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Choosing a Web Agency: How to separate the wheat from the chaff?

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Is the agency able to do for itself what it claims to be able to do for its clients?

Development and web marketing is not fully grown yet, so, companies that want to build a website are little equipped to filter web agencies within all their different service offers. Each web agency is unique and presents its own way to do things, hoping to attract customers.

It's important to rely on objective elements before selecting an agency. It is possible to separate the wheat from the chaff by doing some simple quality control on the agencies website before even meeting them.

The purpose of these audits is to answer the following question: Is the agency able to do for itself what it claims to be able to do for its clients? The website of an agency that says it specializes in web development, web strategy or web marketing says a lot about its expertize and real skills.

When talking about web design, poorly shod shoemaker are often simply bad shoemakers.

Is the agency's website professionally programmed?

Programming codes need to be high quality to ensure the longevity of a website and in a matter of facts, to secure its good positioning in the search engines.

Does the Web agency program in the rules of the art by respecting the best practices of the industry? Even not being a programmer, you can easily validate the quality of an agency's website programming by using the free W3C Validator tool.

Simply insert the web address to let the validator do the job. You may be surprised to see the number of programming errors found on the homepage of the websites of most agencies that present themselves as experts.

There is an understanding that if the W3C validator encounters a fatal error that prevents the viewing of the entire website, Google's search engine positioning robots will encounter the same problem.

Does the agency have basic SEO skills?

Do they meet the most basic technical standards for SEO?

Determining the true specialty of an agency, if it has one, will avoid bitter disappointments when you'll see the results if there is any... It is totally normal to ask that each of the SEO elements to be detailed in your contract as it also goes for the design of your website.

Feel free to check out our article "Your Web Agency Does SEO, But Still?" To learn about the different techniques and strategies of SEO and also to determine if your agency can get you as high as you’d want to be on Google.

Is the agency being careful enough?

Is the agency's website secured? If so, the website address will display an "s" after the suffix Http: // to form https: //. The presence of the https // suffix demonstrates that an SSL security certificate is correctly installed on the website. The role of the security certificate is to encrypt information that is exchanged through the website, for example, messages sent from a submission form or login information to a secure area.

Much more than an anti-hacker system, security of a website is now a variable that Google takes into consideration in its positioning algorithm. You can definitely doubt the skills of an agency if security has not been taking care of on their own website!

Do they use subcontractors?

Does the agency introduce on its website members of their team? If so, it then you can evaluate if they have the in-house skills to deliver your project: graphic designer, integrator, developer or programmer. If not the case, there is a good chance that their website design projects will be outsourced.

To avoid unpleasant surprises, it’s wiser to remove intermediaries and give the full mandate directly to an agency specialized in website design rather than a generalist who will sell that they possess all the talents.

Our conclusion

In a specialized area, where acronyms are everywhere and technical jargon is used by any ambitious seller, you have to be cautious when it comes to trust a web agency.

As a customer, it is not normal if you don’t understand the elements of a presentation, an estimate nor an invoice. Understanding the web development mechanisms and web marketing is within the reach of anyone, as long as the agency takes time to properly popularize it.

What you need to do is run a few simple tests on any web agency's website, to sort out the serious agencies of the ambitious, charlatans and self-proclaimed experts. You can easily filter the agencies as soon as the beginning by answering the questions listed above. That will help to avoid significant losses of time and, above all, reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises during the process.

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