you do?
Often, at large agencies, the people who give the sales pitch won’t be your design and marketing team once you’ve signed the contract.
At the end of the day, you need to decide what’s important to you.
Mistake #5 Not getting social proof
A lot of agencies make bold claims about their abilities.
The one thing you absolutely must do is check to see if they back up these claims with social proof.
Ask to see testimonials and case studies from their previous work.
Alarm bells should ring if these are not forthcoming.
We always recommend capturing video case studies where possible (and do the same ourselves).
That way there can be no concerns over the legitimacy of what is being said.
You should also check out the agency’s portfolio of work and social channels.
Do you like what you see? Have they delivered similar projects to your vision?
Mistake #6 Not having an initial meeting
Don’t make the decision about who you partner with off the back of a quote/proposal.
You’ll be spending a fair amount of time with the web design agency once the project starts so it’s essential to make sure it’s a good fit, for both of you.
The initial meeting or ‘discovery session’ is so important. It’s like a first date.
Both of you are trying to work out whether there’s going to be a second.
It’s your job to explain what it is you want to achieve.
And the agency should be asking the right questions in order to fully understand you, your business, vision and customers.
Whether it’s done over Zoom, on the phone or in person is not important, at the end of the meeting you want to feel like the agency gets you and is clear on your big business goals.
Mistake #7 Not getting a CMS
A CMS (or Content Management System) allows you to easily update and add new content on your website.
This includes new pages, articles, images, video, campaign landing pages…everything.
You might ask “why would someone not get a CMS? Surely, everyone would want control over updates once the website goes live.”
And this is a good point but we’ve seen it happen.
The problem when you don’t have a CMS that is easy to use, you’re constantly having to go back to the agency for updates. And this can get expensive. Especially if you’re adding new content on a frequent basis.
Mistake #8 Being impressed with jargon
Please, whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking “it sounds clever, so it must be good”.
It is an agency’s job to communicate effectively and help you understand, not bamboozle you with industry jargon and tired cliches.
Mistake #9 Held to ransom by expensive ongoing costs
It’s really important that you speak to your prospective agency about any ongoing costs that you might have to pay once the project launches.
Hosting, website care and support, content creation and SEO. These all have associated costs and kick in once your site launches.
These should be tailored to your business needs and should be completely transparent before you sign any contract and begin work.
One of the reasons we set up Creative Tweed was because we were tired of clients being confused by industry jargon and held to ransom by poor service, expensive ongoing costs and design and marketing that was not fit for purpose.
On top of that, we kept hearing stories where an agency’s relationship with their client would end the moment the project was complete.
You want to avoid this and the best way to do that is to have the conversion about your post launch ongoing agency relationship and website costs before you commit.
Make sure it works for you.
The only tool you need to plan your new website. Set yourself up for success and get clarity and focus on your new website project.
This is the same planner we use in our own agency to create detailed project plans that cover the key elements of a website build including:
- Setting your website goals
- Get crystal clear on your audience
- Identify the website marketing strategies that are right for your business
- Aesthetic, function and usability
- How to plan successful launch
If you do need a hand with anything we’ve touched on, we’d love to help.
After building hundreds we know what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t.
Contact us today for a no obligation strategy call. Even if we both decide it isn’t a good fit, we guarantee you will get great value from the session.