Red flags to look out for when choosing a
UK Web Design Agency

Introduction

Are you looking for someone to build your website? Perhaps you’ve already had a couple of quotes, and you’re shopping around for the best deal. With thousands of agencies to choose from, the world of web design can be a minefield. Like any profession, each agency has a different level of skill. This article will help you tell the birds from the bees, we will be explaining several red flags you need to watch out for.

1) They don’t know how to code

Knowing how to code is the bread and butter of building websites. A web designer who can’t code is like a footballer with no boots. Whilst drag and drop website builders are great for beginners, they have encouraged a culture of “no code”. This discourages people from learning the basic fundamentals of HTML and CSS, and makes people rely on drag and drop tools.

Coding is vital for styling a website, and developing any advanced functionality. For example, if your website connects to a database, it’s likely using PHP Code to do that. According to Kinsta, 78.9% of websites use PHP [1]. Pieces of code are the building blocks of the web. If a web designer brags about how they don’t need to code, you should run (and fast).

Please note

A web designer usually focuses on the visual aspects of a website, whereas a developer would focus on coding and functionality. “Web design agency” is the most commonly used term for a company that builds websites, but the advice in this article applies to choosing a web development agency too.

2) Their prices are next to nothing

Like the old cliché goes, you often get what you pay for in this world. Some agencies offer to build your website for as little as £50, which seems like a great deal on paper. But the average salary of a Web Designer in the UK is £40,588 according to Reed.co.uk [2]. This equates to an hourly salary around £20. So if a professional web designer was to build a £50 site, they could be spending less than 3 hours on it. This means you would be getting something very basic, built with a pre-built template and no personality.

Most web design agencies aren’t priced that cheap of course, and their designers and developers are usually well paid. When receiving a quote it’s wise to look at the price, and estimate how many hours of labour it would equate to. From our experience, a high end 10 page site would need at least 60 hours of work on it.

3) They outsource everything and don’t tell you

A large number of agencies outsource all of their web design work. They will charge you an inflated price, taking their own cuts for managing the project. Whilst project management is an important skill, it’s a cost you can avoid by choosing the right agency. Honesty is the best policy, and we believe any agency should be truthful if they are outsourcing work. If they are outsourcing, make sure you ask about the credentials of their web designer(s), and look at some of their previous work before making a decision. 

If you’re speaking to someone who labels themselves as a web designer, they should be able to answer technical questions. If they shy away from questions about coding practices and technical aspects, they might actually be outsourcing your work. If you’re looking for the best value for money, it’s best to work directly with an industry expert. This means your budget will be directly spent on building your website, and not project management. It will also help you avoid delays, because you will be able to request revisions from the person working on your website and cut out the messenger.

4) They refuse to make any revisions

Your website should be something personal to you, because you are the paying customer. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for some revisions to your website, so it matches your vision. If a web designer struggles or flat out refuses to make revisions, they are probably using pre-built templates to build sites. They may not have the expertise to actually edit these templates, so you’re stuck with a prebuilt site that looks just like hundreds of others.

At the start of your project you should ask their policy on revisions. Most agencies offer a set round of revisions, or a cap on the number of hours. Asking this before starting your project can help you avoid issues further down the line.

5) They don’t have a portfolio

A strong portfolio is the centrepiece of any successful web design agency. When choosing a web design agency make sure you look at their portfolio, and check out all of the websites which are on it. You’ll be able to get a feel for their style, and if they have built sites similar to what you’re looking for. If an agency has no portfolio, it’s a huge red flag and can indicate they are inexperienced. It’s important to thoroughly check an agency’s website, before choosing them for your project.

Conclusion

There are millions of web designers out there, and almost 1.6 billion websites worldwide [3]. With so many agencies to choose from, it’s often difficult to make the right choice. Listed above are just a few red flags you should look out for. If you’ve never had a website built before it’s often a daunting task, but hopefully some of the points above should help. A website is an important investment for any business, and you want a website which you can be proud of. It’s just a case of finding the right match for you and your business.

At Angelo Marketing, our founder Luke has been building websites for over a decade. If you’re in need of advice or interested in working with us, feel free to get in touch. We will be happy to have a chat and answer any questions you may have.