Find the right web agency

Following the launch of our Leap Projects, our advertising campaign placed our innovative approach to web development alongside other agencies with their own limited time offers. More often, these are low budget, flat cost deals for a website (e.g.: Website for $500!) that seem too good to be true.

When we introduced Leap Projects last week, we wanted to solve the problems that come with cheap development. Too many of our clients come to us from with horror stories of previous web developers they’ve worked with. To date, the tale often sounds something like:

“I wanted to save costs, so I went with a developer who offered to do the job for [low, low price] Everything seemed fine at first, but as time went on I realized the quality fell short of my expectations and reflected poorly on my brand.”

A few months ago, our friends at Webrunner Media published a well-written article about why paying less for website creation will cost you much more in the long run. In their words: Less Budget = Less Time = Less Effort. We generally agree. However, sometimes clients just don’t have that budget for a full-service web agency. You can only work with what you have.

So, how can you find the right agency, without breaking the bank?

1) Ditch the three digit offers

Between our own experiences and experiences shared with us, even small-tier projects under $2,000 tend to come out poorly, often resulting in an investment loss. However, we’ve seen first hand how damaging to all parties a three digit promotion can be ($100 – $999).

With the advent of DIY web builders, it’s easy to forget that web developers, and agencies whom employ them, need to make a living. It just isn’t feasible for anyone to create something worth creating with such low cost.

Even at a low rate, a $500 website translates to 1-2 days of service. Is that enough time to properly understand the client’s needs and expectations? Is that enough time to create something of quality that will encapsulate the client’s brand? Probably not.

2) Look at the shoemaker’s shoes

Many of our clients have something in common; our website inspires them. It’s a measure of our quality and capability. Clients often tell us this:

“We’re reaching out to you because I want our website to look like yours.”

That’s a pretty powerful statement. A web agency’s website doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but it should be reflective of the services it offers. If you’ve found yourself tempted by a web agency with an offer like the one above, take the time to navigate through their website and imagine your website similar to theirs. Ask yourself the question: Will a website like this inspire my visitors to become my clients?

3) Assess their flexibility

Flexibility is a hard balance to achieve as a web agency. On one hand, an agency that’s overly rigid with handling requests is ill-desired. On the other hand, a team that’s willing to handle every request without considering the project’s scope are setting up their own failure.

When discussing scope changes or feature requests, let the agency explain why something should or should not be done. Is your request instantly dismissed, or is the agency doing their best to explain why it can’t be done? Are they suggesting alternatives? Are they requesting more budget?

Alternatively, is your agency approving every request without taking the time to discuss them with you? If an agency is not trusting its own experience and performing tasks without integrity, the quality of your website may start plummeting fast.

Find an agency who takes the time to review a request and discuss its feasibility with you. Listen to their experiences and suggestions. These are the agencies that have your best interests in mind.

4) Go for passion, not age

A challenge faced by young entrepreneurs is the expectation that they’re not as skilled as their older, more veteran counterparts. The website industry suffers from the belief that younger = cheaper.

We’ve been lucky to collaborate with many agencies – working with teams of managers, developers, designers, and other specialists of all ages. My experience is that the more passionate someone is, the better quality they deliver. Age plays a non-vital role when it comes to defining traits which make a web specialist great at what they do.

When meeting with an agency, are you meeting with a salesperson looking to seal the deal? Or are you meeting directly with a member of the team that will share your passion and work it into your website? A website built with passion, for a passionate brand, radiates excellence.

I can write plenty on this subject from personal experience (spoilers for our next article).

Wrapping up

It’s tempting to grab the cheapest price possible. Your website will be your most precious investment as a company – make sure you choose the right agency for your online needs!