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Burst the London bubble - picking the right web design agency in Kent

When you think Kent - the ‘Garden of England’ - you think of the coast, the countryside, seaside towns and picturesque villages. You wouldn’t automatically imagine Kent as a hub for web design; but look beyond Silicon Valley and the City - you’re bound to find some gems…

Many website agencies in Kent claim to be the best in town, yet from the outside looking in they all appear to offer the same level of service. It’s a real minefield for those looking for a great website at a fair and affordable price. Thankfully, I’ve outlined the questions which you should be asking to guide yourself through selection process (you’re welcome!).

 

Why should I use them?

What do they offer compared to the competition?

How will they support me?

What software do they work in?

Do I get a personal Project Manager?

Who have they worked for?

The list goes on, for sure, but this is a good start. 

 

Whilst there are many fantastic web design agencies in Kent, they don’t all have the same level of flexibility, nor the same set of specialised skills; it’s all about making sure the agency you choose is the right fit for you.

Companies vary in size, from freelancers through to agencies with hundreds on the payroll. Freelancers are handy if you want a smaller website; on the whole they charge less per hour, with the downside being if they get hit by a bus, you’ll be left with no support. However, small or start-up businesses would appreciate the cheaper fees. The downside is if your business relies on your website - and your site demands updating or fixing whilst your website designer is sunning themselves - it could cause you problems.

Moving on from the freelancer, there are bespoke (or boutique) web design and development companies run by teams of two-to-six employees. These will offer more security over the freelancer, and there are some cracking ones out there who are being snapped up by larger firms to support their digital requirements. These small teams are able to keep costs to a minimum, offering the support and expertise you’d expect whilst still ensuring that their clients receive the personal treatment. With staff who specialise in areas of the design and development process, the skill sets at your disposal are more specialist and refined.

Moving on to the bigger agencies; more resources means larger fees, and that personal touch can – though not always – be lost as your business is moved around the dozens of offices they run. This by no means translates to a drop in service quality; it’s much more a question of your needs, and what kind of business relation you want to have. 

It all boils down to what is a good fit for you. To help you find that fit, I’d follow these simple rules:

 

Ask to be shown their process. How do they keep a project on track? 
How will they keep in touch with you and keep you updated?
How do they show you designs?
Do they research your business?
Do they understand who the website is targeting?
Are they Return on Investment led?
How do they price their work? How did they arrive at this cost?
Do they spread payments?
Are they competitively priced? Benchmark against at least two other agencies.
What happens after the project has been completed?
What happens if you have problems with your website?
Look at their portfolio.
See if they have google reviews. 
How do you get on with them? You have to like them!

 

These are all fair questions to ask, and agencies should be able to openly discuss them with you; we talk over all of these points with our clients so they know where they stand. 

To give you an indication of what the answers should be, I have answered them as we typically would here at Angle. 

 

Ask to be shown their process. How do they keep a project on track? 

We follow a four-step process: it starts with a scoping document spreadsheet, which is the spec that follows the project. This is then plotted on a timetable graph for every step of the way, ultimately showing the predicted ‘go live’ date. We use Teamwork to liaise with our client (digital trial).

How will they keep in touch with you and keep you updated?

You will work with one of our Project Managers who will be keeping you up-to-date when required and who is always at the end of the phone, email or skype. Teamwork software allows you to keep all project comms in one place, however all emails will still come to your email inbox as normal.

How do they show you designs?

We work with Wireframes (architectural line drawings) which are made interactive so you can see the journey your users would take. We facilitate this by making all buttons clickable. All the above is completed before you are shown any colour designs and the same will happen at design stage; so before we build anything, you can see what your website will look like to avoid any last minute surprises!

Do they research your business?

We take an interest in your business, what you do, who your competitors are and quiz you on your USPs.

Do they understand who the website is targeting?

This is really important, and if an agency you’re in talks with doesn’t ask this question, well…I would not be impressed! We look into how your target audience like to view websites. I always give the analogy of an accountant, and how they would look at a website differently to a creative designer.

Are they Return on Investment led?

This is a must - your web design company should want to take an interest in your websites progress. A web design company’s job is to build online activity; so again, if they don’t mention this from the off, I would look elsewhere.

How do they price their work? How did they arrive at this cost?

We here at Angle are very transparent. Each team member scopes their own work so they are made accountable, producing a line-by-line ‘shopping list’ in spreadsheet format. This way you can cherry-pick your favourite ideas from Phase 1. Forward thinking is key!

Do they spread payments?

This is personal choice, but we like to offer staged payments to our clients.

Are they competitively priced? Benchmark against at least two other agencies.

We choose to have different options available; from bespoke build options to templates starting at £35 per month with our sister brand ‘Angle Affordable Websites’.
We advise which one would be the most cost effective solution for you.

What happens after the project has been completed?

All our websites now come with a 12 month warranty to cover any problems. If you would like to change or update your website, we’ll quote you for it separately.

What happens if you have problems with your website?

Call us!

Look at their portfolio.

Our portfolio is available on our website, and we’re always proud to show off our work to prospective clients. I’ll be honest and say that our website is not as up to date as we’d always like, as we’re always working on our clients’ work, but I guess that’s a good sign…like a good builder!

See if they have Google reviews.

We are proud to report we are one of only a few web design agencies in Kent that have 5-star Google reviews. Google reviews are particularly commendable; like a TripAdvisor page, you have no control over what people write, so it offers an impartial and independent review of the agency.

How do you get on with them? You need to like them!

I built my agency on being creative, forward thinking, accommodating and responsive to our clients. Now that my team has grown, we ensure our staff are passionate alongside their personable skills which helped to build Angle.
All of Angle’s developers are approachable and can hold a conversation, so you won’t have any awkward conversations in our meetings! 

 

 

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