Do you want leads? Branding? Awareness? Sales?

The truth is: developing an effective website isn’t easy! It takes time, commitment, and a deep understanding of the results you would ultimately like to achieve.

With more and more website design and development agencies appearing every day in Sydney, now more than ever, it is important for entrepreneurs and businesses to carefully evaluate which agency has the right set of skills needed to build your website.

The team at Techwitty have prepared the following  questions for you to assist you in choosing a web design agency:

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like.Design is how it works.

Steve Jobs

1. What have they done?

The fastest way to know if someone can get the job done for you is by looking at their previous work.

A web design agency’s portfolio is your first opportunity to assess their capabilities. You can review the design and functions they utilised, the content they created, and if they captured the essence of the brand or business they built the website for.

To review their portfolios from the perspective of a maven, here are seven simple guides you can use:

  • Is their portfolio updated?
  • What is your first impression of their work?
  • Are these websites delivering the big picture at first glance?
  • Is it easy to navigate within their websites?
  • Are these websites leading you to their intended goal?
  • Do they have a variety of designs, or are these websites similar to each other?
  • And last but certainly not the least, are they the real creators of these websites?

The last one might have startled you, but it happens, specially in Australia. That’s why you need to ask yourself this next question.

2. What do their clients say about them?

Though they may show stunning websites in their portfolio, this may not give the whole story. Remember, looks can be deceiving. And to know if a website design company is genuine in terms of what it promises, who else better to ask than their clients.

Though some have written testimonials of their clients in their website, being a web design firm ourselves, we know that these testimonials by clients can easily be a figment of someone’s imagination.

So it’s better to check an agency’s reputation by calling or sending an email to their clients. Ask them about their experience with the agency and hear what they have to say.

If you get no response from any of them, dig deeper. And if you get a negative review from their clients, take it into consideration and ask yourself if you still want to go through with the web design agency. If you get positive reviews, it’s time to get to know who they are.

3. Who’s in the Team?

Now that you have seen what they’ve done, and after you have heard what their clients say about them, it’s time to investigate who they are.

Check their credentials, look at their social media profiles, and see if it resonates with the description within their company website. The more you know about their team, the more you know if they can give you what you want.

Also, you have to check if they do everything on their own or if they have affiliations with other organisations, for they might outsource some of their work.

Knowing the team and knowing how they work will guide you to the kind of interaction you are comfortable with and what information you are willing to share.

4. How much do they charge?

With money, the devil is always in the details. You may have picked a stellar web design company, however, if they are going to have you take out a second mortgage on your house in order to complete the project, it is best that you identify this up front!

Also, not all website quotations are created equal. The fees and charges depend on the complexity and foundations of your website. These are the usual factors that affect payment:

  • The host of your website (we’ll talk about this below)
  • The number of pages to be filled
  • The complexity of your website functionality
  • The provision of your content (written, visual, audio, and video)
  • The services to manage and maintain your website
  • The online marketing tools to promote your website

Website design and development prices vary from agency to agency. But not all can justify the amount they ask for. Be sure to ask for a cost estimate and a detailed breakdown of how the firm came up with the overall cost.

Keenly check where your money will go and be wary of hidden charges. If a web design firm can’t provide you a detailed estimate and breakdown, you might want to re-think awarding your contract to them.

5. What can they offer?

Reflect on the reasons you want a website, and what do you really need from it.

Also, thoroughly asses what a web design firm offers you, as it may well be more than what you need. Remember, the more service you get from them, the more you pay them.

That’s why it’s important to know what your website requires and what your agency can deliver. Here’s a simple checklist to lend you a hand on what website features and services to look for:

  • Website and content management system (CMS)
  • Content creation
  • Website analysis
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Website support
  • Website security
  • Digital marketing

6. What will be the foundation of my website?

Though you don’t need to be technical about it, you still need to know your website’s foundation.

First, know who will host your website. A website host is a service provider that gives your website the needed technology for it to work in the internet. Your host will determine your website space, bandwidth, performance, email accounts, and storage, all of which are pretty important factors to consider!

Second, know what programming language will the web development team are going to use. Programming languages are used to communicate instructions and create programs in your website. This dictates the availability of functions that can be used within your website.

Third, know if and how your website will function on different browsers and devices. These days, it’s mandatory to have a responsive website that adapts to the device – be it a laptop, tablet, or a smartphone a visitor is using. Also, you absolutely require a website that works well with the browsers and devices your target audience use.

7. Will they collaborate well with me?

When building a website, clear and constructive communication and collaboration with your website development agency are definitely what we would consider to be key success factors (KSFs). Thus the importance of positive and constructive interaction with the people creating your website is crucial.

Some companies, after getting the initial brief, won’t contact you until your site is finished. You may think that’s fine, and in some cases this may well be ok. However, what if you forgot to mention something important? Or if the finished site isn’t what you had in mind? It is always better to work with your designers and developers along the way.

Systematic collaboration is key to efficiently constructing your website from the ground up. Think of it like the building of your business, you don’t need to micro-manage every little step, but it does help to interact with your team regularly.

8. How will they measure my website’s success?

The business world is full of false hopes and broken promises, and until results are made, you can never be sure of anything.

If you think your website has served its purpose, simply because it is live, think again. A website is only successful if it delivers the results you want. And the only way to know is to measure your website’s performance. To do this, you must first determine what metrics will ultimately determine success.

To ensure you cover all what’s important, use these guidelines below to increase your website’s effectivity:

  • Are you ranking well on search engines against your competition?
  • Are your online marketing mediums getting you visitors?
  • Are the right people visiting your website?
  • Are your visitors being converted to customers?
  • Are your customers becoming repeat buyers?

Remember, if you can’t measure your website’s performance, you’ll most likely have a gruelling time managing it.

9. Will I manage my website after it’s done, or will they?

Creating a website is one thing, maintaining it is another. Lucky for you, most web design firms offer services to maintain and manage a website. However, whether you are going to be happy with such an ongoing relationship largely depends on your budget.

If you’re planning to manage your website on your own, it is important to ask what kind of support you’ll be getting from the web design agency once your site is live.

Things you might need help with include:

  • Your website security
  • Your email
  • How to utilise your CMS
  • Fixing bugs

10. Are they Australian?

Last but not least, having a website design agency in the same city as you (or if not the same city, preferably the same country) will have multiple advantages, the least of which is the ability to sit down face to face with your design team.

About Techwitty

We hope this has provided you with some insight into what to look out for when choosing a website development agency in Sydney. If you got something out of this article, then maybe you might like to speak with us about how the team at Techwitty could assist you with your website.

Techwitty is a boutique digital marketing technology advisory firm owned by Tulla Private Equity Group (the Maloney Family). We believe that to be successful in technology related business, in addition to great kit, you also need the right go-to-market partners and the right global networks. It is not what you know…

Through the network and global reach of our parent – Tulla Private Equity Group the team at Techwitty are able to leverage these relationships for our clients on a daily basis. No matter what the problem, or how urgent the project, we support and treat our clients as our business partners. Why not give us a call today on (02) 9387 5900 or check out our website at www.techwitty.com.au