Having a website is a necessity if you wish to build a successful business. We live in a digital world and a good part of our life is online. We shop online, we consume our media content online, we communicate through social media and so much more. So, every successful business must have an online presence.
Building a website isn’t easy and most of us can’t do it. That means we need to hire a web designer to build one for us. However, you also have to be certain that you are hiring a capable professional, so, here are some red flags and signs that show you that the web design agency you’ve stumbled upon is not good.
1. Lack Of Portfolio
Lack of portfolio can only mean two things – a bad designer or a beginner. Of course, a beginner is not necessarily bad, we all had to start from somewhere, but chances are you won’t get the results you’re hoping for from someone inexperienced. However, if you do decide to work with someone inexperienced, you do know what you’re getting into and you’re probably going to spend less.
On the other hand, a lack of portfolio can mean that you’re dealing with someone of questionable quality, which is something that everyone should avoid. A good web design agency needs to have a catalog of their previous work so you can see what you’re getting for your money’s worth. Lack of portfolio is often a big red flag and we wouldn’t recommend seeing out professional help from an agency without an extended one.
2. Too Expensive/Too Cheap
We can all agree that there are no regulations when it comes to designer fees. The prices vary from several hundred to several tens of thousands of dollars based on a lot of things. However, what you can expect from a good agency is the standard or average asking price for the services required. You always want to look for those kinds of agencies.
Granted, the fees are determined by a variety of factors. Agencies will charge based on their experience, portfolio, the complexity of the project, and more. They will have different rates for non-profits, small or large business as well. All of that is taken into account when a fee is being set and if you happen to notice that it is too low or way too high based compared to the others – it’s a sign that you should keep looking.
3. No Fee Discussions Beforehand
If you hear the words ‘We’ll talk about it later’ when you ask about the price – just move on. If an agency isn’t upfront about their fees or they won’t discuss prices until the finalization of the project something isn’t right. This is not a common practice, because unless you’re really in a hurry for a website, there’s no risk for the client. You won’t lose money and you can’t be forced into paying unless there’s a contract and we assume you wouldn’t sign anything unless you knew how much you’d have to pay. Usually what this means is that you’re dealing with someone inexperienced and unprofessional and they genuinely have no clue as to how much to charge or what to do and that’s why they’re bad.
4. Nothing But Web Design
As a businessman, you understand the value of marketing and a variety of services. A website is a marketing tool and if the agency offers nothing but design, it’s probably not a very good one. There’s more to an online presence than just having an About Me page and a few photos. According to www.punchbugmarketing.com, a good web design agency will not only focus on graphic and web design but will also offer other services like email marketing, SEO, content creation, social media strategy and management, and more. Keep this in mind and always look for those that offer more.
5. Design Over Functionality
A website isn’t an art piece – it’s not there to look pretty. Of course, it should look aesthetically pleasing and it should follow all the latest design trends, but, understand this – designers aren’t artists, they’re problem solvers. A website should be functional, easy to use, and even easier to navigate. Those three things are the most important factors of a website. Looking pretty comes in second place. There were many surveys on the subject and all of them show that people prefer the functionality of a website over the looks. When a site is easy to use and navigate, people tend to stay longer and when they stay longer – they buy your product.
6. No Contract
As someone who takes pride in being a business owner and an entrepreneur, you understand the value of a contract. It serves a major purpose and without it, there are just too many uncertainties. Sure, there are some advantages to working without a contract – meaning, you can haggle, reject the project if you’re not satisfied with the results, and so on. However, it also means you’re probably getting a bad product – in this case, a website. You should always ask for a contract as it makes things perfectly clear and both parties know what they have to do and what they can expect. It’s just a proper way to do business – no other way around it.
7. No Updates
If you were to hire a firm to build you a house, you would visit the site at least once a week to see how things are going. Well, a website is your online house, and just like with any other project, staying up to date and tracking progress is essential. Not only to see whether the agency you’ve hired is staying on schedule but to know and see how are things progressing, are there any problems, are there any changes, and so on. You always have to stay in touch. If your designer isn’t updating you, at least once a week, demand an update immediately and request that you keep getting them until the project is finished. If they can’t do it – find the ones that can.
Just like in any other business, there are red flags and warning signs when it comes to web designing agencies. We’ve highlighted some of the most common and probably the most troublesome, so you can easily identify a problem before it happens.