With 100s of web design agencies within the UK, it can sometimes be difficult to know who to ask for a quote.
At Toast, we specialise in working with SMEs to plan, design and build bespoke WordPress sites that do exactly what our clients need.
Toast was set up in 1997, and we’ve been working with clients throughout England on a huge range of projects, from microsites to large corporate sites.
If you’re finding it difficult to find the right WordPress Agency for your project, below are some handy points to note and questions to ask any agency before you commission a website project.
People and Process
Website projects take time, so it’s important that a prospective agency has the staff to manage your project quickly. Freelancers and small studios are great for small one-off projects with limited budgets (if that’s you, get in touch and we’ll recommend some people).
For larger on-going projects, it’s important that your agency:
- Has enough staff to cope with your project and others they may have on (remember, a company will rarely have one project on at a time).
- Has people dedicated to each stage of the project; developers rarely make good copywriters, and planning people aren’t always great at design.
- Is process driven; do they have a clearly defined, stage-by-stage approach to the project that’s clearly costed-out on their proposal?
- Asks the right questions; what are you looking to achieve rather than what do you want it to look like.
- Sends you a lengthy and meaningful proposal for the project; not just a ball-park figure in an email.
- Can demonstrate experience – not necessarily in your sector, but across a wide range of industries, sites and clients – you’re looking for a breadth of experience.
- Doesn’t outsource to other agencies and offshore; make sure everything is done in-house – nothing derails a website project quicker than a company subbing out work.
- Isn’t going to disappear tomorrow – are they sustainable, sizeable and have a good track record?
- Assigns the appropriate level of account and project management to the project.
Can they kick it?
At Toast we can. Our agency doesn’t take on jobs that we can’t complete in-house. We know what we’re great at, and we stick to that. In a competitive marketplace, it can be tempting for agencies to claim they do it all to win jobs. This can lead to delays, spiralling costs and a loss of love for the project.
Any agency you consider should:
- Be able to complete all of the project stages without farming it out, or tell you upfront if they are planning to do so.
- Advise you upfront if they are planning to bring in a freelancer or specialist skill (in-house) to complete any part of the project.
- Tell you how they are going to build your site; are you being quoted for a fully bespoke build or are they using something off-the-shelf?
- Know WordPress inside-out; make sure that the person you’re talking to knows what they are talking about and isn’t simply selling someone else’s skills.
- Be able to produce you something that doesn’t just look nice – can they demonstrate their skills by achieving high scores in Googles speed tests?
- Be focused on site speed, on-page SEO, site optimisation and getting you found; if you don’t have any of these conversations, be careful.
Not just a pretty face.
The design is a crucial part of any website, but it takes in far more than just what the site looks like. The design stages of any project should also be about user experience, user journeys, information architecture and hierarchy. In our opinion, your potential web design agency should:
- Talk to you about the desired outcomes of the site and how the design will enhance this.
- Produce wireframes to explore where key content will go and explore information architecture.
- Discuss key messages and calls to action – what do you want people to do on the site?
- Talk about functions and what happens when a visitors does things on the site.
- Make sure everything stays on brand and in sync with your other marketing materials.
It’s very easy to rush into a website project and start designing things – after all, what it looks like is one of the exciting parts of any project; but don’t let your site be led only by design. You’ll end up with a website that looks nice but achieves nothing.
And there’s more…
By far the best thing to do is to talk through your requirements with any prospective web design agency. On the phone, via skype or a face-to-face meeting. This way you’ll get a feel for their passion about what they do and a better understanding if there’s a good fit for the project.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of everything, but it’s a guide to some of the things you should be aware of.
If you’d like to talk to us about your project, call us on 01295 266644 or click the link below to fill in our contact form. We’ll give you a call or send you an email (your preference) to find out more about your project, ask you some important questions and tell you more about how Toast can help you with your website project.
Get in touch.