Before hiring someone to work on your digital project, it is important to ensure that the value you are getting for your money is at least up to industry standards.
Assuming that you’re at the point where you’ve chosen an agency over a freelancer, you’ll want to ask yourself and the representative the following questions.
- What is the projected timeline?
Communicate any hard timelines to the agency representative immediately to ensure the deadline is possible. Each digital agency will quote you a different turnaround time, and this piece of information will lead you to ask about the creation process.
- What platform is my website built on?
There are countless CMS (Content Management Services) offerings online, and it can be hard to choose when all of them claim to have superior performance. Unfortunately, not all platforms will allow your website to function as you intended, so it is important to educate yourself about SEO and how it is done.
- What deliverables do I agree to?
Just as we weigh the pros and cons when we purchase a home or a car, we must approach the purchase of a website much the same. As consumers, we are responsible for ensuring that the line items reflect the value of the money we are spending. We understand that a Ferrari and a moped have different price points due to performance and value. When comparing quotes from various agencies and selecting by price alone, we may end up paying Ferrari prices for moped performance.
- Is it custom-made?
With website creation, it is possible to save lots of time and money by using a template. Sometimes, a template-created website may fit your needs perfectly. Other times, you may be paying custom prices for a templated project. It is crucial to ask if your website will be custom designed for you and how many hours go into the creation. If the savings on time and money are passed onto you as a consumer, and SEO is not important, then a template may work. If you ask this question and learn that you are paying a premium for a template, it indicates that this company may be more interested in profit margins than in providing a quality service.
- Is copy included?
It is a good idea to determine whether your marketing agency will expect you to provide the text that will be going onto your website. If you are optimizing your website for search engine performance, then you will need optimized copy. If your marketing agency is foisting the responsibility to provide SEO copy back to you, it could indicate a shrinking list of deliverables while the price tag stays high.
- Do I need my website to come up when Google users are searching for topics related to my website?
While there certainly are websites that do not require placement on the search engine results page (SERP) to perform their stated mission, most modern websites need to be optimized for high placement on the results page. This is called search engine optimization (SEO), and not every website can and will be optimized in this way.
- Do I own my website, and can I take it to another developer?
To own the content on your website, you need to create your website in an open-source builder. This means that you own your website and all of the content on it. Certain platforms retain the rights and ownership of all of your content. Furthermore, some website builders use their own unique coding language, meaning that you are stuck with one company and can never go to another developer.
A website is the center of your business and so hiring a digital marketing company is a big decision. The above questions will help you ensure that you are spending your hard-earned dollars on a product that will perform what you need. Just like with a vehicle purchase, it is important to study the details of what you are paying for. Always check under the hood of vehicles (and websites!) and ask the right questions.