Whether you’re the marketing manager of a large firm, a campaign manager for a local politician, or the owner of a mom & pop looking to go digital, the process of finding the right website development agency can feel pretty overwhelming. This is especially true if it’s your first time tackling the process, or if you have little knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes.
Once you’ve warmed up to the idea of working with an agency, you’ll go through the process of interviewing, reviewing, and finally, choosing who you want to work with. If this is your first time or third, there are some important things to remember in your pursuit of your brand’s ideal website.
Check out our list of 5 dos and don’ts of working with a website development agency:
Don’t Fall for the “Too Good to Be True” Firms
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of firms who promise too much, with lofty aspirations of giving you a world-changing website on-time and under-budget. While it’s good to have goals, a website development agency worth hiring will be honest and realistic about their process.
Like any industry, web development has its fair share of slick salesmen looking to meet their bottom line. The bad news is that on your journey to hiring the right firm for you, you’ll have to dodge and weave with a polite “I don’t think we’re a good fit” when you get the feeling someone’s taking you for a ride. The good news is that for every one of those agencies, there are local, homegrown developers who are passionate about what they do.
Agencies to keep an eye on are those that take the time to listen, first and foremost. Without client input, a site can only be as good as the cookie-cutter mold it’s being built from. It takes rapport and genuine interest from both parties to analyze, plan, and eventually develop the website you’re looking for.
Do Clearly Communicate Your Needs
It can be easy to fall into the trap of, “This website development agency has all the experts… They don’t need my input.” That’s simply not the case. While no developer is going to expect you to clearly articulate the technical specifications of what you want your site to do, it pays dividends to spend some time hopping around online to get some inspiration from other sites you like.
That rule applies to both aesthetics and functionality. Your audience is looking for something beautiful and friendly… a site that allows them to engage with your brand and not want to pluck their own eyes out, a la King Lear, due to a mess of poor color choices, walls of overwhelming text, and impossible-to-navigate pages.
While in the pre-design phase, share everything you’ve had cross your mind about what you want your website to be. Then, allow your agency to go to work putting all those pieces together into a product that checks your boxes. Trust in their ability to take your vision, edit, revise, and turn it into a reality.
Don’t Expect Miracles Overnight
We touched on this a little when addressing “too good to be true” firms, but the point bears repeating: website builds are an art and a science. They are complicated, messy, and frustrating. It’s impossible to create something that will take your audience through the sales funnel effectively and pleasantly without dealing with the recursive process of design, build, and launch in a short amount of time.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “How in the world can I justify paying the cost of an agency when I can pay a percentage of that and build my own in just a few days,” consider these statistics: A study done by Aberdeen Group found that “a 1-second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.” Working with a professional website developer would be able to eliminate that issue entirely, whereas a business using a drag-and-drop site builder might not even notice the delay at all.
Testing, data-gathering, and feedback take time, but they’re worth it. A Hubspot survey found that 76% of people say an ease of use is the most important component of an enjoyable website experience. Build-your-own platforms simply don’t have the robust resources that time and experience grants good website development agencies.
Do Be Honest About What You Like… And What You Don’t Like
Have you ever nodded and agreed with something just to avoid rocking the boat, only to let it upset you later? It’s a terrible habit we’ve all been guilty of, especially if we aren’t used to advocating for ourselves. When it comes to website development and design, though, your agency depends on your honesty above all else. Afterall, the website that they are building is yours. It needs to look, feel, and function in a way that balances your personal tastes with the practicality of helping your audience do what they’re there to do.
That being said, keep in mind that might mean compromise and sacrifice. Websites rely on complicated codes to work, and sometimes, option A and option B aren’t compatible enough to come together. You may also find that there are points where you don’t like what you’re hearing… A particular page layout doesn’t translate well to mobile or your ideal color palette clashes when it’s all put together on-screen. While developers value your opinion and wishes above all else, a good agency is going to be honest with you about what data, experience, and feedback determine is not going to work.
Don’t Ignore Small Agencies
It can be tempting to work with larger agencies, as they often have the resources and reviews to support the idea that they can make all of your dreams come true. While we are not trying to denigrate the abilities of a larger team, it’s important to remember the pitfalls of working with a big business.
For example, while smaller agencies may not have the revenue for television ads and discounted pricing, we do have personal interest in our clients. Developers working at larger agencies often deal with dozens of clients in an “assembly line” fashion. One person handles code, another design, and another content. That can cause a disjointedness to your site and to your ability to get in touch with the person who’s actually working on each piece of your site.
Additionally, smaller agencies are often able to be more flexible and creative, uninhibited by corporate policies that seek to increase product turnaround rather than customer satisfaction.
Ready to jumpstart your digital presence? At NATIV3, we’ve spent years tweaking our process and forging our own trail. Our Action Funnel takes your customers all the way through the buyer experience, keeping your brand at the forefront through creative, innovative website design. Let’s get started!