You need a new website, that much is clear – but there are thousands of website design and development agencies out there. How do you choose one?
For some companies, the answer might be simple: “You pick whoever is closest,” or “You go with whoever you’ve worked with before.”
That’s not always the best approach, though, and if you’ve never worked with a web design agency before, it’s no approach at all.
This is especially true for NPOs and cause-driven organizations. Your website is your most important asset. It’s also the place where you make your largest “ask” – for people to donate their money or time. As such, you can’t choose a website design and development partner a la smorgasbord. Instead, you’ve got to make a choice that takes your needs, goals, and trajectory into consideration.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you pick the right agency for you:
Website Design Matters
There are some people out there who think web design is a mere “nice to have.”
While it’s true that a beautiful website is visually satisfying, it’s so much more than that. In fact, well-designed sites serve dozens of important purposes: they can boost your conversions, increase donations, and drive more visitation.
Here are a few web design stats to chew on:
- According to Adobe, when people are given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of them would prefer to read something beautifully designed than something boring and plain
- 39% of people will leave a website with images that don’t load, or which take too long to load
- 38% of people will leave a website that features ugly or unengaging design or content
- 44% of people will bounce from websites with no contact information
- 52% of website visitors want to be able to navigate from the homepage to “about us” information
5 Ways to Find the Right Website Design and Development Partner
1. Find a firm that wants to understand your vision
Good web design companies work with their clients to understand what makes them unique and bring it to life. They’re willing to go back and forth with you until you’re on the same page. The firm should feel receptive, and you should feel comfortable bringing them your input.
Think of web design as a partnership: the firm brings you their technical expertise, you bring them your vision, and together you make something unique and outstanding.
2. They have their own input
The reason you’re hiring a web design company is that you’re not an expert. While a firm shouldn’t override your vision, they should have their own ideas on how to make your site pop.
These ideas should mesh with your vision, and shouldn’t feel overbearing or rude. Remember: communication is vital!
3. They design with your website user in mind
As an NPO, your users are your most important asset. As such, the company you choose to design your website should be user-focused.
How can they make your website experience easier and more positive for your customers?
Here are a few things to insist upon when you hire an agency:
- They excel at responsive design
- They can build donation platforms, apps, and other interfaces to help your company thrive
- They will optimize your site for mobile (mobile devices currently account for 2 of every 3 minutes spent online), desktop, and tablet access
4. They have an impressive portfolio you like
Never hire a website design and development firm without first reviewing their portfolio. This isn’t so much to ensure that the firm can do the work they promise (although that’s part of it), but more to ensure that you like the style of work they put out.
Not only is past work the best indicator of future work, but their past work will give you an idea of their style and finished products, and decide if you like the outcome.
Before you hire a firm, read customer reviews, poke around the sites they’ve designed, check out testimonials. Are people happy with their work? Are the sites they design easy to use? Are they attractive? Do their sites feel like something you’d use? Remember, each design firm has a unique style. While they’ll adjust it to suit yours, the process will be easier if you start with a firm whose work you already like.
5. They understand the importance of conversions
It’s not enough to have a pretty website – it also needs to convert customers. That said, this firm should understand things like layout, SEO tactics, behavioral economics, and how to use color to elicit reactions.
A Great Website Starts With a Great Website Design and Development Agency
Your website serves a much larger purpose than just educating customers. Instead, it creates an emotional reaction, provides information, and helps drive your mission forward.
Obviously, you don’t want to trust that to just anyone.
By handing the reins over to a skilled website design and development team, you can ensure a great website that serves your purpose and caters to your visitors.
Need some help creating a beautiful site for your organization? Contact Creative Science Labs for website design and development services!