For many small businesses it can be very hard to choose the correct agency to build their website. Any agency presenting their own work will naturally show examples that look great, but how do you go about choosing the correct agency for you and your business? Critical aspects of a website Before we begin, let’s have a look at the task at hand: what do these agencies need to accomplish, and what are the critical aspects of a website that they need to get right?
1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) If your new website is not listed on search engines, you are missing out on potential customers. Thus, it is critical that the SEO work is done, and that it is done correctly.
2. Marketing Messages When people arrive at your site, they need to know that it will fulfil the need they have. Whether that be a product or service, delivery of an answer to their question, or something else they are looking for. A website needs to easily and quickly deliver these two essential pieces of information: “what does this site deliver” and “who it is it for”.
3. Design Contrary to common belief, design has nothing to do with taste. As a small business you are not looking for a web design that you like, but a web design that will turn your visitors into paying customers. This is a true art form and can make a large difference in your sales. The most important factor is that visitors connect the level of professionality of the design directly to the level of quality of the products and services it sells. No matter how good your product or service might be, visitors expect that a company with a badly designed website will deliver low quality goods or services.
4. Sales process In general, people have very short attention spans. This means that writing too much content can disengage your potential customers. It is better to have concise text with a strong underlying sales process. A well-designed website will guide your visitors through your website, thus significantly improving your sales numbers, and the success of your website.
5. Measuring Success & Effectiveness The last step in the process is analysis of the statistics. Once your website goes live, the right tools are added to be able to measure what people do on your site and which channels bring in more sales (e.g. Google search, paid ads, newsletters, Facebook, etc.). It will also make bottlenecks visible, meaning that you can retain those customers instead of losing them.
What Does This Mean for Choosing a Web Design Agency? Looking at the five points above, it is immediately clear that you need to contract an agency that has sufficient experience in Google SEO, marketing, sales, design and analytics. Any agency lacking one or more of these skills will deliver a sub-optimal website, and put you at risk of not generating enough sales.
So how can you detect what is a good agency? This is very hard for most small businesses, and you will usually only find out once the site is running for a while. However, there are some things that you can investigate:
1. Do they have suitable experience and qualifications? Remember, a professional designer creates a design that looks good, but also has the functionality needed.
2. Do they have a marketing specialist? Does the agency have separate marketing or SEO specialist?
3. How successful are their websites? Ask for some examples of their work and try to find them in Google using relevant keywords. Use these websites as a potential client and analyse how easy it is to find what you are looking for, and how easy it is for you to buy, book or contact them.
4. Do they have any reviews? See if there are any Google, Facebook or LinkedIn reviews. There are a lot of scam reviews out there, so it will help if they have many reviews, so that you can get an overview of their competence.
The above is just a guide, but it might help you to make a more substantial comparison between the agencies that you approach for your website design and build.
If you are looking for more information, we have a lot of free workshops where you can dive a bit deeper into website design and analytics.