There’s a scenario we’re seeing more often than ever. Too often to be a coincidence, and in fact, so often that I’m compelled to write an article about it:
“I had a terrible experience with my last web designer. I need help.”
Despite what you might think, this isn’t a call we love to receive. And we’re always sorry to hear this all-too familiar story.
The truth is, our clients are exactly like us. Trying to do their best with the budgets they have. Small businesses can’t afford to make bad investments, and more often than not, website & digital marketing investments are among the most important a business can make.
Our hope is to prevent your business becoming victim of unethical web companies with no notable technical expertise who view the creative industry as nothing more than a cash-cow. Look for the following signs to avoid a bad web design agency.
1: Their own website is poor, broken, slow or outdated.
What did you say you were experts in again…?
If a web design agency hasn’t carved out time to keep their own house in order, they probably aren’t capable of doing it for you either.
Consider the following factors when assessing the agency’s website:
- Is the website aesthetically lovely?
- Does it load in a reasonable time?
- Is content well-written, free of spelling/grammatical mistakes and easy to consume?
- Is the website responsive? Does the website properly adjust to the screen of your device providing a unified user-experience?
With mobile devices outweighing desktop browsing, and Google devaluing non-mobile websites, your chosen web design agency should be making mobile friendly web systems. Nothing less will suffice.
2: They can’t or won’t offer Graphic Design, branding, digital marketing to compliment their offering.
A great web design company should be able to offer more than just a web design service if needed.
A number of other components are involved, including website content, on-site SEO, cohesive branding, and advice on marketing it. A website should have all these bases covered to have any chance of success.
3: Images instead of real websites in their ‘Portfolios’
Pretty, mocked-up screenshots of systems are great, but it’s not evidence of a company’s expertise.
Ask them for some websites that are live and check them out. This is a great way of determining the agency’s proficiency and of seeing how well existing clients are supported and their websites maintained.
4: They’re new or on the scene or have only been operating for a short period.
Not every new agency is bad. They all have to start somewhere!
It is however, usually, a better option to use companies with a few years in the industry. They have proven knowledge and know how to grow systems, and support clients with evolving technologies. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t still be around!
When you trust a pop-up design company, especially as a much cheaper alternative, there’s no guarantee that they will be still be around to support you when you need it most.
5: Their web design projects all look the same
I’m not saying there won’t be similarities in a designer’s work. Especially if clients are shooting for the latest design trends.
A website should be unique to your business and its niche. It should be tailored for your demographic.
This means figuring out how to build sometimes complex features, and even adding them in the future.
An agency that relies solely on the same template and is unable to get creative with design elements can’t reasonably claim to be an expert in web design.
If in doubt, ask for testimonials. If you’re unsure, reach out to the featured clients yourself and ask for their candid thoughts on their experience with the web design company in question.
Not all web design agencies are bad! Most of us are passionate about your success, are experienced, friendly and love web design!
Whether you choose to work with Frost Digital or not, if our 5 signs to look for can help you to spot a bad web design agency when you bump into one, we’ll count that as a win!