Set a Budget
Have a set budget in mind before you start doing your research. Knowing your price range will not only help you throughout the decision process, but it will keep you focused. It’s easy to become sidetracked by the numbers — especially when agencies or designers are trying to upsell you on certain services.
Knowing exactly how much you have to spend will create a lot less stress in the future. Keep in mind, however, that the cheapest option isn’t always the best and neither is the most expensive route. Your decision shouldn’t be based solely on the amount of money you’re willing to spend.
Get a feel for the person you will be working with (we’ll talk more about this in a later point).
Seek a Team with Real Design and Development Talent
If it looks good, but doesn’t work, a website is useless. If it works well, but looks bad, then it’s also useless.
To pull a website off well, the team creating it needs to be well-versed in both design and development. The best way to figure out whether a designer or agency has mastered both is to look at the portfolio pieces. What’s out there? What does that work look like? Does it function well.
The other sure-fire way to tell is to look at their own websites. If they can’t practice what they preach, how can you expect them to do good by you?
Set Up a Consultation or Ask for a Proposal
Proposals say a lot about an agency and how they function. When looking at proposals, you have an opportunity to go through each point and to ask any questions that arise. If you know exactly what it is that you want, the proposal process goes smoothly. You also have the ability to compare the different submission that you’ve received. It will help you find the right fit.
It doesn’t hurt to ask for a consultation. Sitting down with potential agencies will give you a better feel for who you’ll be working with. It’s easier to make a decision based off of a face to face meeting. There are opportunities for clarification as well.
Trust Your Instincts
This one is more simple than you may think — if you have any reservations, then they’re not the right fit for your or your business. Hesitation isn’t always a sign of something bad, but it could mean that you won’t be able to work as efficiently together.
Trust your gut and you’ll be better off for it.