Finding a Digital Agency: What to Look for in a Web Design or Web Development Agency?

Narrow down your digital agency selection using our handy top ten tips on choosing a web design agency.

1) Check out their own site

Do you like it? Does it sell to you? Does it contain all the types of skills that you’re looking for e.g. good web design, well designed user interface, well built, works on mobiles. Does it impress you?

2) Ask to look at their portfolio

Are the case studies recent? Do you recognize the company names? Do a Google search and check that the companies exist and have the same website that the agency designed. Do you like the website designs they have produced? Ask yourself: Do they represent the company well? Would you use this website? Do they have experience of website design in your field? Do the website’s meet their objectives?

3) Check References

Ask the web agency if they can send you references or testimonials from customers. And when you get these testimonials, make sure you check them out. Call the clients up and check that the testimonials are real.

Finally, ask how long the agency has been running. Age doesn’t always matter, but it does help to identify experience.

4) Capabilities

All agencies will be good at some things and not at others. Find out what they have experience in and what they do well, they often have a bias to one content management technology or another. Often, it’s helpful to get the CV’s of all staff employed. The best agencies will have a balance of online marketing, development and creative. If you have specific requirements – make a list and ask the agency what their proficiency is in the specific skills.

5) Availability – Service levels

Check that they can meet your needs. Quite often companies have a client account team in the UK but their main development team may be based elsewhere. Make sure you get a phone number not just an email address (and not a premium rate number either). Ask the web design agency what the turnaround time is for responding to emails.

6) Resourcing

You want your web design agency to be big enough to ensure that if your account manager is off sick or on holiday your business is not forgotten.

Do you prefer a larger, higher resourced agency or a smaller, more flexible agency? The general rule would be to find a web agency that’s resourced to reflect the size of tasks and projects you require. If you have 1000 employees but your actual marketing and development budget is reasonably low, you are only likely to need an agency of 5-10 employees. If you have 100 employees, but you are heavily reliant on outsourced projects, a larger agency may be more suitable. No one size fits all!

7) Age of agency

Age doesn’t always matter, but in this industry it can be an important factor. The web has seen many changes in a relatively short space of time, if a website design agency has been in business for five or more years it have obviously been managed well. The internet has seen the boom and bust of many company’s; those that live to tell the tale are obviously being run well.

8) Are the staff approachable and professional?

It’s important that you connect with the people managing your account. The best results will be created when you forge a partnership with your web agency.

Do they provide an off the shelf package, or do they tailor their resources to your needs? Do they use a lot of jargon or explain things clearly? Have they provided relevant suggestions suitable for your business? Far too often, company’s try to sell you products that you don’t need and are not tailored to your needs.

9) Check out the agency’s terms and conditions

This is quite important and helps avoid problems further down the line. Here’s some helpful questions to ask:

  • Are there any hidden costs, like set up fees or holding fees?
  • Can you make staged payments for your web project?
  • Are updates and maintenance included in the website design fees?
  • Are bug fixes charged for?
  • Will you get a copy of the source files?
  • Who owns the source code?
  • Who owns copyright of the design?
  • Are the files back-up?
  • Will it work on smartphones?

10) Do they outsource their work?

Check to see if your project will be developed in house or if it will be outsourced. Ask to meet the design or technical team. If work is going to be outsourced, find out where, are you able to contact the team? There are many cases of company’s who have an account management team, and an outsourced development team. It’s common for technical development to be done off shore as resources abroad are cheaper. The problem with this scenario is guaranteeing the quality of the work produced. Does the account management team check the back end code? Does it meet current guidelines and legal requirements? Can they be flexible enough to meet your needs?

Want a web agency with a difference contact Alchemy Interactive

Finding the Best Website Development Agency

As a business, finding the right web development company is not easy; as there are lots around offering state of the art services at record low prices.

Not to mention offshore companies based in Spain, India and the US – why not work with them. They are after all cheaper (mostly) and may be able to do a better job.

Using a local web development agency.

The main benefit with working with a local agency is that you can visit them and discuss the project face to face. Having an initial meeting with the agency will ensure they are competent and also help in communicating what the project is.

What about using an offshore web agency?

Quality – this would be hard to control if you cannot meet the agency. Skype and webenars are all well and good, but nothing beats a face to face for being able to communicate and discuss.

Remembering that only 10% of communication is verbal, talking on the phone or via e-mail means that the web agency misses 90%.

Which agency if you opt for a UK agency?

There is criteria that most companies look for when choosing a web agency

  • Do they understand the project?
  • Have they experience of your industry?
  • What will it cost?

These are the main things that come up when looking for a web company.

Meet with the agency (as mentioned) is the best way to a/ get a feel for the agency and if they are the sort of agency for you b/ they do understand your project. Many companies will say they understand when they really do not (as no one wants to tell a customer ‘we do not understand’ – could loose the client) understand.

If the agency has worked in your sector previously then they are much better equipped to tackle your project, contribute to is and also second guess to problem solve.

Comparing quotes from local web development companies is really the best way of finding out what the market price is. All companies charge differently and some are quite expensive – to avoid paying over the odds it is advised to get a few quotes.

Absolute Must Know First Basic Steps to Start Small Business Online and Be Successful

Starting a small business online can be a great way to go into business for yourself. An online business can be started on a shoestring budget. You can start a small online business and earn a full- or part-time income from home or anywhere in the world. Operating your business exclusively online enables you to complete all transactions, provide customer service, and manage the entire business, all from your computer. There are several steps you can follow when you are starting a small business online. Anyone, from beginner to seasoned online marketer, can benefit tremendously from learning and applying the following steps.

Find a need and fill it

The first thing you need to do is to look for a profitable market. Most beginners look for a product first, and then try to find a market. That is a big mistake and will often lead to failure. To increase your chances of success, you need to start with a market. You need to identify a group of people who are desperately searching for a solution to a problem. There are many Internet resources that make it easy to do this kind of market research.

Start by visiting online forums to find out what people want. Spend some time on various popular forums, and read the posts. Pay attention to what questions people keep asking and what problems they are trying to solve.

Another way to find out what people want to buy is to perform keyword research. There are many online tools that help to do this research. The trick is to find keywords have a huge number of searches but low competing websites.

Once you have found out what people are searching for, you can sell a product that provides solution to their problem. So look for a market that already exists, and then cater to their needs.

Set Up Your Website

You need a website to sell products or services online. Once you have found your market and product, and you have nailed down your selling process, it’s time to set up a website your business. Some people build their own website by using website creation software or readymade templates. There are also web design services, and these services can help you set up a website that is designed to run a successful business online.

Drive Targeted Traffic To Your Small Business Online Website

To make sales, you need to get buyers to your website. Potential customers will not know about your product if they can’t find your website. There are several ways to get your website in front of people who are looking for the product you are selling.

Pay-per-click advertising is the quickest and easiest way to drive targeted traffic to a website. When you use this method, you can start generating immediate traffic. You can also use search engine optimization to rank your website high in the organic search results.

Other methods of generating website traffic include article writing, banner ads, email marketing, and online classified ads. Video marketing is also a great way to distribute information about your website and product. You can also promote your website by participating in social networking sites and forums where your target audience hangs out.

Take Action

Thousands of people have started their one successful businesses by following these steps. Many have amassed great fortunes in their own businesses. And there’s no reason why you cannot do the same. Use these steps to start and grow your own small business online.

Now You Can Ask an Interior Designer Online For All Your Interior Design Advice

You may be one of the many people who wish that there was a less expensive way of getting professional advice when it comes to decorating your home, than hiring someone directly. Well now you are able to ask an interior designer online for all your interior design advice, any time you need it. Like knowing how to put stripes and flowers together well or what you should be doing that will give your home the distinctive, design forward look that you’ve been dreaming of.

The age of getting all kinds of advice has been here for a while and when it comes to asking an interior designer online for advice couldn’t be hotter. There are dozens of websites that let you gather inspiration and photos, as well as decorating ideas for your space, but these are not monitored by professional decorators and the design ideas may or may not be good ideas to work with your space. This can often leave you feeling as if your room is less than what you really want it to be.

Let’s face it, interior design can sometimes be tricky. If you don’t have the funds you need or the ideas you’re looking for, your space can wind up looking less than pulled together. That’s why it’s a good idea to get as many interior design ideas and as much advice as you can. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune just to get the professional designers advice you seek. Now, you don’t have to make any phone calls or schedule any appointments. All you will have to do is get interior design advice online, that will suit your taste, budget and time frame.

For instance, are you looking to make an impact in your space, but aren’t sure how to do it? Have you considered accessorizing your room? Adding accessories to a space can be one of the most challenging decorating tasks that you will have to do, but it can also add the wow factor you’ve been seeking. To keep your room from looking cluttered, you might need to seek a professional’s interior design advice.

Want to make a room look warm and inviting without causing it to look too dark or over bearing? Like the brightness a space has, but feel as if it’s too cold and stark? With a little professional assistance that you can get online, you can learn to warm up the cold space and keep the light, to create a warm, bright, inviting space that you and your guests will love to spend time in.

Got a spare bedroom that is filled up with all the reject furniture that you’ve accumulated over the years? You might want to know how to give the old furniture a new face-lift and make it look as if it were created exclusively for your space. From painting to whitewashing old wooden furniture, to creating a cozy cottage like retreat, with professional advice, your guests will never want to leave.

Your home is a haven and it should be treated as such. Now more than ever, people are focusing on the way their homes are decorated and you can get affordable professional interior design advice online. You won’t have to leave the house to create the home of your dreams anymore.

Marketing Your Small Business Online

To keep the edge over competition many businesses are finding that marketing their small business online can open up opportunities that are not available in a regular brick and mortar business that is just marketed using traditional advertising and marketing methods. Consumers are constantly researching and comparing products and services online which can give your small business exposure to a much larger and more targeted market than traditional marketing methods are able to.

It has never been easier and more cost effective marketing your small business online. There are many internet marketing advertising agencies to choose from.

Here are 4 steps to follow when choosing your online marketing campaign.

1. Choosing a domain name is the first thing you need to set up a website. A domain name is the internet address that allows other computers to find your website. Always use the extension .com because it is the most common and people will type it in from habit, so it your website ends in .net or something else your traffic could be going to the .com version of the name and your traffic is going to them. It is best to own all the available extensions of a domain name and either build different sites or redirect all extensions to the .com name. Try to use the target keyword in your domain name if possible for organic search engine optimization.

2. Building a website comes next. Remember your website is actually your business online, and first impressions can make or break you. Always remember your goal for the site and the traffic you will be driving to it. Design your website with the prospect and goal in mind, just as you would do your brick and mortar business. You have to get their attention before they will buy anything.

3. Now you are ready for business, but the old saying “If you build it they will come” does not work. There are millions and millions of websites so you must drive traffic to your website to be found. Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization are the 2 top ways people drive traffic. There are many other ways like text ads, links, articles, press releases, etc. This is where an experienced internet marketing agency can be of help.

4. Remember just because you are on the internet you cannot forget customer service, this is how you keep the customers you acquire. Many small businesses use the internet to obtain the customer then they begin to use more traditional marketing methods to market to them for future sales.

Follow these simple steps and you will soon be marketing your small business online and setting up an automated lead generating machine that will increase your ROI for years to come.