Web Design and Web Development Agencies often get confused and regularly are lumped together. Understandably given the fact that many Design Agencies also are Development Agencies and occasionally throw web marketing into the mix. It can all get a little confusing but there is a clear and obvious difference.
Web design typically concentrates on the look of the site, the visuals, and the feeling they create. A web design agency will most probably have a group of professional designers specializing in various areas such as color schemes, logos, typography, etc. Equally, they should have a broader spectrum of design software specialisms. Their job is to make your vision into a visual reality. Web Developer takes the designs and codes them using various programming languages to produce a functioning website.
As we said these agencies often have both departments and function closely together but in effect are significantly different. In this article, we are focusing on design agencies and more specifically how to find the right one for you from the huge number out there in the webosphere.
And If you want to know just why web design is so important, statistics show that 48% of Internet users consider web design the number one factor in determining the credibility of a business. Meaning, unless your site is designed well, over half of your visitors will potentially click away from your site in the belief that you might not be a real, trustworthy company. It’s well worth thinking about.
Where to find high and middle range website design agencies?
These are a series of sites that allow you to access web design agencies and give you further information such as ratings. So off we go.
One of the biggest problems with the many ratings websites is that you can never be 100% sure that the rating sources are valid. Are they really clients or are the web agencies themselves giving their own reviews. Also are these sites truly independent, fair, and objective.
Clutch.co aim to solve this issue by inviting appraisers to review the companies. In this way, it is hoped that the reviews are unbiased and honest.
The site itself is pretty comprehensive, a star rating system, and key statistics for each site plus links to the agencies websites. A good point is the service bar which indicates how much of the reviewed business is dedicated to the various aspects of website construction.
Webdesignranking.com have compiled an up-to-date list of the best web design firms in the industry. It a simple league table featuring price,location, number of employees and a company score with a link to the referred to site. The criteria is set by their own experts and a navigation bar allows you to refine your search. However, you can’t help noticing the whole thing is very North American centric.
This Awwwards site doesn’t rank as such but does create its own award system such as “site of the day”, “site of the month”etc. The site focuses on an illustrative image for each business included and a location. This allows you to quickly scan through and enter into what catches your eye. A nice feature here is that if you click on the design agencies tab you can then be directed to a specific business area.
The UpCity site is a standard rating site with a five-star system, who have a team dedicated to finding fake reviews. Each site is given a star rating from number of reviews, a small penpic and a testimonial quote, plus of course the obligatory link. There is a feature by which you can sort the companies based on various criteria e.g number of reviews, review score etc.
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Another site well worth having a look at is themanifest.com. US focused it gives you the top 100 based on user experience clutch ratings. Their is a bit more detail about each client with an interesting addition of former clients to go alongside location, price range and number of employees. A straight forward scroll down list, I’m not sure you’ll reach the bottom few.
Our final high-end ratings site is agencypotter.com. Here you can search through specific area of design agencies such as e-commerce, animation, graphic design. This ratings site has all the familiar concepts as the others but adds a link to projects that the agency has completed giving you a real feel of what each agency can do.
Where to find more affordable website design agencies and designers?
Whilst our first list of directories were concentrated on a higher budget options, here we present some choices of the more affordable type.
99designs is a site designed to help you find the service you require not only web designers but other design related items too such as business cards or logos. Here you connect with designer by offering up a brief of what you are looking for, then they can either find you a recommended designer from their list after talking to one of their design experts or you can open your design to everybody and wait for ideas then choose your favourite. You can define you search through categories to find individual designers or agencies.
Upwork is a well known site for freelancers and agencies from around the world and from all different work areas from design to accounting, marketing and even administrative support. You post the project you are offering, giving some basic details, the upwork site looks at what you need to find you a suitable match, then they send you a shortlist of agencies and freelancer who can take at look at the project and send you a proposal. Upwork verify their contact lists by doing online skills tests, displaying feedback from previous clients and showing a job success score rating.
Coroflot is a well-established career community that is focused on the world of online design and other creative professions all over the world. You can filter your search with different categories of design and various skills required. You then select more information on the options available including a portfolio, about page, and a contact button.
Crowdspring is another global site intending to match professional designers with suitable projects. It also offer tools to manage your project once you’ve chosen the right designer for you. Select one of the categories for what you need, write a brief and sit back until numerous designers create some concepts for you, pick one and negotiate a price. Again there is a verification process for the designers which includes sending samples of original work.
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Dribbble is a remote company, as such it operates purely on the web. It’s invite only site enables digital designers to showcase their work. The designers share their work online in portfolio form, also an ideal site if you are searching for inspiration. The search tools mean you can focus your search by specialty, location, experience level, budget preferences, and more.
Adobe owned behance is a social media platform that allows designers to showcase work. The landing page gives you a representative portfolio image and if you like it you simply click on to find out more about the designer, a wider portfolio and further information about them, with contact details. Another good point is that the featured works also so you the design tools used. So you can contact, get inspiration or it keep help find tools you enjoy so you can be more informed in further searches.
US website AngelList is a site for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups. It’s not only for web designer but if you type your search into the search box you generate a list of agencies and designers. Click on someone you’d like to contact for an overview, business culture, people etc.
The Aiga site is the US based professional association for design. From here you can find portfolio listings of members and direct links to their sites, under the design heading. There’s a pretty comprehensive gallery.
And last but not least we have good old google, or indeed any other search engine.
From our list, it’s clear that the choice of where to find a suitable design agency is vast and it’s clear that there are more options that you might come across. There is no need to limit yourself, use some different sites, compare businesses across various sites, spread your search globally. The world of design is getting smaller and easier to access at the same time at the richness and variety is increasing, so good luck with on the journey to find and perfect match.
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