What should you be looking for in a Michigan web design agency?

Choosing the right agency to build your new website is a big cost for many businesses. A lot of variables have to be accounted for as you look for a company that can satisfy your business’s needs, and some of those variables may not even be ones you know much about. We do a lot of educating, especially in our early marketing stages, so that our clients understand what questions they should ask as they shop around. And because we’ve gotten positive feedback about these tips in the past, we thought we’d share them on our blog.

Is this list pretty self-serving?

Yes.

Yes it is.

But we still think these are some of the best qualifications you could look for if you were trying to find a web design agency for your business. So even though this may pat our own back a bit, bear with us. By the time you finish, we think you’ll agree.

1. They do custom WordPress development.

We’re starting our list off in a pretty technical place, but for a good reason: this is your most important deciding factor. If you don’t want custom WordPress, you need to know up front so that you don’t spend a lot of time looking at companies that are out of your price range. And if you don’t yet realize why custom WordPress is important, now’s the time to get educated.

Read our post: 7 Reasons You Need a WordPress CMS Website

Fortunately, we’ve written about this subject a lot: what differentiates custom web design from pre-made themes, why having a self-hosted website is important for your business, and why you should especially should make this choice if you’re an ecommerce store flirting with the idea of Shopify Plus. You can survive with those other options, but custom WordPress is the choice you won’t regret.

2. Their website lives up to their reputation.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s move on to something much more intuitive: their web design. Plenty of websites will have portfolios of their work, but even a good agency may have some duds in the bunch. After all, sometimes we build a site for a client and then they change things and by the time they’ve finished we no longer want to put our name on it.

But our own website is the one thing we have complete control over. And while plenty of good agencies get busy enough to land in a “cobblers children have no shoes” situation, you should still be able to recognize a site with good structure and usability.

3. Their sites tick all the boxes for mobility, accessibility, and user-friendliness.

Speaking of good structure, while you’re on their site, pay attention to how it feels. Is it easy to navigate? Can you find what you’re looking for? How does it look on mobile? Are there any aspects of the design that you struggle with, particularly when it comes to the small details such as hover states or clickable icons?

A common mistake many agencies make, especially if web design isn’t their first specialty, is to handle a website the same way they handle print. But websites aren’t static—they’re responsive. Your web designers need to understand this and respect the differences to build a truly functional site.

Read our post: Unpopular Opinion: Your Print Design Skills Do Not Transfer to Web

4. They understand hosting, security, SEO, and all the nuts and bolts of running a website.

Web design is about more than appearances. It’s also about a lot of technical framework underpinning the entire design. If you’re working with a designer who doesn’t understand how their decisions will affect the workings of the site, then you shouldn’t hesitate to question how good they really are at their job.

Design and development fit together like a dovetail joint. But it goes beyond even this: you’re probably working with a web design agency because you don’t understand or want to deal with a lot of the backend technicalities. Your web design agency should be able to walk you through that and help you as much as possible. After all, you’re looking for a good, long-term relationship with them. Make sure they can satisfy your needs.

5. They take digital privacy concerns seriously.

A lot of websites have security vulnerabilities, but they assume it doesn’t matter because they’re not large enough to be a target—right? Well, think of it this way: you’ve probably had your fair share of computer viruses. Even when they aren’t maliciously hacking your accounts and stealing your money, they can still be slowing down your computer, quietly gathering your data, and spreading themselves to all your contacts.

Similarly, if your website’s security becomes compromised, it can become a threat not just to your business, but to your customers as well. And that threat can have legal consequences if it compromises your customer’s privacy. And it’s not just security: digital privacy rights are important, and you want to work with a web firm that values them. So talk to them about their stance on digital privacy and learn about how they handle it in their business.

6. They talk to you about your business and get to understand your needs.

Your business is important to you, and we get that. It’s not just that it’s a source of income for you and your employees, it’s also a point of pride for many of you as well. And if you’re a non-profit on a mission, it could also have impact on your community. So you don’t want to work with someone who treats your business like any other.

As a premiere Michigan web design agency, we understand the importance of that local connection. There’s a lot of pride across our state for its history, its culture, and its natural beauty. And a lot of our businesses are engaged in their communities as well—which we know, because we’ve worked with them to build their local SEO.

7. They’re transparent about their pricing and other associated costs.

Pricing can be complicated for any web agency as everyone handles costs like routine maintenance, hosting, overages, and service calls differently. So long as the customer understands what costs they will incur and when, then no harm no foul. But agencies and clients alike can run into trouble when expectations aren’t set early. Be sure to ask your agency what the scope of your contract covers and how they handle additional costs.

2019 Pricing & Services Guide

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

8. They have a history of excellence when working with other clients.

Finally, any established web design company should be able to give you plenty of references for past work. If you have difficulty tracking down a history of their successful client projects, then this should be a red flag that they either don’t have the experience you need, or they aren’t able to retain clients for long-term commitments.

We’re your best choice for Michigan web design. There. We said it.

After laying out the above principles, it shouldn’t surprise you that we follow all of them. These are values we hold close to our hearts, and we believe that any business looking for a Michigan web design company would be well-served to follow them as well.

You can take our word for it—but you don’t have to. Do your own research. Find what traits will best fit your business, or ask other companies to define what makes their business tick. And once you’ve done all that, come talk to us. We can’t wait to pitch you our proposal.

Published 08/29/19 by Laura Lynch