A virtual ton of organizations across the globe have turned to WordPress, the number one CMS for the enterprise, commercial, and personal websites. But whether you’re looking to launch your web presence or simply hoping to update and refresh your current website, choosing the right WordPress agency can be quite challenging.
If you base your decision solely on a basic Google search, you’re most likely setting yourself up for disappointment. While there are countless agencies and individuals offering WordPress development and support, not all of them offer the right skills, experience, and expertise. You likely wouldn’t choose a cardiologist or trial attorney just because the person showed up on the first page of Google. You shouldn’t leave your web and digital development decision-making up to such a flimsy strategy either.
So what are the right skills, experience, and expertise? They are different for every need and every project. The logic isn’t circular on purpose nor meant to be confusing but rather should demonstrate an important truth: your needs are unique and your project is unlikely to resemble anyone else’s. As a result, the right agency for you might not be the right agency for someone else and vice versa.
Here are 5 things you should keep in mind when determining which WordPress agency is right for your company and your digital initiatives.
1 — What Do Past Clients Have to Say?
You should take the time to review potential agency partners’ past and current projects along with verifiable references. An agency that provides stellar services will be happy to share those examples of their work and hearing directly from some of their clients can be invaluable. Even more important, reviewing actual work from a potential agency partner will give you insight into how they manage clients, projects, and milestones.
These days it seems that there are more WordPress agencies than stars in the galaxy, and references will ensure that you’re partnering with someone with a verifiable track record. Checking their portfolio will allow you to see real-life examples of their completed projects and not only give you an idea of whether or not they have some experience in your particular niche but helps you avoid hiring an inexperienced company or freelancer that just started to fight their way into the web development world.
Ask questions about projects that are comparable to your own in order to help you get an idea of how efficiently they’re able to deliver unique results for the various tasks. As a note, a lack of work or references isn’t necessarily reasoning enough to disqualify an agency from consideration but it should raise a red flag.
2 — Where is the Agency Located?
With the spread of high-speed Internet around the world, many excellent agencies offering WordPress services may not be located where you think.
While these agencies may well be able to provide the required services for your business and offer them at a more than reasonable price, you could find yourself in a terrible predicament in the event of issues or support needs. If your chosen agency is in a completely different time zone or is otherwise unable to meet during your business hours, any cost savings from offshoring could turn out to be quite costly.
Be certain that the agency provides complete support, preferably around the clock. Tech issues are never timely and of course, always seem to raise their ugly heads at the most inopportune moments. You need a partner that has your back no matter what time of day or night.
Agencies in Asia are very competitive from a pricing standpoint but a nearly half-day shift in timezones can make communication and collaboration a challenge. Turning to Eastern Europe will provide you with talented agencies that attempt to provide a suitable balance between affordable cost, comprehensive communication, and high service quality. Agencies in North America and Western Europe tend to be more expensive but their location means that syncing your business day is more practical.
What is the right location for your agency of choice? In many cases, your budget, timeline, and communication style will influence the decision. Just keep in mind that the way your agency partner works will also be a consideration. At a minimum, make sure you have regularly scheduled calls or video-conferences to check in on progress and measure milestones.
3 — Is the Agency Consultative?
Sure, it can be really nice once in a while to encounter an employee, contractor, or partner that simply does what you ask without a lot of discussions. However, when it comes to your WordPress agency that’s likely the last thing you need. When it comes to your organization reaching its goals, you want an agency that offers ideas and a fresh, knowledgeable point of view with new thinking.
While you likely have some fantastic ideas regarding which digital and operational goals you wish to reach, getting there may require a bit more expertise and experience than you have available already. With this in mind, your new development or design partner should be able to provide you tips and insights that are beneficial to both you and your target audience.
Take the time to get to know the people you’re going to be entrusting your online presence with. If possible, visit their office and meet them in person. Alternately, video calls can be extremely useful in building those lasting partnerships.
Attempt to communicate with a manager or team lead and take the opportunity to request to meet with other members of the team that will be working on your project or digital initiative. This allows you to get to know the real person behind the keyboard or monitor and ensure that they completely understand your goals. Additionally, you can verify that they’ll monitor the project throughout and help solidify the foundation of your relationship.
4 — Are the Team Members Collaborative?
A true partnership requires open lines of communication and collaboration from both sides. You not only need to be able to work together to achieve your organization’s goals, but you also need as close to real-time communication as possible.
Additionally, collaboration includes transparency. From the smallest metric to the security of your data and customer records, your WordPress development or design partner absolutely must work with you to ensure collaboration across the board.
Your goals are extremely important to the success of your organization and you need a partner that is fully committed to ensuring that you achieve each of those goals in a timely manner. If your agency or the people actually working on your project take several days to respond to basic requests or can’t provide transparency, you should definitely consider a new partnership.
How do you check for this kind of responsiveness before choosing an agency? While there is no failsafe method it is worth remembering that the attention to detail and communication present in the sales process is likely to indicate a lot about what the future might look like. Put another way, if you can’t get anyone on the phone or a timely reply to an email while the agency is trying to earn your business then you can be quite sure too that your disappointment will continue once they have it.
5 — Is the Agency a Partner or a Vendor?
Is the agency trying to lock you into a long-term maintenance contract because they’re the only ones that can actually work on the site? Or are they partnering with you and building in a way that will allow you to help yourself?
When you need to grow, whether it’s intermittent, sporadic or in response to a new trend that requires immediate attention, how easy is it going to be and, most importantly, how much is it going to cost you?
If the agency is the only viable option to work on the site going forward, it can severely tie your hands in the future. Additionally, with options like this even moving to a new provider can be a near-nightmare.
Question your potential WordPress agency to determine whether or not they provide the access and scalability that you require in order to thrive and grow for the foreseeable future. Determine if they are a partner in your success or trying to lock you in for their own benefit. WordPress has grown in popularity in part because it is open-source software which means anyone should be able to develop on it and for it. If a potential WordPress agency is trying to lock you in an unreasonable way, it’s worth asking why.
Need a Little Help Picking an Agency?
Choosing the right design and development partner is indeed a big decision. And as much as we’re sure you wish the right decision could be made with a snap of your fingers, the truth is much different. Making big decisions in business requires diligence, research, and thoughtfulness. The good news is that many WordPress agencies are happy to help educate about their capabilities and how they match up with your needs. Furthermore, most agencies don’t want the “wrong” clients any more than you want the “wrong” agency.
If you’d like more information on partnering with a WordPress agency or simply have some questions you’d like answered along the way, contact Multidots today. A member of our team would love to help guide you through the process and locate the right solution for your specific needs.