What to look for when hiring a web design agency

Web Design Agency Dubai

If you are a new business or a well-established company, a very crucial step of building your digital presence is to partner with the right web design and development agency.

A lot of companies would assign this job of hiring a web design agency to a marketing manager or someone in their design or digital departments and yes it can feel overwhelming at first if it’s your first time. The challenge which comes with this is that also a lot of web design agencies or freelance web designers will claim to be professional and experienced web designers, where they’re not, resulting in costing the clients thousands of dollars.

In this article, we shall share some of the key points to look out for when you are hiring a freelance web designer and developer or a web design agency. These apply across the world, regardless of which country your business operates in.

1 – Get an understanding of what you’re looking for.

Before speaking to an external party. It’s essential spending a day or few hours understanding really what you are looking for. This article will help you understand some key concepts of a web design project so you can speak to a potential agency with alot more knowledge and confidence.

It’s very important to understand that a web design process is divided into two major steps. The design and the development. They’re not the same. And they’re often not done by the same person or team either.

A web designer’s core skill-set is deep understanding of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design principles, with a basic understanding of web development technologies too.

A web developer, doesn’t require to have a designer skills. Their job is about converting the designs into code.

So in short, they’re two different jobs which means if someone claims to be a web designer, they’re not necessarily going to do web development for you. So it’s essential to clarify this part with your prospect web agency or freelancer.


2 – Ask for sample work

Now that you’ve understood the difference between a web designer and web developer. When you speak to one, or an agency that does both, you must ask them to show you example work they’ve done for previous clients. It may or may not be in the same industry but it will give you an idea of their capabilities.


3 – Ask about their work process.

Ask questions. Ask what’s the web design process that they follow? What will it be like when you sign a contract with them and what steps are included all the way towards completion.

A typical web design process includes:

  1. Understanding of the scope and project requirement
  2. Research and mood boards
  3. Wireframe before design
  4. Design and design approvals
  5. Development
  6. Content uploads
  7. Testing
  8. Go live

Some agencies may do it a bit differently but the core concept of these steps stay the same in all processes.


4 – Watch-out for unnecessary talk and tech-fluff

A lot of web design agencies are more of a sales agency than anything else. They use technical terminologies, big words and fluff to confuse the clients and make them feel like they know nothing. Watch out for these and stay away. A lot of times, they’re not technically-able either but they do hell of a good job at confusing others.

The best web design agencies are the ones that make the process easiest for the clients. That’s what they’re getting paid for.


5 – Have an after-live plan

Think about the plans after the website is live. Who will update the content, security etc. Do you have an internal capable team that can do that? If yes, introduce your tech team to the web design agency early on. If not, ask about this when speaking to the prospect web design agency or the freelance web designer. What’s included and what’s the price.


6 – Contract and payment terms

Make sure they send you a thorough contract. A web design agency without proper process and contracts in place is a red flag simply because it seems like they’re new in the business themselves.

Look and negotiate the payment terms if necessary. Usual payment terms are 50% – 30% – 20% or 30% – 50% – 20% but there is no fix standard and different agencies may have different terms.


7 – Stay away from CMS-fanboys

Some agencies or freelance web designers will try convince you to use one specific CMS simply because they only know how to use that CMS. (What’s a CMS? A content management system, where you upload your content and it shows on the live site). Ideally work with someone who has capability to work on multiple CMS-s and have a real evidence and reasoning of suggesting you a specific CMS.

A good example of this argument is, that alot of new or very small scale self-proclaimed web agencies will convince their customers to use Webflow or WIX (CMS). Simply because these agencies do not have capability or time to develop a website and Webflow allows them to use a drag and drop page builder (without any code) to make your website on a much lower budget. They’ll call themselves “webflow developers” but in reality, there is not much development required in webflow as it is a no-code or low-code platform made for individuals who do not want to write a single line of code.

No CMS is bad, but each project has it’s own requirement and a professional agency will suggest you the right CMS for your project needs. For example WordPress may be great for most sites but for e-commerce Shopify has more sophisticated systems.


8 – Web hosting

This is where your website will be hosted or all the files will be uploaded. A good web hosting makes a huge difference to security and speed of your website. Professional agencies will either recommend you a hosting company to buy hosting from, or manage it on your behalf and have their own hosting. Discuss this point as well in your initial meetings. Do not cheap out on this if you’re a serious business.


9 – Communication is the key

Most important of all. See how good or not good is their communication line. Are there language barriers? Do they really understand your brief and business requirement. Are they responsive and reliable. This is perhaps the most important thing as you’ll be spending coming few months with this team or individual, you want to make sure you both understand each other well and have a good line of communication.

There are many more things to dig-deep into but above points should set you off to a good start.

At Sundeck studio we are a premium web design and development company operating in New Zealand and United Arab Emirates, and always here to answer any questions or free consultation call. If you’re looking to get a new website for your business or just want to ask a few questions on the topic, feel free to book a free chat with us using details on our contact page.


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