Get the Best Out of Your Web Design Agency

An effective website is the product of both hiring the right web design team and how you manage them. If you have chosen a web design company based on their portfolio, track record and responsiveness rather than just price, chances are good that you will end up with a successful website if you manage them properly. Like most business relationships, projects run more smoothly when everyone is working towards a clearly defined goal. While there are no strict rules, here are some best practices to get the most out of your creative agency.

Prepare to Start

There are many things to prepare before you start your web design project. First, start by defining your website goals. Goals need to be SMART to work (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) so instead of just saying you want to “increase web traffic” you might want to try “increase conversion by 50% within 3 months of launch.”

Next, imagine who would who would most likely use products and services and choose specific demographics to target like age, location, or income level. Consider their personal characteristics like attitudes, motivations and lifestyles and how they would benefit from your products or services. Think specific search terms they might Google to find you. Create your sitemap and write your website content with all of this in mind.

If there is a particular style of website that you like, be sure you send your web designer links. You should also send your logo in vector format, other marketing collateral, and your branding guidelines manual if you have one.

Grant Creative Freedom

Obviously, you hired your web design agency because you liked their portfolio so you should allow them to exercise some creative autonomy to create a memorable user experience and trust that they know what is best. You should keep an open mind to all recommendations that make your website easier to use, fits user expectations and meets your business goals. Your users will remember you by how your website made them feel rather than all the special effects and animation that just increases loading time. Oftentimes, a new marketing manager wants to put their stamp on the website and ends up editing and micromanaging it to hell. Here is an excerpt from The Oatmeal that best describes this phenomenon:

how web design goes to hell

Sadly, this happens more often than not.

Timely Feedback

Most agencies understand that you have other job responsibilities besides answering questions, reviewing design mockups and beta testing. However, you do need to set aside some time for these activities. If you cannot provide feedback and answer questions for weeks on end, your vendor will get frustrated and your deadline will be missed. If there are multiple stakeholders involved, it is best to amalgamate all feedback to for maximum efficiency.

Compensate for Out of Scope Work

The web design and development process can be quite long especially with eCommerce websites. During the creative and coding process, you might encounter other website features and functionalities that you would like but were not scoped out initially. All enhancements, regardless of how minor, require extra time to be done properly. Understand that your web design team is not being paid a salary and thus should not be treated like your employee. You should be reasonable and compensate them for out of scope work and chalk it up to the cost of building a better website.

Discuss Post-Launch Steps

Launching your website is just the beginning. If your business is successful, you will need a reliable web design resource to continue to build onto it. Once you have launched your website, you should discuss next steps like pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) so you can rank organically in Google and web maintenance so it can continue to look as pristine as when it was first deployed. Your website project should not be a one time thing but rather the beginning of a strong long-term relationship with your web design team that can grow your website alongside your business.

Ready to discuss your new web design project? Talk to one of our San Francisco web designers today!

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