Vetting a new web design agency to partner with can be scary. What if the grass isn’t greener on the other side? It’s nearly impossible to know for certain if an agency is just really great at the pitch, or if they’re actually going to follow through.
We know it’s a terrifying situation for many marketers so we’re sharing suggested questions you can ask your next agency before “jumping ship.”
What are your project management capabilities?
Project management is a necessary piece of any digital project and a dedicated project manager has the know-how get you to a successful launch. A good project manager has plenty of experience with project similar to yours – and an eye out for common roadblocks that might cause delays.
Without strong project management capabilities, it can feel like molasses trying to get to the finish line. Make sure to ask about this significant skill before jumping in.
Will you be able to support and maintain my website post-launch?
When you put a ton of time and money into to a project, you want to ensure its long-term success. You won’t get far without an infrastructure to support you and maintain the integrity of your site – on an ongoing basis.
A project can be smooth sailing, but if you (or your agency) isn’t keeping it updated and secure after launch, things can go awry quickly. That’s a situation we don’t like to see anyone in.
This can easily be overlooked because you’re psyched to (finally) be kicking off the project. But, things like monitoring and applying updates to security vulnerabilities, regular backups, checks for broken links, consistent reviews of site performance, optimization and analytics can make more of a difference than you might think. And that’s only scraping the surface.
What can I expect from your strategy and planning phase?
A substantial part of a website redesign or digital marketing campaign happens offline. Countless hours can (and should) be spent researching, analyzing and planning an integrated strategy. It takes time, but looking back you’ll see it’s worth it.
If you’re jumping in head first with blinders on, gaps will pop up that you wish you would have filled before hitting the water. Asking a potential partner about the time and effort they allocate to their strategy and planning phase helps you know the weight they place on truly understanding your:
- Pain points and challenges
- Goals and objectives (short-term and long-term)
- Your company
- Competitive landscape
- Opportunities within the market
- Key differentiators
- Historical website and digital marketing data
- User needs and wants
All of this doesn’t need to take a substantial amount of time to complete, but it shouldn’t be ignored. Insight gathered in the strategy and planning phases acts as a foundation for your UX strategy, creative design, SEO strategy and even lead generation tactics. Just like nobody wants a house built on sand; nobody wants a website built on fluff.
Do you specialize in a specific industry?
When it comes to your digital agency, “jack of all trades” isn’t the term that should be used to describe their industry focus. Integrated? Yes. Full-service? Yes. But, jack of all trades means there’s no real specialization.
You’ll benefit most from working with an agency who focuses on a few core industries and knows them well. There are nuances to every company within a specific industry and your agency partner should know the ones specific to your company to position you as accurately and in the best light possible.
Having an industry specialization means they already understand the market you work in, minimizing the time and effort you need to spend on boarding them.
There are other questions you should ask – like design philosophy, security precautions, project team members – and variations of each according to your company but these are a great place to start.
If you’re on the hunt right now, reach out to us and throw some questions our way. We’d love to speak with you.