Key Aspects to Mull Over in Choosing a Good Web Design Agency

Its frequently the case that somebody you chat with knows someone else who undertakes website design. The phrase website designer can range from somebody in a school office undertaking admin duties who has been selected to tweak the school website to a fully trained and skilled professional website designer. This makes it very difficult when it comes to choosing a web design agency. If you choose the wrong agency, this could mean having a website that turns prospective customers off, rather than generating sales.

Nonetheless, it is completely possible to find an agency, with some research, who will produce a relatively cheap website design. Due diligence needs to be undertaken when you choose a web agency, so that you can ascertain their level of professionalism and competency. A number of questions need to be asked.

Web design agencies you contact will tell you they generate fantastic work, but you should ask for a client list, complete with web addresses. If an agency is highly regarded, they will have a gallery or some kind of portfolio of websites they have designed, so you should take the time to go to these sites and see how they appear. Notice how clearly the business message comes across and how the site ranks in search engine ratings. It is a good idea to phone the design agency’s past clients to determine their feelings about their overall experience, both during the design process and after it. You may well receive pessimistic feedback, but of course you should bear in mind that there are two sides to any story, so check with the design agency to hear their side of events.

It is important to establish if the design agency you are thinking of using can see the job through to completion? Many design agencies will use contracted web designers to assist with overflow, so you should know about this up front. You need to know if the design firm you choose has the resources to continue with the job, even if a contracted designer departs. In the same way, if you choose a self-employed designer, you need to know what may happen if they become sick, or just unhelpful. Many web design firms will have a number of employees, so your concerns will be addressed.

The cost of a bespoke website can vary a great deal. It is quite usual to pay from upwards of around £700 for a 20 page static website, depending upon the level of design and the functionality that is necessary. It also has to be borne in mind the level of work the website agency employed can produce, as well as the level of customer service they offer. An agency needs to be found that will give excellent after sales service, rather than taking your money and running for the hills. You will get what you pay for. There are many who have their websites crash after just a short time and then cannot contact the agency that designed it.

You also need to determine if the agency you are thinking of employing builds websites that are search engine friendly. The benefits of search engine optimisation (SEO) cannot be overemphasised. There are many designers who will tell you they will build sites that are SEO friendly, but in reality only have a couple of meta tags that give almost no value at all. This is not SEO.

First impressions usually do make a difference, so it is essential to ask any questions you may think are relevant. Do not be afraid to delve deep, because is you do, then the chances are that this will result in a website that you are content with and which attracts web traffic, resulting in potential customers being able to access data about your company twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

It is possible to find affordable website design with a little persistence, but most importantly do not just select one from the first couple of pages of the search engine results.

3 Reasons Why Your Website Speed Matters

In general, people don’t like to wait, wherever they are, whatever they are doing. Everywhere we are, we witness impatient people cutting the line. It’s in the humans’ genes to get what we want when we want. And this applies also on our digital life. When looking for a piece of information on the internet, we might check several websites in order to find it as we need a clear answer straight away. Therefore, it is in the businesses benefit to have a website with a fast load time. But don’t worry, it’s up to the web agency who is creating the website to make it fast.

Here are 3 main reasons why your website should open in less than 2 seconds:

Yes, Website Speed IS an SEO Factor

The fight for high ranking on search engines will never end. Every day, millions of businesses do their best in order to position their websites higher than the competition. For this, regular activities should be performed to optimize a website. And one of the very important factors of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is improving website speed.

Google has secrets. Some of them are still undisclosed, and others have been revealed. What is no more a secret for SEO agencies, due to an announcement made in 2010, Google doesn’t like slow websites; therefore, they could be penalized in ranking. Of course, no business would want that, or else it will be outperformed by the competition with faster load page.

Faster access to information = better user experience

Active internet users are faced with hundreds of information daily. This shows that the internet keeps them busy. And we all know that no busy person like to wait. So once users visit a website, they expect to receive the information needed as soon as they click on a page. Otherwise, they will look elsewhere.

This not only affects the user experience but also, in a more complicated way, the ranking of the website. To explain this point, we need your full attention. When a user accesses a slow website, he tends to quickly move away from it. The results of this action are 1) a high bounce rate (the percentage of website visitors who leave a site after viewing one page), 2) less opportunities for the content to be shared which is also an SEO factor, and 3) Google registers the website as irrelevant to the user’s need. As you can guess, these 3 points have a direct relation with the ranking of the website in SERP as it won’t be considered as a significant source of information.

Mobile internet users are on the rise

Since the big wave of smartphones, more and more people are accessing the internet via their mobile. In 2014, 94% of internet users in the Middle East surfed the web with their mobile. This represents a huge number for any business operating in the region. The main reason for users connecting online via their mobile is that they’d need information on-the-go, in other terms, as quick as possible. So making them wait results in the same consequences as the previous point.

In addition, a fast website speed is crucial for online stores, for the reasons mentioned and more. In 2015, around 50% of online shoppers used their mobile to purchase, which also represented a promising opportunity. Therefore, building an eCommerce website with a fast load time increases conversions. How? Well, as you probably know, in order to purchase online, a user passes through a process of several pages. So, a customer attempting to buy from a slow website will end up abandoning his cart.

In conclusion, several studies showed that internet users would wait on average 2 seconds for the page to load before losing patience. According to KissMetrics, a load page of 2 seconds has an abandonment rate of 10%. This rate increases to 25% when adding 2 more seconds to the load page. There are several tools to make sure that the web agency, when building your website, took into consideration the website speed. For example, check Pingdom in order to see if your site fits in the average or needs optimization for a better performance.

Hiring the Right Web Design Agency

Web Design is an area that includes a wide spectrum of service providers such as web designers and web developers who may be individual freelancers or part of small and mid-level digital agencies with niche skill set employees or the bigger high-end design studios with bigger employee count, larger infrastructure and capability to provide expanded services.

Web Design companies always strive to exceed the expectations of their clients in providing services; however, companies who desire a web presence have to be extremely careful in choosing the right web design company primarily because the service provider has to intuitively understand and provide what the company needs for a wholesome web presence. Factors such as user-friendly navigation, compelling design and flow, SEO friendliness etc. have to in addition be attractive but productive enough to convert prospects into customers.

Every company that needs a web presence has to ask upfront some very pertinent questions; these could be customized depending on the need-of-the-hour but broadly cover the following areas.

• The web design company’s qualifications, designations and experience – a long standing company has earned its reputation by longevity which is a fairly good indicator of skill and the stability of the enterprise. It also translates into sound design work and reputation for excellent customer service. This is very important because several start-ups die out leaving an organization flustered when looking for upgrades and maintenance. Any agency with fair amount of experience, client interaction and sound qualifications is worth a try.

• The employee count and specific roles and skills – the agency does not have to be a big one but specific skills need people to play those roles – web designer, web developer, graphic designer, programmer, project management, etc. along with skilled sales & marketing people.

• Other skills provided besides web design – for an effective web design, the agency has to be adept at search engine marketing, content writing, search engine optimization, social media marketing etc. The services provided have to match the requirements of the company seeking the services. In addition, capability in defined areas such as quality checking and testing, programming languages, operating systems and conformity to web standards is a must.

• Willingness to understand business knowledge and provide a formal proposal – any agency that takes time to understand what the business needs in terms of current existence, improving sales and turnover goals, future prospecting, and many other aspects will clearly have the upper hand in creating a website that plays a great part in brand and internet marketing goals.

• Average timelines for job completion – the formal proposal of the agency should include realistic timelines with systematic tracking of design approvals, changes and amendments as work progresses and provide fresh timelines at each stage with proper co-ordinated effort from the rest of the team.

• Payment terms – any web design company that charges a full upfront fee should be kept at arm’s length. Only those who design payment terms on stage by stage basis with agreed deliverables and payment milestones should be encouraged. It may also be necessary to know if payment terms include future maintenance, providing updates and versions, providing relevant content and testing etc.

• A sound Privacy of Information and Non-Disclosure Policy – this is extremely crucial as the agency may have access to sensitive information that cannot fall into wrong hands. Besides, the concept itself should be kept in strict secrecy to prevent competitors and business adversaries getting hold of it and taking away the originality of the design and content.

• Outsourcing to third parties – if the agency is in the habit of outsourcing components of the worth to third parties, it is better upfront to know what components and who the third-party agencies are. It is also necessary to know if they are in different geographical locations.

Most companies make one crucial mistake in hiring a web design agency – picking the one that quotes the lowest price. A web agency that quotes a lower rate is not always the one with best service. At the end of the exercise a badly designed website can frustrate the business as well as visitors resulting in poor impression, loss in sales and revenue and bring down the web presence even before it takes off.

Five Tips to Choosing the Right Digital Agency For You

With the growth of the internet still at a peak and e-commerce sales at a 13% increase for February 2009, typical of the year on year growth of e-commerce sales, a digital agency could be a vital factor in the survival of many businesses already online or looking to launch themselves onto the internet. Some digital agencies will try to sell you cheap services, and the result is normally a cheap looking campaign. Pushing your business on the internet is an expensive and time consuming process, however, if you work in partnership with a successful digital agency, the outcome can be extremely profitable.

But how do you spot the good from the bad? These five simple tips could be the most important advice you take in regards to the future online success of your business, saving you from wasting your money on an ill fated campaign by directing you towards a digital agency that will work with you for the long haul.

1. Look at their website: If a digital agency has a poorly designed or inaccessible website advertising themselves, how do they expect to sell themselves as a web design agency to potential clients? During the decision making progress, take time to navigate around the website of possible digital agencies. If their site is well designed and uses new technology such as flash, you know that these features will be available to you. If the digital agency has the staff and the technological resources to create an impressive website for themselves, they should apply this to their clients and their clients projects.

2. Look at their previous work and their other clients: Most digital agencies will be eager to show off their previous and ongoing work. Their website will probably contain a portfolio or links to the websites they have designed and marketed. It is a good sign if a digital agency has large and small businesses in the client portfolio as this shows dedication to any work they are employed with, and the ability to manage large scale launches and marketing campaigns. Do you like the work that the digital agency has done for these clients? Has it won awards or been effective in selling more products? If you like the work they have done in the past, it will make it easier for you to work together in the management of your online business features.

3. Are they in it for the long haul? Having a profitable presence on the internet is more than just a successful website launch. If you are looking for a sustainable income from your website, through an e-commerce store for example, you will need continuous marketing support. If an agency offers marketing strategies along side its web design/development services, take advantage of this. The best digital agencies will employ marketing professionals to ensure that once your website has been launched onto the internet, it achieves maximum publicity. There are a number of different ways to achieve this which can be discussed during the proposal stage.

4. Take a look at the team: When you are considering a digital agency and what you want them to do for you, take a look at the staff they employ. Smaller digital agencies with a handful of staff members may find themselves overstretched. Ideally, staff members will specialise in one field be it website design, website development, web content writing, online marketing, and accounts management. Under this process, each member of staff dealing with your account will have a brief to work to and can focus on their task instead of spreading themselves too thinly over the project. The less work a member of staff has to do, the better they will do it.

5. Points mean prizes! Professional awards are difficult to be nominated for, let alone win. There is huge competition for every nomination and judging panels take the process very seriously. Awards and qualifications from search engines are impressive, as are specialist accolades from media publications, regional business awards and industry awards. Recognition from others in their own field should be taken notice of when choosing the right digital agency for you.

By following these tips you are sure to find a digital agency that will be a useful ally on the World Wide Web, increasing traffic to your website and thus boosting your profits.

Website Design – Things to Look Out For Before You Outsource Website Design

If you are not well-verse in website design and development, developing a website can be a very tedious process. You need to deal with all sorts of things like HTML, tables, CSS, slicing, etc. So I believe that you should spend your time on what you do best and outsource website design to an experienced web design agency.

When you decide to outsource website design, it is important that you find a trustworthy and capable agency to do the job. In this article, let me share with you a few things to look out for before you outsource your website design.

Firstly, you must know who you are dealing with. Usually, an agency will send a designer and a salesperson to talk to you about the project. During the meeting, you should ask them a series of questions before you decide to engage them. No question should be left in your mind. This is the best time to clear any doubt you have. On the other hand, they should have a series of questions to ask you too. They will want to find out the direction, corporate color, target audience and other information about your business. You should try your best to answer every question so that they can design a website that suits your vision.

Next, if you do not have a clear design for the designer to work on, you should give the designer a few sites to take reference from. Try to give the designer as much information as possible to facilitate the process. Once they are done with the first draft, they should send you the initial sample. Take a look at the sample and don’t be afraid to point out anything that you don’t like about it.

When you outsource your website design to an agency, open communication is very important. They will not mind if you drop them an email with more information or when you have any question about the website. Open communication minimizes misunderstanding and makes the project goes smoothly.

These are some of the things to look out for if you want to outsource your website design to an agency. If you are not well-verse in web design, it is best that you spend your time on the things that you do best. Leave the tedious development to the professionals.

A good website is like a good salesperson. You should not compromise the quality of your website for anything. So be serious about this and create a good website that will bring you more business.