11 Things to Expect From A Web Design Agency

Akash Shakya By Akash Shakya April 4th 2022

Over 5 billion people use the Internet in 2022. This number is expected to grow as more people gain access to technology, and younger generations achieve digital literacy.

There are thousands of website designs out there. Creative designs that inspire action and communicate brand values are a dime a dozen. That’s what you’re competing against in today’s day and age. 

With the advent of the Internet, a strong website is a difference between success and irrelevancy. That’s why the services of a web design agency are so important. 

When you partner with a web design agency, you can take your business to the next level. We’ve assembled a guide of 11 tips for what you should expect from quality website design services. Let’s get started!

1. Do They Come Prepared?

Think of a web design agency as a new hire. They need to absorb lots of information about your brand in very little time. A web design agency needs to serve as an extension of your brand.

It takes extensive discovery sessions to accomplish this task. Any agency that walks in and expects to ‘wing it’ successfully sets you up for failure. 

Pay attention to how prepared they are. Does your agency have website design examples? What about a questionnaire?

There are so many questions that should be covered in discovery sessions. In fact, many agencies set up multiple discovery sessions to absorb as much knowledge as possible. 

Here’s what you should look for. Are they asking how you envision the website? If you’re hiring a web design agency, you might not have the expertise necessary to conceptualise a full site. 

Share Your Vision

However, you likely have ideas of what you want to see. Perhaps you have examples of other sites you like or certain tweaks you’d like made on the pre-existing site. 

A good web design agency will give you lots of space to communicate your vision. Then, they’ll implement what they can. Pay attention to how they receive their requests. 

If they push back on everything, they might not be the right option for you. But if they blindly implement all your requests, they aren’t looking out for your best interests. It’s important for a web design agency to leverage its expertise and push back when necessary.

They should also gather information about:

  • Specific pages that should be included 
  • Aspects of website functionality that are important to you 
  • Basic company information 

All of this information matters.

2. Do They Become Product Experts?

It’s also important for the web design agency to become secondhand experts on your products and services. Providing full access to the following is crucial:

  • Product manuals
  • Product descriptions 
  • Brand briefings
  • Style guides
  • Messaging frameworks
  • Buyer personas
  • Ideal customer profiles

All of this information will help define the end product for the website design agency. 

It’s also important to define who is responsible for SEO, website content, and so forth. These items often work hand in hand with website design. It will also improve website performance in the long run, too. 

3. Communication

Strong communication should be a given from a website design agency. With websites, it’s crucial to iterate and pivot at a moment’s notice.

It’s expected to go through multiple drafts when creating an entire website design. You’ll have wireframes and content drafts to review, design drafts, and lots of revisions to keep track of. 

What system is your website design agency using to track these things? Keep an eye on the level of communication they provide. 

If they don’t present drafts until deep into the process, you’ll waste a lot of time and money backtracking. This will frustrate everyone involved. Make sure they have an approval process nailed down, and that they use the appropriate tools to keep track of different versions and drafts.

4. What Does Their Portfolio Look Like?

Any sort of quality web design agency will have a portfolio. Some agencies are new and may not have a strong client roster yet. However, each designer should still have a portfolio of past work. 

Sometimes, this work will be sites they created during their education. At other times, these sites will represent actual client work. 

Take a close look at these portfolio examples. Are they well done? Do they match the overall look and feel they want your site to have?

5. Do They Share Reviews or Testimonials?

Ask for contact details for these clients, too. This will give you an opportunity to hear the story behind the creation of the website.

Maybe the site looks gorgeous in a portfolio but isn’t actually functional on the backend. Or, maybe the design agency refused to fix any issues that cropped up after the contract technically expired. 

Some agencies won’t give you contact details for their clients. Sometimes, this is a privacy or confidentiality issue. If that’s the case, ask for access to their testimonials and reviews. 

People spend lots of money on web design agencies. When service is good or bad, they are sure to let the entire Internet know about it in the form of a review. Pay close attention to what these reviews are actually saying!

6. What Do They Actually Offer?

There are lots of high-quality web design agencies out there. However, it’s important to check and see if their services meet your needs. 

Some web design agencies offer just that: web design. That might work, especially if you have a dedicated content marketing team that can write web content, conduct SEO optimisation, and so forth. 

However, you might want a holistic service that covers all necessary website services. If that’s the case, make sure they have SEO experts on deck. 

Think of it this way. One of the main reasons to hire a web design agency is to bring traffic to your site. If you ignore search engine optimisation, you’re putting in all that work for nothing!

7. What Are Their Values?

When looking at website design and development options, it’s important to assess what they value. Consider how your brand values dictate your company’s actions. 

Some companies value transparency and bringing your whole self to work. Others value the customer above all else. If you’re clear on your brand values, the people you work with should be too. 

Consider the values your web design agency holds. Do they align with you?

If they don’t, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad web design agency. It just means they’re a bad fit for you. 

Think of it this way. Say that an agency prioritises speed. Their work might not be as good as someone else’s, but their turnaround speed can’t be beaten. 

That might work for you. But if you prioritise putting the customer’s needs above all else, quality is more important than speed. This disconnect could lead to wasted time, money, and resources. 

8. Warranty Offers 

If someone is offering website design services, they should believe in their work. That’s why it’s important to investigate what their warranty looks like. 

Think of it this way. Say that an eCommerce web design agency does great work for you. Then, they pass the website off to you. 

What happens then? As you start to use your new site, it’s possible that things will break. You might need functionalities that you didn’t consider at the start of this process. 

You don’t want to have to rehire a new agency. This could lead to worse problems, especially if they aren’t the ones who created the site in the first place. 

Make sure that your web design agency is willing to back up its work. This may mean offering one-off support, or extending your contract if necessary.

9. What Does Their Contract Look Like?

Transparency is everything when hiring someone to do work for you. It’s important to make sure that both parties are well-informed and willing to abide by the terms laid out.

These days, though, you’ll need more than a firm handshake to rely on. Take a close look at the contract they are offering you. It’s important for lawyers on both sides to review the terms and conditions before you commit. 

This can save lots of headaches later. Before they start work, a web design agency should offer you a contract. Take the time to read it and note any areas of concern. 

Then, have your lawyer read it. All pertinent details should be contained in this contract. In other words, don’t make assumptions because that’s ‘just common sense’ or ‘we talked about that over the phone.’ If it doesn’t appear in the contract, it doesn’t exist. 

Check to see what terms are in place to cover refunds, payments, and so forth. What options do you have if the site isn’t made to your specifications?

You should also agree on deliverables and revision rounds. If a design agency thinks they’re just making wireframes, and you’re expecting a fully functional website, both of you will be dissatisfied. 

Limiting the revision process is also a good idea. This will push the project toward completion and allow you to give all your feedback in two or three rounds.  

10. What Happens When They’re Done?

As we mentioned above, a warranty is important. That way, you aren’t stuck trying to make fixes for a site you didn’t even create.

However, website maintenance is an important topic that often gets overlooked. The point isn’t fixing errors. Instead, it’s maintaining and iterating on a site throughout its entire life. 

Some website design agencies are project-based. Once they complete a project, they hand it off to you. Others will provide maintenance services for as long as you pay their retainer. 

Consider what your long-term plan is for this site. Even if your site is beautifully SEO-optimised at the beginning, it still needs to be updated.

11. What Is Their Budget?

Most third-party services cost more than you bargained for. At first, your reaction may be incredulous. It’s important to adjust your expectations, long before you engage with a web design agency!

Three thousand dollars is a lot of money for most people. Depending on where you live, that’s several months of rent! 

When it comes to marketing or website design and development, three thousand dollars is a drop in the proverbial bucket. It costs a lot of money to compensate designers for their experience, years of education, and time spent working on your project!

Take the time to shop around and compare rates. Remember the old proverb: you get what you pay for. 

Go with the web design agency that has the experience to back up the rates they’re charging. Transparency can’t be overrated either. 

Many high-quality web design agencies will provide weekly budget updates. This will communicate which professionals are billing at which rates, the hours they’re using, and what they’re doing with those hours. 

It will also help you track projected spend vs. actual spending. This will prevent any nasty surprises once the project is completed. If a company is transparent, it’s clear that they’re confident in their employees, the rates they’re billing, and the value they provide. 

That’s a solid green flag in the graphic design industry. Remember to do your homework and listen to your gut!

Working With A Web Design Agency

When working with a web design agency, pay attention to how they communicate with you, what they offer you, and what past clients say. All of these factors add up to tell a story of what it will be like to work with them. 

Remember that you’re putting your brand into their hands. Don’t take that decision lightly! Instead, do your homework and partner with the professionals that feel right for you.

That’s why we offer solutions that meet your needs. If you’re looking for top-notch digital solutions that enhance your digital presence, we’ve got you covered. 

If you’re interested in taking your business to the next level, contact us today! We can help you out!

Akash Shakya By Akash Shakya

Coming from distributed computing background, Akash manages the Sydney operations. He is highly technical yet very business focused and is always driven to create successful business products for our clients.

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