Here are seven tough lessons we learned about doing design work for free and why pro bono website design isn’t always what it’s cracked-up to be.
So you’ve decided to start a new business. You’ve come up with your logo and brand identity.
Avoid falling into the pitfall of having a family member create your website.
Instead enlist the design services of a local professional to make your shiny new website right?
But, there are hundreds of design agencies in Baton Rouge to choose from?
Which one is the best to hire for your website design in Baton Rouge?
In this article we will discuss 8 items you should consider when hiring your website agency:
Table of Contents
Step 1: Establish Your Budget.
Before you even type “Baton Rouge Louisiana web design,” into Google, you need to sit down and set your budget for your web design project.
Whether you’re a new startup with a shoestring budget or a large franchise with unlimited funding, you should have a number written on paper prior to searching for the perfect agency.
Especially for small businesses, you should leave some wiggle room in your budget. Make sure it’s somewhat flexible and can accommodate upsells — addons you may have not thought about.
Now it goes without saying, that you would love for your web design project to come in under budget (you can use our website price calculator to get an idea of what a website should cost).
Your prospective agency should be able to advise you on web design options that may help you meet your budget, while still helping your businesses success.
Last, you should have a number for your budget that you’ll tell your agency.
Keep this number lower than your actual budget to allow some wiggle room when you’re dialing in exactly what you expect from your agency. Keep that number around 75% to 90% of your actual budget.
Step 2: Get the agency’s pricing .
Now that you have your budget, it’s time to research various agencies’ pricing.
This can be time-consuming, as many agencies offer different packages and a la carte services.
Knowing what you can afford, and what return on investment the agency can provide is a critical part of the process. Do your homework to avoid spending too much on services that you don’t need.
Now when it come’s to digital marketing and SEO, we don’t offer one-size-fits-all SEO pricing, each project and SEO campaign is custom-tailored to your small business’s goals and needs.
How much will your website cost with blaksheep creative?
Because we’re dedicated to transparency and helping small businesses maintain their budget, while seeing results, we give you a tool to find out approximately what your web project will cost you.
WARNING: As you research web design prices, you will get amounts that are all over the place. Some as low as $500, some $5000+.
Use our free website cost calculator to get a general idea of what your website project will cost.
How much should it cost to build my website elsewhere?
We’re going to be completely transparent here.
Going the DIY route is the cheapest way to make a website, but it’s also cheaper in part because you’re putting your own sweat equity into the process.
If you want to hire someone to build your website, you’re going to pay for the same basic infrastructure costs…plus that person’s sweat equity…plus a hefty premium for their expertise.
So what does that cost?
Sorry for the annoying answer, but again it depends on:
However, to try and give you a rough idea, We dug into some Facebook communities for people who build websites for a living.
First, we found this poll of 111 designers who build WordPress sites with Elementor. These estimates are for a “basic 10-15 page website”:
Similarly, we found a similar poll of 158 designers who build WordPress sites with the Beaver Builder page builder:
Because both these polls cover designers who build sites using WordPress and a visual page builder and don’t include coding and special functionality, these polls represent the bare minimum of what you should expect to pay for a simple website. And if you need something beyond a basic website, costs can quickly rise.
Ok so now that you’ve got an idea of what your website should cost and what you can afford, let’s look at the next thing you should consider when hiring a web design agency.
Step 3: Ask about fees and charges
Even after you’ve asked an agency about pricing, there is still one last piece of financial business to inquire about.
Sometimes, an agency has a secret list of fees and charges that they issue, and they don’t always tell you about them.
They might be in the fine print of your contract, or they might not list fees anywhere at all. But if you hire an agency without asking about surprise fees, you could quickly find yourself over-budget with a website that you don’t like.
That’s why it’s essential that you talk to your agency about their policy on fees.
- Do they charge for making unscheduled updates to the site?
- Do they charge you for the time that their designers and developers spend working for your company every month?
- Can you wind up spending more for an unscheduled checkup about your site?
All of those questions are good to ask, especially since there’s no “standard” stance on fees for web design agencies. It’s up to you to get the details you need for success, especially if they’re not presented upfront.
Once you have your finances in order, you can move onto the next important step of agency evaluation.
Step 4: Look at their past clients and testimonials
Every established web design agency will have previous (and if they’re doing their job correctly – current clients). If you want to know what to expect from a particular agency, look at the work they’ve done for those companies. (here’s what our clients have to say about us.
This will help you learn what you can expect from that agency as well as gives you a list of their clients you could contact to find out more.
In doing this, you get to see examples of the agency’s previous work, as well as get the information you can use to contact their clients directly.
While it’s important to see examples of an agency’s work, you should contact their clients to learn about their individual experiences with X-Y-Z Company.
If they speak highly of the agency, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. If they say they can’t wait to get out of their contract, then you may want to start looking elsewhere.
Basically, learn from companies who came before you.
Was partnering with this agency the best choice they’ve ever made? Or are they not seeing any return on investment? Either way, you’ll have a clear idea about whether or not you should contact that agency.
Step 5: Ask about their client retention rate
A client retention rate is exactly what it sounds like – the rate in an agency’s clients stay with them vs. switching companies. An agency’s retention rate will tell you a lot about them.
Most will hover around 60% or so, and anything below that indicates that there’s something sketchy going on with the agency itself.
Retention rates of about 70% — especially 90% or above — show exceptional client satisfaction.
The higher the client retention, the better the chance of a successful partnership. Remember, a website isn’t just a set it and forget it kind of thing. You don’t just toss a website up overnight. Successful websites take time, strategy, and execution to help you reach your goals.
If an agency doesn’t have a decent client retention rate, then they’re missing one of those elements, and that means they won’t be able to give you the results that you want.
But when you find an agency with a high client retention rate — and when they publish it online for everyone to see — you know that you’ve found a quality agency.
Step 6: Ask who exactly will responsible for your site
Get to know the individual or individuals that will be working for you in designing, creating, and maintaining your website. Be sure to get their contact information.
By doing this, you have a point of contact (or contacts) at the company with whom you can contact immediately to make sure that your site gets the attention it needs, or you get your questions answered in a timely fashion.
Step 7: Ask about other customer support
Even though you may have one dedicated point of contact, there may be situations where you may not be able to reach them. Kids get sick, people take vacations, and life happens.
Find out who can give you the support you need if your primary point of contact is out of pocket.
Whether its the agency’s owner, your contact’s coworker or someone who looks after clients for people out of the office, you need to know so you can continually keep the agency accountable for your progress.
Plus, it shows that your business is more than just a number.
If something goes wrong with your site, you need to be able to contact them to fix the error. Can you call whenever you want? Or do you have to wait for certain hours? Either way, you need to know. (We give you our cell phone numbers and encourage you to call us anytime.)
Step 8: Ask who can update the website
The majority of the time we use WordPress for our websites because it’s easier for the end user.
And you’ll need to update your website.
Because WordPress is designed for the least technically savvy person, we give you the option to update the site, or we can do it for you.
As a matter of fact, we prefer a combination of the two:
- You create the content (you’re the subject matter expert after all)
- We take care of the search engine optimization (SEO) of your content to make sure that search engines such as Google love it.
- We style it up and post it on your site (we can even handle your social media marketing if you desire)
- You watch your sales increase
Some agencies, however, prefer to keep everything in-house and keep your site under lock and key.
Regardless of which policy your agency has, it’s important that you educate yourself on it so that you can better understand how you will be working together, and who will be responsible for what.
Step 9: Now choose the agency that's right for you!
With all of this information at your disposal, you can now make a good choice for a web design partner for your business.
Find the best fit for your needs, and make sure they’ll work with you through all of the questions and concerns you have.
And if you think of other questions you want to ask, always ask them — a good web design agency will never turn away your questions or give you vague answers.
We like to think we’re one of the best Baton Rouge web agencies. Check out our recent web builds and view our what our clients have to say. Or get in touch with us and lets discuss how we can help you smash your business goals.
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