Far too often, companies rely solely on the experience and knowledge of their marketing agencies to manage control of their creative assets.
While that agency may have a list of a thousand different clients, projects and success stories, it's important to remember that your business and the goals you set out to achieve are unique and specific to YOU. This is why understanding exactly what you're paying for (and why you’re paying for it), will empower you to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money.
While this may seem obvious, you'd be surprised how many business owners don't actually know what their agencies are doing, or what they’re actually paying for!
These are 4 questions you should ask before signing on with a web design agency!
1: Do you understand the information being provided?
Once you have explained your challenges and needs in as much detail as possible, ask the agency what they think your best option is, how they would go about achieving it, and what suggestions they might have to help you reach your goals. They should be able to offer suggestions fairly quickly and shouldn't hesitate to explain why a certain platform or sales system would be their first choice. Furthermore, never be afraid to ask more questions. Remember, it's YOUR business that will suffer due to mistakes made by a lack of effective communication.
2: What are you paying for, exactly?
Payments for websites usually include an upfront design and build cost, paid at 50% upfront with the remaining amount collected upon completion. Then a monthly maintenance or upkeep fee is offered as an additional service. It's important you understand what the build cost includes; what happens if you want revisions or added features; what's the expected timeline, and what happens if the work isn’t completed within the anticipated timeframe. And most importantly, how can you terminate the agreement altogether if your expectations are not being met.
Websites can be expensive, but they don't have to be. Find out what options you have and get a quote in writing to ensure you know exactly what is being offered.
3: What does maintenance cover?
Monthly maintenance plans are important as they keep your website safe, secure, updated and running at their peak performance. But just telling you that is not enough. Your maintenance plan should be explained in detail so you know what's included and what isn't. You also need to know what happens when you need to add new information like content updates, promotional changes, seasonal theme changes and edits to the SEO. The easiest way to get this information is to ask in advance what services you might need to pay for, what’s included and what’s in addition to the monthly maintenance fee.
Additionally, the cost for maintenance should range anywhere from $200 for a simple website to $500 for a heavily custom coded website. (These are the price points we use regardless of the platform).
Also if the maintenance fee covers only SEO or Ads, it’s in your best interests to ask “why”. SEO updates are rarely an intense or time-consuming job, and running Ads are typically a separate service altogether.
4: Who owns what?
When considering an agency, it's important to know how you will protect and retain control of your assets, like the website, domain, code content and copy. Should you stop working with that agency in the future or downsize your current plans, what are the terms?
Will they release the assets immediately back to you so you, or another agency, can take over or transfer management to another cloud host? Or does the website get deleted upon termination of the agency’s contract?
Protecting yourself from the start by asking about any additional service fees will save you a headache further down the road, and could cost thousands of dollars to repair! Any good creative agency will WANT to answer your questions and will be appreciative of the opportunity to be fully transparent. If they’re not, then maybe it’s time to consider a different agency.
Regardless of your business needs, there is always a option that will fit your goals and budget. Lets chat about your next project!