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Essential tips for choosing your creative partner

Essential tips for choosing your creative partner

Get Great Creative Partners to Help Create that High­Converting Website

You need to find the right creative partners if you expect to make money from e-commerce But there are so many companies out there offering all kinds of web services. Providing such services in­house might seem ideal , but most businesses simply can’t justify the expense. Anyway, the more skilled professionals often prefer to work on their own. This leaves you, the business owner, to choose the right people to craft that killer website.

The basic tasks you will need performed are: Design, Development, Testing, SEO, Support, Social Media Interactions and Analytics. These mostly require different skills, but all must be performed optimally for you to get the most from a website.

Freelancer or Agency? You should consider whether to use a small agency or a large one, or whether freelancers will suit you better. The answer to this depends to a great extent on your business and the nature and type of work you need done, as well as your personal preferences. A single freelancer is unlikely to have all the skills needed, as design, development, copywriting and SEO require quite disparate skills. However, most freelancers know others with complementary skills so they can provide a complete solution by working together.

Large agencies will usually have a number of staff with overlapping skills covering the whole spectrum of e­commerce development work. Smaller agencies might not have all the skills, but would probably outsource some of the work if necessary. Agencies may not have sufficient staff to give your project their full attention: This is especially true of the most successful agencies.

How much time do you have to devote to the project? If you work through freelancers you might need to spend more time managing the project, or one of the freelancers might be willing to take overall responsibility. Getting more involved is not a bad thing, as you can pick up any problems early, while they are still cheap to correct. With an agency, whether small or large, it will be possible to take a more hands­off approach and leave the management to the creative partner. Inputs from the company will be at a higher level, and more concerned with making sure deadlines and budgets are adhered to.

A good rule of thumb is that the more interest you take, the more satisfactory the results are likely to be. Whether you choose the agency or freelance route, you should make a point of keeping an eye on progress. Online project management software makes it easier to track progress and make sure that deadlines will not slip.

Establish your goals. Get examples of completed projects and testimonials. Consider how well they are likely to meet your goals; what is the major focus of their previous work?

How much can you afford? The budget you have available for the development is an important consideration. Remember that an expensive site may be less effective than a much cheaper development: effectiveness depends on how well you can persuade your visitors you can help them.: You don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to get a steady stream of customers or clients.

Are they asking the right questions? Do the consultants ask questions which are focused on the business requirements and practicalities of your web page, or are they more involved in developing a prettier design. You want them to have a clear business focus.

Are they proceeding in the right order? Your headlines and content must drive the design, not the other way around. They must also focus on the benefits you offer. An effective website is not necessarily pretty – look at Amazon if you doubt this. It is easy to navigate with a great conversion funnel. As far as that goes, the less information you collect, the better.

What sort of implementation plan are they proposing? If you are changing an existing design, what are their plans for testing changes? Have they considered any issues with transferring existing data?

Are they prepared to maintain the site once complete? Support will be cheaper if you use the people who originally developed the site. They will also understand the importance of the various aspects to the design.

Do they have adequate resources to cope with the extra work? If possible, speak to current clients about their support levels. What plans have they made for the extra load?

How quickly do they respond. It certain skills are available in­house, a freelancer or small agency might be all that is needed to supplement those skills. This approach will tend to split the responsibility and may lead to a certain amount of friction and disruption in the long term.

Any website should have a specific purpose. You need to be clear about what is needed and not dissipate that focus. The most successful websites are all very good at presenting a clear message. If people are not sure what it is you’re offering, they won’t commit to anything, either.

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