Finding a Digital Agency: What to Look for in a Web Design or Web Development Agency?

Narrow down your digital agency selection using our handy top ten tips on choosing a web design agency.

1) Check out their own site

Do you like it? Does it sell to you? Does it contain all the types of skills that you’re looking for e.g. good web design, well designed user interface, well built, works on mobiles. Does it impress you?

2) Ask to look at their portfolio

Are the case studies recent? Do you recognize the company names? Do a Google search and check that the companies exist and have the same website that the agency designed. Do you like the website designs they have produced? Ask yourself: Do they represent the company well? Would you use this website? Do they have experience of website design in your field? Do the website’s meet their objectives?

3) Check References

Ask the web agency if they can send you references or testimonials from customers. And when you get these testimonials, make sure you check them out. Call the clients up and check that the testimonials are real.

Finally, ask how long the agency has been running. Age doesn’t always matter, but it does help to identify experience.

4) Capabilities

All agencies will be good at some things and not at others. Find out what they have experience in and what they do well, they often have a bias to one content management technology or another. Often, it’s helpful to get the CV’s of all staff employed. The best agencies will have a balance of online marketing, development and creative. If you have specific requirements – make a list and ask the agency what their proficiency is in the specific skills.

5) Availability – Service levels

Check that they can meet your needs. Quite often companies have a client account team in the UK but their main development team may be based elsewhere. Make sure you get a phone number not just an email address (and not a premium rate number either). Ask the web design agency what the turnaround time is for responding to emails.

6) Resourcing

You want your web design agency to be big enough to ensure that if your account manager is off sick or on holiday your business is not forgotten.

Do you prefer a larger, higher resourced agency or a smaller, more flexible agency? The general rule would be to find a web agency that’s resourced to reflect the size of tasks and projects you require. If you have 1000 employees but your actual marketing and development budget is reasonably low, you are only likely to need an agency of 5-10 employees. If you have 100 employees, but you are heavily reliant on outsourced projects, a larger agency may be more suitable. No one size fits all!

7) Age of agency

Age doesn’t always matter, but in this industry it can be an important factor. The web has seen many changes in a relatively short space of time, if a website design agency has been in business for five or more years it have obviously been managed well. The internet has seen the boom and bust of many company’s; those that live to tell the tale are obviously being run well.

8) Are the staff approachable and professional?

It’s important that you connect with the people managing your account. The best results will be created when you forge a partnership with your web agency.

Do they provide an off the shelf package, or do they tailor their resources to your needs? Do they use a lot of jargon or explain things clearly? Have they provided relevant suggestions suitable for your business? Far too often, company’s try to sell you products that you don’t need and are not tailored to your needs.

9) Check out the agency’s terms and conditions

This is quite important and helps avoid problems further down the line. Here’s some helpful questions to ask:

  • Are there any hidden costs, like set up fees or holding fees?
  • Can you make staged payments for your web project?
  • Are updates and maintenance included in the website design fees?
  • Are bug fixes charged for?
  • Will you get a copy of the source files?
  • Who owns the source code?
  • Who owns copyright of the design?
  • Are the files back-up?
  • Will it work on smartphones?

10) Do they outsource their work?

Check to see if your project will be developed in house or if it will be outsourced. Ask to meet the design or technical team. If work is going to be outsourced, find out where, are you able to contact the team? There are many cases of company’s who have an account management team, and an outsourced development team. It’s common for technical development to be done off shore as resources abroad are cheaper. The problem with this scenario is guaranteeing the quality of the work produced. Does the account management team check the back end code? Does it meet current guidelines and legal requirements? Can they be flexible enough to meet your needs?

Want a web agency with a difference contact Alchemy Interactive

What to Ask Your Web Design Or Web Development Company

Getting a professional design for your website is crucially important. Potential customers use the web to research many purchases before buying. So it’s vital that you present a good impression.

Many people have found it’s not easy to find a good web designer. This can result in unnecessary expense and headaches. Here are some tips to help you avoid problems.

Many people’s first concern is the look of their website. Does it have a professional feel that customers will find appealing? Make sure that you look through previous work that your web design company have done. Some web site designers have graphic designers in house. They can help you get the exact look that you want.

Ask your web design company if they will be using a template or if they’re creating a custom made site. A template driven site will cost less but your site may look like hundreds of others. You can make the decision as to how important these factors are.

You should think about how you are going to attract customers to your site, at an early stage. Can your web designer also provide search engine optimization services? By doing this your site can appear on the first page when your customers search on Google and Yahoo. It is often wise to build a site with SEO in mind. This is more sensible than building a site and then making changes to optimize it later on.

Naturally, cost is going to be a consideration. When thinking about this, take into account the ongoing costs associated with your site. Don’t be fooled by companies that provide a site cheaply but charge expensive monthly fees. Over a three year period these can really start to add up. You should be certain about what you will be charged for updates to an existing website. There have been businesses that have been charged huge fees for minor changes to their site.

Getting a new website is a great opportunity. But don’t let the process turn into a nightmare. By avoiding some of the mistakes that other businesses have made you will end up with the perfect website.

The Future Of Web Development With HTML-5

HTML-5 is creating ripples across the web design industry and now you have more options than just using Flash. For years Flash has ruled the web design industry however the technology was always cumbersome and industry experts were looking for another alternative. The advent of HTML-5 brought along with it loads of benefits so industry experts predict that HTML-5 will surely stay and will rule the web design industry.

HTML is usually preferred by search engines. The language is available free so you can use them conveniently. It is supported by almost all the browsers and web designers find it effective to be used in web design. The popularity of HTML-5 can be attributed to the features and capabilities of the language. Silver-light and Flash were used earlier but they are not SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly however the features integrated into HTML-5 are expected to enhance web visibility among major search engines.

The video and graphics facility in HTML-5 is surely a brilliant addition compared to previous versions of HTML. There are wide ranges of APIs for HTML-5 so it is highly recommended for web design. Web browsers such as Mozilla and Google have also provided the right support to HTML-5 and the next generation applications are benefiting wide number of users. Browsers such as Google Chrome respond well to the video tags and video uploads. Internet Explorer 8 provides extensive support for the latest version of HTML such as Ajax navigation.

In order to use HTML-5, no proprietary plugins are required since the language now has syntactical features. The success of HTML-5 is also due to the fact that it is compatible with older browsers since many web users still find it convenient to use older browsers. The websites created using HTML-5 have enhanced interface and easy to read. Earlier there were compatibility issues for those using flash applications in their website. Designers would find it difficult to make their website compatible with all the browsers but HTML-5 is loaded with features that are browser friendly.

There are also performance related issues while using Flash during the web design. Often using a poor code can lead to the frequent crash of the website and Flash application and the browser also gets locked. This can be very frustrating for a user. Thankfully HTML-5 has looked into the issues to eliminate the problems of Flash.

HTML-5 is simple and easy to use. The element in HTML-5 now has content, header and footer tags. This adds to the convenience of the coder to neatly arrange the code so anyone can understand it. This is also very SEO friendly. Low overhead relates to the animation in HTML-5. Powerful animated content integrated with HTML-5 will surely be enjoyable experience for web designers. Stay tuned for the HTML libraries.

Nowadays the use of internet has extended from desktop to tablets and iPhone. HTML-5 is capable of supporting all the platforms and considerably assists in corresponding web design. This is surely the new age HTML we are referring to.