If you’re getting quotes from a builder, travel agent or a hotel you’d expect a range of different prices, but you would also expect that, roughly speaking, the building work, holiday or accommodation would also vary in quality.
Similarly web designers vary in price a great deal and, as expected so does the overall quality and effectiveness of a website. Budget web designers generally don’t produced ‘polished’ websites and as such you’d expect to receive less enquiries or sales, but at the other end premium web agencies may produce stunning websites, but are not affordable for many.
Whether you’re looking for a Kia or a Rolls-Royce there will always be a car dealer that can help, and this is one of the great things about business, when companies know their position in the market.
Unfortunately, this is where the similarities end and web designers start getting things wrong …
I’m not afraid to say that when we quote for projects we don’t always get things right. Sometimes we get underquoted by someone offering a less-polished solution, and other times clients think that we have proposed something too basic, especially if we don't get the opportunity to talk to them. It’s a hard market, and that’s why we suggest that clients meet their web designers and discuss budgets before they start discussing solutions.
Either way, whether we win or lose a project based on this it’s good, the client has found a web agency that best suits their quality requirements and budget… so importantly they are happy.
However, and this is the issue, a lot of web agencies these days are drastically undercutting the professionals, and winning projects, but have no concept of what they’re producing and what’s involved. Some do this deliberately in order to make a ‘quick buck’, others misread crucial requirements in the specification document, and most quite simply bite off more than they can chew and underestimate the complexity of what they have to do.
We know this because we often get clients come to us with half-built systems or those that have been finished but are nowhere near what the client wanted.
The issue is that by the time the client finds out their web agency aren’t proficient in what they do; they’ve already paid possibly thousands of pounds for a system that doesn’t work and have lost faith in the project. To make matters worse these systems typically have poor foundations so often can’t be touched up.
Sometimes of course the client is to blame; they’ve paid peanuts and got monkeys, but other times it’s the web designer’s fault for not doing their research.
So what can you do to stop this happening to you?
The answer isn’t necessarily to go with the most expensive company, because a high price doesn’t always mean high quality. One way is to make sure that the web agency will not only explicitly agree to each and every point in your specification (in writing), but also to check that they have asked you to elaborate on vague points. A web agency should be asking questions, picking faults with, and making suggestions on a brief that you provide. Be wary of agencies that just say “yes, no problem” to everything you say.
A web agency should be asking about your business, your clients and your niche, not just the end product because it shows that they are thinking about a solution in detail. If you send a specification to five agencies, three reply with a price, and two ask for a meeting or phone call to discuss things in more detail then, as a rule of thumb, it’s the two that are likely to produce a better end product.
If you emailed a builder and asked them to add a bedroom to your house, and they replied straight away with “no problem, £10,000”, yet another builder explained that there are lots of different factors, and could they come and see your house to measure up, who would you be most likely to choose?
Don’t trust a web agency, do some research, see some example of what they’ve done, and most importantly let them demonstrate that they’ve thought about your specification and understand it perfectly... or, get in touch with us.
We are Webbed Feet UK, we make websites and we do things properly.