Who is this for? Anyone in e-commerce
What is it About? Websites
Reading Time 2-3 minutes

According to the ONS – November 2018 saw Online Sales in the UK reach a new record of 21.6% of all Retail Sales, but the figure that is most impressive is that 89% of customers start the purchasing process by online search.

So whether they are completed on an e-commerce site or not, this makes it more important than ever for websites to be designed to catch the eye, cause the customer to “pause” and be memorable (no point paying for someone else’s advertising) boosting sales by making product information available and purchases possible with minimal effort on the customers part.

Sounds simple enough, right?

But when looking for an agency to develop a new website, it can often leave you feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.  Should I use WordPressShopify or Magento? How many pages do I need? Should I get a blog? Do I need to get a maintenance package?

If you stick to some quick tips below to pick the right agency for you and help you keep the project on track, they’ll be able to help you with all these questions and more.

Be sure they take the time to develop a deep understanding of your business – from both the perspective of what your brand hopes to achieve as well as what your customer is looking for. The agency needs to understand your business goals in order to develop a site that makes your online marketing a success – so do be prepared to share these.

Decide on a budget and request a quote – once you have outlined your project to the agency, be sure to ask for a ballpark estimate remembering that things can change during a project so be prepared to be flexible- there could be extras you didn’t realise you may need.

Take a look at their work for past clients and ask if you may speak to one or two. If this is to be an on-going relationship, you need to know that collaboration is easy.  Avoid agencies that showcase client websites that all look the same- one size does not fit all and generic templates are really not an option for a business looking to be taken seriously.

Ask if you get a dedicated designer specifically working on your site or if the work is shared around? A personalised service can be important in helping you achieve your goals. Having one point of contact ensures consistency and builds solid working relationships. Accountability is important – but also choose an agency that has more than a one-person option fully briefed in on your site (some designers do take occasional holidays).

Don’t leave your website dormant. The design of a website is not ‘forever’ – trends come and go and, whilst not all brands can afford to continually chop and change. Be mindful of any innovations and developments that improve connectivity and enhance the customer journey and be prepared to support it with a selection of marketing efforts – ensure each page links to your social media accounts if you are active, try email campaigns with newsletters that are added to the site or regular blogs so that your customers don’t forget you!

Check they can deliver a mobile-friendly version of your site. Smartphones are now widely accepted as the preferred means of accessing the internet in the UK. According to Ofcom, 78% of all adults now own a smartphone- so it pays to look good and function on that platform as well.

Don’t be afraid to outsource. Your website copy needs to be to the point and effective and just because it’s your business doesn’t mean you have to write it. If you don’t feel confident about it, ask the agency if they have copywriters in-house.

Don’t lose control. An agency using a CMS (eg WordPress) will usually set you up with the tools you need to make direct changes to your website, which can be invaluable if you need to make a quick fix or an adjustment – but remember to keep the agency clued in – just in case.

Reports should be in plain English– clear, honest and jargon-free. If someone can’t explain it simply to you, they don’t understand it well enough.

Don’t leave everything until the final version. Ask what opportunities there are to review the design and at what stages. A good agency will welcome your input.

Overall the finished product should be visually pleasing, simple and easy to navigate whatever the device so your site not only reflects you as a business, but your customers find it a joy to use.

If you’re looking for an agency that understands your business, goals and needs – developing a clear and easy to use site – get in touch with Marc or Joss today for a chat about what we can do for you– I guarantee they will be able to offer you all of the above and more.


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0114 255 9993

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