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Hiring a creative design digital agency isn’t easy, and there are many potential pitfalls to look out for. My past as an in-house marketer for small businesses and startups as well as corporate means that I have extensive experience in the area of unmet expectations by digital agencies. Fixing HTML and CSS myself after an agency failed to pay attention to detail and required 24 hours to make any changes is not something I should have been tasked with, yet there I was. It is important not to fall trap to an agency which appears talented but is actually outsourcing for cheap, ineffective, and one-dimensional labor (especially from India and they could be very pesky), so here are my top 6 tips for hiring a local creative digital agency that will exceed your expectations.

1) Ensure they have a broad web development team

If it is a web team you need, make sure to hire a web team. There are countless “web design” company’s out there which have portfolio’s consisting mostly of business cards, letterheads, and logo’s. But that’s not what you’re looking for. Maybe you are just looking for a simple redesigning front-end of a WordPress site, and that’s fine. But you never know what problems a design team is going to encounter along the way, so it is best to make sure the agency you hire has full knowledge of everything that goes into building a site from scratch. Say, asking them about questions like do you know how to setup Virtual Private Server? Do you know how to optimize images and JavaScript without getting penalized by Google? Do you know how to customize functions in WordPress, especially for WooCommerce?

2) Ensure their marketing experience goes beyond design and development

Search Engine Optimization is incredibly important to making sure your site is visible in organic search, assuming you prefer not to shell out endlessly to Google AdWords for every lead. Imagine this — a web team builds you a wonderful site; it is both aesthetically beautiful and as functional as you could ever want. But there is no meta-data, no guidance on improving search rankings, zero presence on Google, vulnerable security and all of the pictures used don’t have any information to tell Google what they are. And the worst part? You have no idea that such a thing is even important in the first place, so it never gets fixed.

3) Question them about testing platforms before launch

There is little more frustrating than thinking that you have a great web property, only to have users complain or to notice bugs yourself after the project is completed. Always ask the agency how they go about testing web platforms before calling the project complete, and what support they give for making tweaks to the site upon completion. A client should never be the one tasked with checking for bugs and oversights. Some agencies or freelance web designer that I know of would be providing you cheap entry rate but unrealistic maintenance rate afterwards. Generally, we provide 30 days guarantee support free of charge for our clients.

4) Ask the company for references

This one is fairly self-explanatory, but just because a company has done work in the past, does not mean it was particularly good work or that the companies who they did projects for would vouch for them. Make sure to get a couple of references so that you can be sure you are working with a great team and make sure that the works are authentic, not just another copy-and-paste jobs.

5) Do not let their corporate website off the hook — for anything!

If there is anything poorly done about their corporate website, you can be sure they won’t put too much time into building your website either. If you are considering a web design company and their site is outdated or feels incomplete, I would highly suggest searching for another company that have up-to-date knowledge in the web industry. Often enough, we are invited to provide talks as well as a WordPress web trainer by private and governmental sectors, simply because we are one the most experienced team in this region.

6) Make sure the agency works to understand all client sales channels to best implement them

An agency that doesn’t work to understand how you make money and how they can improve your sales via digital development is not really working for the benefit of the client. Working to improve conversions should be the main goal of the agency you hire — make sure they know that as well as having real case results to back their statements. Not only that, make sure they have state-of-art architecture for inbound marketing if you are hiring them for Search Engine Optimization.

I have put together a list of world’s top digital marketing agency.