You will find many who are looking, many who are lost, but do you know how to find the best web design agency?

Finding the best of anything is a tall task since it is subjective. We are going to arm you with tools to set the context and find the best web design agency for your company.

While much of what we cover can be used in briefing an agency, this is not intended to replace a well thought out brief. We want to get you to a solid shortlist of contenders so that you have a formula to select your next web design partner.

Who are you?

Are you looking for a web design agency who has experience working with companies like yours or do you want someone who brings a fresh perspective from an industry you admire? Some of these questions can help you make sure an agency has experience dealing with regulations and the red tape that can come with it. If you choose someone who does not have as much experience with companies like yours, you are signing up to be their guide. Make the conscious decision to spend the time and provide the extra hand holding necessary to help both you and your agency succeed.

  • Are you a sole member LLC, a corporation, non-profit or something else?
  • What industry are you in? Are you an airline, a restaurant, a beverage company or what? Does your company span multiple industries?
  • Where do you operate? Are you a local business tied to one or two cities, are you selling across the country, or does your business span multiple countries?
  • Who do you sell to? Who is your customer? Are you selling to consumers, other businesses, or government entities?
  • Does your company or it’s products have to deal with any special regulations or oversight?

How defined is your brand?

This set of questions really helps you think about the scope that the agency will need to be able to tackle. Is the web design agency going to have to write a lot of content for you? Do they need to create images and photography? If you want a complete redesign, does that mean you are expecting them to also rebrand your agency?

  • Do you have brand guidelines or even a few slides that talk about things like your brand identity, tone of voice, and key differentiators?
  • Do you know what you are keeping, what must go, and what you are not sure about?
  • Do you have all or most of the physical assets (content, articles, photographs, images, videos, charts) that you want to be part of the project? Or, do some or all of these things need to completely change?

What is the primary function of your website?

Many of us want our website to do a lot for us. While all of those things may be important, you need to be very clear with your team and the agency as to the primary function of your website. If the primary function may be changing, that is also something to bring up proactively.

  • Are you primarily capturing leads? Are you selling something online like a mobile app or as an e-commerce site? Do you want to inform people and refer them to a retailer to close the sale? Is the site focused on get PR or social currency?
  • How complex is your website? Are you a simple 10 to 30 page site? Or, do you have hundreds or thousands of pages like many online retailers do or larger corporations? Again, how big a change will be made across the site?
  • What core technologies or integrations are used in your website and are they all fixed? Is your site on wordpress, drupal, or a CMS? If your doing e-commerce is it magento, shopify, or something else? Does the website hook into a CRM like Salesforce or a marketing automation system?

What are you trying to fix? How do you know what needs improvement?

Sometimes you know things need to be updated and improved, but it is hard to think about the larger strategy for your website. If you know that the site is working well but just needs a visual update. That is a very different piece of work than asking an agency to help you improve how the site works and think about the future on a strategic level. I have seen many agencies spend a lot of time and effort to show a client what could be. If you are not open to that or now is not the time for it, be clear up front with yourself and the agencies.

  • Have you done research, analyzed data, or received user feedback that is the foundation of why you need a web design agency? Or, are you still trying to make sense of what needs to change and why?
  • What about the current website is not working or is under performing?
  • Is there a competitor or another company whose website is an inspiration to you? What is different about it versus your own site?

Finding the right fit agency partner is hard. When it involves digital, there are a lot factors to consider. We hope this guide helps get you on the way to finding your next web partner. We hope it is a positive experience for all and are here to help if you ever find that you or your team needs outside advice on agency selection or management.