Are you looking for a new web design agency that can generate leads?
There are far too many choices when it comes to web design agencies, and committing all that time towards finding just the right fit is strenuous.
In all reality, there’s so much noise in the web design market that it’s hard to tell what’s relevant and what’s garbage.
Freelancers are a dime a dozen, and the agencies themselves aren’t far behind. Some like to say they specialize in brand building and storytelling, or UX and UI development, while others are gung-ho on SEO best practices and demand generation.
Does any of that make sense? Probably not, but that’s because it’s tactical marketing mumbo jumbo. To you, the client, it doesn’t matter. All you care about is the big-picture strategy behind getting your best sales representative – also known as your website – up and running.
That’s just the thing though; a big-picture approach incorporates all those elements and more! Most design agencies specialize in niche fields and forget about the rest of the puzzle.
It’s next to impossible to tell what your final project will resemble and what strategic holes will still be present when the professionals consider their work “done.”
Because at the end of the day businesses care about one thing; driving more sales. They won’t be successful in that pursuit unless all the T’s are crossed, and I’s dotted.
Don’t rush such an important decision, identify requirements, find team alignment, and start the review process. Here are the top 15 traits you should look for in a standout web design agency:
1. The Web Design A
gency Dedicated Process
Do they have a dedicated process framework in place or does each step feel made up on the spot? Yes, every situation is different, and adaptability is necessary, but a process means they have experience and have been through the wringer. They’ve walked down the web design road before and came out the other side swinging.
A process provides a baseline that sets your project on the path to continued success.
Every successful brand is based on a strategic, yet easy to comprehend foundation. Does your web design agency know how to position your business within the market correctly?
A great website isn’t just visually appealing. A visitor needs to be able to pick up your unique value proposition within only a couple of seconds before they’re disengaged.
The lowest cost provider is overused and overvalued. Find a firm that knows how to promote your niche placement.
No successful company gets its start just because. We all have an interesting story that walks prospects through who we are, what we do, and why we do it.
A message has to draw your website viewers in, it’s your one and only hooks. If it fails to captivate your visitors, then they’ll never take a chance on your product or service.
The ability to tell a story is minimized since it values is hard to quantify. The ROI justification is seen in later transactions with little to no attribution. Don’t let that fool you; storytelling sets your brand’s stage.
The web design agency may or may not sub-out this part. Be sure to spend ample time here getting it right.
4. Key Performance Indicators
Too many businesses fall flat when it comes to measuring their website’s success. That comes back to bite them when designing their site. How can an agency develop an efficient layout if they don’t know what KPIs to target?
The simple answer is they can’t. Every website is designed to drive certain actions. A good agency knows this and starts the project by defining the critical data points.
At Matrix, we report on over 80 digital metrics distinct to our business model. While that may seem like a lot, it allows us to see the bigger picture of our marketing efforts and dissect what isn’t working.
5. UX and UI Design
These two are so obvious they almost seem like a given. UX is analytical back-end work whereas UI is the visual front-end cosmetics. Any web design firm worth its weight in gold knows how to implement the right code that produces the most visually appealing results.
They listen to your ideas and mold them into their own to create something tangible. There’s no need for a yes-man, but you want people who can bring together all your concepts and then provide their own spin. When the agency can bring exciting ideas to the table that mesh with yours then you’ve found compatibility.
7. Demand Generation
Everything comes down to whether your website can generate high-quality leads for your sales reps. Lead generation depends on producing relevant content and lead magnets. Attracting prospects to your site is just one step. Afterward, they need to be nurtured through the buying cycle until the sales team is ready to pick them up.
Demand generation is a full-funnel operation. It runs all the way from initial awareness to customer nurturing.
8. Search Engine Optimization – SEO
A website can be aesthetically pleasing, but if the house isn’t cleaned up on the back end, then it will have trouble being picked up in Google’s constantly changing search algorithm.
I’m always coming across sites that look amazing, yet lack the critical SEO components that are tracked by search engines. The worst part is unless you have specific SEO training you’d never notice.
Recently, Backlinko.io released a report stating there are over 200 SEO indicators on search engine radars. To cover all of those points alone is a nightmare.
9. User Testing the Web Design Agency
Testing the designs with real users will significantly improve the quality of any complete design and help catch usability issues before time is spent building out the designs. User testing involves usability professionals recruiting a handful of users and asking them to perform tasks.
Typically, the results are recorded in a test format and then delivered in a video to you along with a list of usability issues or comments that the design team can implement. This is the digital version of the adage “Measure twice, cut once.”
10. Current on Trends
A website is your digital storefront. It is your virtual identity. Don’t be the company with a useless website straight out of the 90s. Trends will always come and go so let’s avoid outdated designs and effects.
How do you want to be defined? Is a static page with brochure-style information adequate, or are you trying to project more?
11. Problem Solving & Project Management
Website development gets complex; it’s the nature of the business. Your initial needs are easily communicated. However, the process becomes convoluted as “minor changes” begin to add up over time that distracts from the original goals.
Have you ever heard the term too many cooks in the kitchen? Well too many divergent opinions in the CMS is even worse. That’s why problem-solving and project management skills are critical. The ability to take critiques and mold them into something everyone agrees with is a tough task.
12. Buyer Mapping
What are your customers looking for from your services? Have you integrated heat and scroll maps to figure out where they go and how they interact with your site? Users have short attention spans which mean they won’t be on the page long.
Can they identify the value you bring to the table, or are they floundering around looking for the exit? 55% of users are on a website for less than 15 seconds! Easy navigation and straightforward content are a must. You only have 15 seconds to capture that potential lead’s attention. If they aren’t engaged in your content by that time they’re gone.
13. Responsive Design and the Web Design Agency
In 2017 with Google’s many AMP updates responsive design is a must-have, no if and or buts. Funnily enough, though, only 50% of businesses have a mobile-ready website. As search trends continue to lean towards mobile users, responsive layouts will progressively outrank those that aren’t.
Need an easy way to test your site’s responsiveness? Try out Google’s Mobile Test.
14. Software Integration by a Web Design Agency
There are hundreds of CMS platforms on the market, and that’s just the start of managing a high-performance website. The best web design agencies partner with marketing automation platforms as well.
Marketing technology is the backbone of all great marketing strategies. It provides tools for lead nurturing, social monitoring, SEO, reporting, and attribution.
Matrix partners with HubSpot for their simple, all-in-one solution. Everything from our website, CRM, emails, social to PPC campaigns resides in one database. Of course, this is just one example of marketing tech. The landscape is enormous with 1,000s of niche vendors each creating unique solutions.
15. What Add-on Services Does the Web Design Agency Have?
So, the site is finished, and you’re on your merry way, right? Wrong. Static websites fail for many reasons.
They become stale; content becomes outdated, designs change, SEO algorithms are updated, referral links die off, and your social channels begin to gather dust. You get the picture; it’s not a healthy business image.
Project-based web design firms are dying. If they don’t offer add-on services on a retainer basis, then you’ll need to find someone that does in the future.
When that happens, you’re paying out more money so they can come up to speed on your digital presence that was developed by someone else. That can be a difficult task.
Finding the Right W
eb Design Agency
Don’t forget two points I mentioned earlier; web design firms are a dime a dozen and the lowest cost provider is overused.
Do you see where I’m heading? You get what you pay for. Just because a freelancer comes to you with a price tag of $500 for a full website redesign doesn’t mean you’ll get the best results.
These 15 points are great but are hardly a tangible takeaway to your specific needs. There are dozens of more elements that can be taken into consideration when vetting a web design agency. The selection process should be carefully thought out to the point you fall in love with your agency choice.
We’ve compiled a free checklist on how to select an agency. This list has helped guide multiple clients through the complex purchasing decision of picking a web design company.
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