You’re looking for a good Oxford web designer...
But, blimey, there are a lot of them.
So, how can you tell if an Oxford web developer is suitable for you? How do you judge them? Which ones should you approach?
The short answer is to come straight to us at Intuitiv Digital, we’re based very near Oxford.
That wouldn’t make for much of a blog article though, would it?
So, let’s take a less-biased look at picking the right Oxford website design company for your business.
Before you find a web design agency, you need to compile information about what you’ve already got, website-wise, and what you want from your new website.
You can then use this information to put together a brief that you can send to the Oxford web designer.
Here’s a handy briefing template you can use.
Word-of-mouth recommendations should be added to your shortlist straightaway. It’s hard to beat positive testimonials and referrals.
And, of course, search engines.
It’s probably not a good sign if the digital agency you’re looking at is not appearing on the first couple of SERPs (search engine results pages). Especially if you’re doing a local search, like ‘Oxford web designers’ or ‘website design company Oxford’.
If they haven’t got the know-how or inclination to get their own site ranking high, that doesn't bode well for your website.
Know your budget. This can help determine early on if a web design company is suitable. Not all Oxford web designers will be able to work within your budget.
Years ago, a chef told me that one of the best ways to judge a restaurant is by their toilets. Weird, I know. It isn’t a foolproof method, he said, but if they don’t look after or care about something that the public sees and uses, it should raise doubts about the things you can’t see, like the state of the kitchen whose food you’re eating and paying for.
So, take a close look at the web design agency’s website. It’s probably the first thing you’ll do anyway, but it’s also the most important.
How does it look? If it looks outdated or looks like it hasn’t been touched for ages, that’s probably not a good sign. Do you want to give your project to a web agency that can’t look after its own website?
Is it easy to navigate?
Could you find information quickly?
Is it quick to load?
How does it look on mobile?
Look at the website designer’s portfolio of previous clients – here’s our portfolio page for example.
Take a look at their clients’ websites too. You could always contact the clients to ask what it was like working with the agency.
Has the agency designed and built websites similar to your brief? Have they worked in the relevant sector before? Sometimes it’s good they have that experience, but, also bear in mind, it’s sometimes good to get fresh perspectives and ideas on projects.
When talking to a web designer, here are a few things to find out:
Ongoing support. If bugs arise or your site needs updating, how do they cost this?
What technologies does the agency use?
Hosting. Where’s your site going to be hosted? Will the agency host your website or do they outsource that? How much? You don’t want it hosted too far from your target demographic as it won’t run as fast for those users, which will also affect your SEO. At Intuitiv Digital we host all our sites and have an in-house infrastructure support team – not a third party in sight. This makes life a lot easier for clients and us.
Is the agency GDPR compliant? Do they know their Data Processors from their Data Controllers? If not, move on.
Expertise and time. One-man bands may work well for some websites, but you need to know if they have all the expertise you require and if they’ll have time for ongoing support.
Estimating projects. Like building a house, you’ll probably be after a project-based estimate without any hidden costs and fees. How does the digital agency estimate its projects? Do they have a rate card you can see? What extra costs could there be?
Do the web designers incorporate SEO best practice when building websites? They should do. What about an SEO audit of your site or larger SEO campaigns? Do they use a specialist SEO marketing agency?
Who will own the Intellectual Property (IP)? Once your website is finished, you should own the IP to your website, that includes the code too.
You may end up working with your chosen Oxford web designers for years to come, so don't underestimate your gut feeling. Were they easy to get on with, yet knowledgeable? Do you trust them with your website and business? Will you have one point of contact? If so, who?
Aside from the agency’s website, the biggest help will be to email or phone them.
Remember to ask them:
What’s their price range?
Do they provide a CMS (content management system)?
How will they charge ongoing maintenance or updates?
Will the website design agency populate your website for you, or do you do that?
How much of the project will be in-house?
Another good pointer is if the web designer asks you almost as many questions as you ask them. What you want, what your goals are, what you want your website to achieve, who it targets. A good agency will want to understand its clients, so they can design and build a website that ticks all the client’s boxes.
They may ask for a website design brief. A good web designer will want to know the exact requirements before starting work.
Gut feeling, again.
How did you feel talking to the web designers?
Were they quick to respond?
What was their communication like?
Were they polite, professional, intelligent?
Did they ask you questions?
Did they explain themselves well or did you feel like they were talking another language?
Were they clear with their answers, or did they use too much jargon and marketing speak?
By the way, ensure the agency can design and code your website (and ideally host it too). Sounds obvious, I know, but you don’t want the surprise of being given just designs for your website and have to pay someone else to develop (i.e. code/program) the website - it happens!
How long have the Oxford web designers been around? If it’s a long time, then they must be doing something right. If they’re new, check how long the key people have been involved in website design – they still might have lots of experience even though the company is new.
When can the agency start on your project?
How long do they think it will take?
Does this fit with your deadlines?
If they can start on your website straight away, why aren’t they busy at the moment?
Remember, you should expect the agency to consider planning, wireframes (depending on the project), design, build and testing in their timings and estimates. If they don’t, this should raise alarm bells. Again, you should hopefully get a good a feeling from the web designers when explaining their process.
So, how to find the best Oxford web designers for your business?
Well, as you can see, there’s a whole host (excuse the pun) of factors that will affect your decision.
But, the key point is - and this can’t be emphasised enough - which agency did you click (sorry!) with?
If you work with people you like, the process is easier and the result is always better.
P.S. Chances are, you’re looking for an Oxford-based web design agency. Well, you’ve found a good one - us!
2 Bridge Road