10 Ways to Assess an Agency Before You Outsource a Website

7 min read

Ever wondered why your website isn’t generating enough traffic and consequently affecting the sales? First things first, did you check if your website looks pleasing to the eye, navigates with ease and answers your customers queries in a flow? Probably not. There are scores of agencies who design websites day in and out. But the ones that make a mark are rare to find.
Website is your face over the virtual world; you got to make it exciting for people to stop by and explore the wondrous features that you offer on it. Having worked for over a decade-and-a-half, I have brainstormed for several hours with my team to come up with extraordinary design ideas, layouts and features that represent the company.
Here are some experienced points to ask your website agency before you outsource your website:

  1. Ask for a couple of website challenges tackled by the agency
    1. Check the total experience of the organisation in following areas:
      1. Technology proposed
      2. Manpower on board with organisation
      3. Number of websites handled and completed
      4. Number of websites dealt with having the same strength as yours.
    2. Check the case studies which cover the following areas:
      1. Client requirements and website designer approach to address
      2. Clients said and unsaid requirements
      3. Time required to complete the task
      4. Ask what were the major challenges faced by them in individual projects and also check what was their approach to address
    3. Ask for few questions on handling client communication and changing needs.
  2. Check their approach towards the job they take up:
    1. Ask the team to present a scenario why do they think you need a website in case you are going for your new website.
    2. However, in case you are going for revamping of your existing website let them tell you what they think you should change in a website.
    3. Ask them to sight the difference they would add if you hire them
    4. How will they manage the project in terms of following:
      1. Number of people working on the project
      2. Approval process
      3. How will they handle change in scope, while design and development is ongoing?
  3. Request for a Presales approach and ideation
    1. Always request for a no obligation pre-sales design in order to qualify the agency
    2. It’s important to know how would be their approach in terms of getting your website completed. It can be gauged from the following areas:
      1. Website UI and UX
      2. Website Navigational flow
      3. Website content placement
      4. Use of appropriate banner and copy lines
      5. Content and copy placements
      6. How easy it is to jump from active page to desired page or section on website.
      7. Menu placement and structure.
  4. Portfolio of companies:
    1. It’s not very important that they had worked with someone else in the same industry as you are, though; this will be an added advantage as they will know exactly how you and your industry work.
    2. Do the websites they have worked on have a similar scope and size as your website has. Small or bigger than yours will not serve the purpose.
    3. Ensure your website designer does a proper story telling while he navigates through their past work. In case story and communication doesn’t feel promising, then you need to understand it’s time to hire a new one.
  5. Advantages of technologies and why they prefer it over any other website platforms:
    1. Website is not like a brochure thus technology and platform of building it on plays an important role
    2. Ensure today’s website should be done on CMS – Content Management System platform, could be either Word press, Joomla, Drupal or Majento. But you should specifically ask for a platform as it’s important.
  6. Delivery timelines and development roadmap
    1. It’s very important to have a clear defined delivery plan of the project backup with development process and road map.
    2. In case web designer is committing for a brief time just to fill the working hours, you need to ensure that they don’t compromise on quality and coding.
    3. Check average delivery time of the past projects of the client’s web designer.
  7. Clear defined role of either parties
    1. Ensure to readout clear terms and conditions mentioned in the contract or offer letter in case the same is missing, get it added as this might create an issue later on.
    2. Beforehand ask team on either side involved of the role and responsibilities, this will help you to ensure that either parties don’t deviate from the original agreement.
    3. In case you feel that you won’t be able to devote time and responsibilities as mentioned in the table ask if designer can take care of the same responsibility and at what cost.
    4. Understand, your business is not to spend a lot of time over website designing it’s your website designer’s job, thus let website designer do all what can be done by them. Meanwhile, you can restrict yourself to simple approval and data providing.
    5. Major challenges clients face in design and development of website is content of website and providing images, thus if you have a budget let it be handled by web designer.
    6. In case you are too overstretched on budget then you should do it yourself else nominate someone from your team.
  8. Check for client testimonials and genuine references
    1. It is most important to check the credibility of the designer. Their past work reflects on the current form.
    2. Check the website name done by web designer and ensure to check the site credit mentioned on foot of client website. This is to doubly ensure that client and proposal is authentic.
    3. Check on social media and Google search review of the web designer in case you find negative and no reviews. It is not advisable to go ahead with the website designer with a poor reputation. Do you ever check-in to any hotel where you find negative or no reviews?
    4. If required do talk to clients personally before you sign contract as once the contract is signed there is no return.
    5. Do remember to check previous client’s completion certificates else your website designer might be good with marketing and no good with delivery.
  9. Check their own website and Google ranking
    1. Of course this goes without saying, do your homework right. Check web designer’s website 1st even before you meet. Be ready with your own perception so that you can see if the designer is addressing that during meeting. In case it’s not been answered then ensure you ask the question and be satisfied.
    2. Check the Google ranking of your client’s website with appropriate keywords. If they fail to provide it, they are being manipulative.
    3. Check for review and sentiments on website social platforms.
  10. Where will the website or domain be hosted?
    1. Do check if they have their own server or will they be hosting on some 3rd party hosting server. This is very important as in case your website designing company shuts down in that case it would be really difficult to get the rights and backup of your website back.
    2. Based on the size and estimated traffic on website a call should be taken to either go for shared server, Virtual Private Server ( VPS) or dedicated server
    3. Ensure admin and control panel of hosting server is with you along with backup of website once the entire website is completed.

Hope above information is useful to you & in case you need to connect with me and understand more on this line you can reach me at ashish@ikf.co.in

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