4 signs that you’re working with a thought-leading agency

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There’s lots of choice out there, if you want to get a website made. You can hire a freelancer, use a DIY website builder, or employ an agency to do it for you. Each has their merits, each comes with different price tags and each will give you a different result.

Agencies, broadly speaking, can be divided into 2 groups: those who will deliver a product and those who will deliver a product PLUS something more. The first will deliver a website, or an app, just like you asked for. Job done. Happy days. The second will deliver the product but also share their ever growing knowledge, industry insights and, if they’re really good, ongoing maintenance and support. 😉

So, how can you tell which type of agency you’re working with? Well, here’s 4 good signs that you’re working with what I call a “thought-leading agency”.

1. They ask a lot of really hard, possibly awkward questions. Not awkward like “Can I have your ex girlfriend’s number?”. Awkward like “Have you considered if that layout is really best for your users?” and “What’s the end goal for this particular page?”. A thought leading agency will do a lot of work before the “work” even starts, in order to get to know your business, your clients, and the best possible solution for your needs.

2. They’re not afraid to say “No”. Although this may seem shocking, some of our most effective work has come from when we have said “No” to a client about something they wanted on their site. We weren’t be obnoxious; it was just wasn’t the right thing for them!  A thought-leading agency will tell you upfront if they think something isn’t right, won’t work or would actually harm their client.

3. They bring a friend. If there are skills that the agency don’t have, they’re not afraid to bring in others to work on specialist tasks so the best job is done for the customer. Rather than pretending they can do something, for fear of losing the contract, and then doing a terrible job, the thought-leading agency will tell you they can’t do something but use their trusted network of partners to find you someone who can. Why? Because they care deeply about you and your brand.

4. They use their heads, not just their hands. This might seem obvious but let’s break this down so it’s really clear. Your agency should be giving you more than a product. You might just want some content and a function. A great agency will give you that but they will have also spent time thinking about the countless other details that make great websites. If your agency is just handing over a website with no advice on hosting, the server you should be using, how to increase your speed, some SEO tips, etc then you’re not with a thought-leading agency.

So there you have it, just 4 easy ways to measure the agency you’re working with. Not that we do this perfectly but we’re certainly striving to be like this: bold, thoughtful, honest and hardworking. However, if this post has set some alarm bells ringing for you, get in touch. We’d love to be your thought-leading agency.

Scott is the Managing Director at Illustrate. His main focus is to cast vision and concentrate on our future growth, as well as looking after our customers and generally managing our effectiveness and value as a web design agency. He's also great at presenting new ideas and being picky about the design of everything we do. He performs best in building relationships with other people and in his spare time rides a Honda VTR motorbike, is a huge Cardiff Devils fan and loves spending time volunteering at Freedom Church in Cardiff.