Choosing the best web design agency in Maine can be tough: The large number of choices out there can leave you wondering where to begin in your search. A website is a key investment in your business. It’s easier to narrow your search when you keep a few key factors in mind. Let’s look at some important points to consider when you’re selecting a web design agency for your Maine business.
Know What You Want:
If you’re shopping for a website design agency, you probably find yourself in one of three possible situations. In one scenario, your business might already have a website that needs a minor makeover. Alternatively, your existing website may need more than just a few cosmetic changes, requiring a complete re-design. In the third possible case, your business may not have a website at all and will need to have one created from scratch.
You won’t be able to judge if an agency can deliver results for your business unless you can clearly define what those results might be. Are you looking to increase your company’s ROI? Do you have a relatively new brand that needs to ramp up its visibility? No matter which agency you choose for the design work, a website is more likely to be successful when both the client and the agency have a clear understanding of the intended results. Different business goals require different design approaches; once you know what you want, you can ask a potential web design agency for testimonials and examples of previous work to see how effective they’ve been on past projects.
Be Realistic about Budget:
Getting a website designed and developed is a significant business investment; like all investments, cost is a major factor that will influence your choice for any web design agency. While it’s important to keep your budget in mind during the selection process, you also need to consider value: Spending a bit more on a website could pay off many times over in ROI. Focus on the long-term results you’re expecting from an effective website rather than the upfront cost involved in its development. To get a feel for the potential value of an agency’s work, ask them for specific evidence of value that they’ve delivered for previous clients.
Consider the Agency’s Age:
Age shouldn’t be a make-or-break factor in choosing a web design agency, but a long and established track record does reflect positively on a web design agency. While there’s no reason to disregard a strong contender just because they’re relatively new, the fact that an agency is thriving after several years in operation shows that it’s probably managed well. Surviving more than five years in a competitive industry also indicates that an agency is delivering results to their clients.
Ask about Their Track Record:
Make sure you get a chance to look at some case studies for each web design agency you consider. Has the agency handled cases in your company’s sector? An agency that understands your business model is more likely to deliver the results you want. The size of your business and the scope of the website you need will also influence your choice of web design agency. An agency may be accustomed to working with clients much larger or much smaller than your business.
Communication is Key:
The importance of good communication with your web design agency simply cannot be overstated. A potential web design agency should be making an effort to explain their work in a way that makes sense for their clients. If you find yourself not understanding the discussion, it’s the agency’s responsibility to communicate more clearly. Never be afraid to ask questions: You need to feel like you’re getting sufficient value for your money from an agency, and you should be able to understand what your agency is doing for you.
Not only is it important to look for clear and effective communication from a potential web design agency, but you also want to look out for availability. You’ve probably heard horror stories about dealing with agencies that never answer their phones or respond to messages. Make sure you get contact numbers and email addresses, and find out what the agency’s typical turnaround time is for replying to messages. If you have urgent changes that need to be communicated to the agency, you need to be able to get in touch with them quickly. In addition, you should always feel comfortable asking questions about your project or requesting a quick progress report.
Don’t Forget about SEO:
Part of planning a website should include optimizing that site for search engines. You’ve probably heard the saying “Content is king”: It may sound trite, but there’s truth to this cliche. A solid SEO strategy includes the intelligent use of keywords and relies on content that adds real value to a website. A web design agency should be able to tell you how they plan to optimize your site for search engines. If they don’t seem well-versed in SEO practices or claim to have a “magic bullet” approach to SEO, keep looking. You want an agency that stays on top of the changing SEO landscape and uses an information-driven strategy to optimize sites.
Think about the User Experience:
Your business’s website should be centered around the user experience. A good web design agency will focus on usability in their approach to information architecture, making information quick and easy to locate on your website. The site should also be designed and developed so that it can be navigated in all major browsers. In addition to usability, accessibility should be a driving force in a site’s design. Accessibility includes the “reasonable adjustments” needed to ensure that users of all abilities can easily navigate a website. When you interview a potential agency, ask them how usability and accessibility factors into their website strategies.
Ask for a Plan or Strategy:
Even if your business’s website will be on the smaller side, your chosen web design agency should still be able to offer a formal plan and strategy for its development. Their plan should describe the key performance indicators that can be used to assess whether the site is meeting its goals. These goals can include factors like increased sales inquiries, increased online sales and heightened brand awareness.
The planned website should be trustworthy and relevant: With these components in place, your site can help you boost your bottom line by converting casual visitors into new customers.
Honesty Is the Best Policy:
Don’t get swept away by an agency’s unrealistic claims about cost, turnaround time, or SEO results. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A reputable web design agency will be honest and realistic in their estimates of turnaround time, performance and cost. As the client, it helps if your expectations are equally realistic. For example, a smaller, lesser-known agency will probably have a shorter waiting list. If you need your website developed as quickly as possible, one of these smaller agencies may be the ideal fit. If you’re certain you only want to work with more popular, well-known agencies, you’ll need to be a bit more flexible with your timeframe.
Stick with Local Agencies:
It’s certainly possible to cut costs by choosing an agency outside the United States; however, those cost savings often come at a steep price. Language barriers and time zone differences can hinder communication and make it difficult to get projects done on time; many clients also complain about the quality of the finished product when working with a bargain-basement overseas agency. As we said before, you get what you pay for when it comes to website development.
Working with a local Maine agency lets you have face-to-face communication with your website designers during a project. With better access to your website’s team, you can ensure that you have adequate input and control over the direction of the project. Instead of trying to coordinate a time to talk between differing time zones, you can always get in touch with your designers with a phone call or quick email.
A website can have a huge impact on the success of your company: increasing conversions, broadening its visibility and building its brand identity. Don’t entrust the design of this critical business asset to the first agency you spot in your search results. Do your homework, ask the right questions and communicate your needs and concerns. With a bit of effort and a focus on the most important criteria, you’ll be able to find a web design agency that can meet your business’s needs.
If you’re in need of a Maine website design agency that will reflect your unique brand identity and help customers find your business, we’re here to help. Call us at (207) 947-4313 to schedule a meeting or get more information about our services.
Fun Tidbit: Links Web Design has been voted the Best Web Design Agency in Bangor, Maine from Market Surveys of America since 2009!