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How to select a web design agency

Selecting an agency to build your website can be a difficult process. How do you find the right agency? Do you need to gain agreement from your team or important stakeholders? How will you decide which agency meets your requirements? This article is here to help you navigate the process as smoothly as possible.

How to get quotes for your build

You’re at an exciting part of your web design project. You’ve written the brief and you’re ready to send it out to get some quotes for your project, but where is the best place to source quotes?

You can start by doing some detective work and reaching out to agencies that have worked on similar projects, or on websites that people in your organisation like. Sometimes you’ll find the link to the agency that developed a website in the footer of the site itself.

You might want to do a shout-out on your social media and newsletter for quotes. If you tag @ace_dcn on Twitter, we will often retweet this for you as well. Your audiences may know of someone to recommend or amplify your request.

You can also post about the project online. Here are a few ideas for places you can post your brief to gain some quotes for your project:

Working within your budget

Giving an idea of your budget and timeline within your quote will help agencies understand the scope of the project and if they can work within your timescales and budget.

This will mean that you get relevant quotes, and it will also save time on both sides.

Team buy-in and criteria for success

Selecting an agency can be quite divisive. For team buy-in, what does your team need to know to make them feel confident they’ve selected the right agency to take the project forward?

Setting some questions based on the brief you’ve submitted can help decide the agency that will be the best option for everyone. You can decide these with your team and stakeholders.

They can include things like:

  • Can demonstrate they understand our audience’s needs
  • Can show that the design works well on a mobile
  • Has considered accessibility
  • Previous experience in the sector
  • Has created a similar website
  • Has knowledge of our CRM or ticketing system
  • And so on …

Maybe choose 3 or 4 things to use to evaluate the work they send back. You can create and agree on these with the team before you ask the agencies to work on something for you and explain what you’ll be looking for in order to make the decision. You can create the criteria from the things you’ve mentioned in the brief.

When the pitches come back from agencies, you can make a shortlist of 3 or 4 to arrange meetings with. Use these meetings to get a better feel for the agencies and the way they work, and ask them the questions you defined above.

But how do you decide as a team which one is the best fit for you? One way to do this is to set criteria for success. If you use a simple scoring system from 1 to 3 this can be really helpful.

  1.  = Does not meet requirements
  2.  = Meets requirements
  3.  = Exceeds requirements

You can then individually assess and use this to score each question, and the combined highest scorer could then win the pitch.

Next steps

Once you’ve selected an agency, you might find our article on the web design process useful to understand what happens next.

Further Support

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up for our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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