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How do I choose a partner for my online business?

Since 2012, our team helps businesses maximize their online success. What follows is an (almost) unbiased view regarding the task of choosing a partner for your company’s online presence. We identified four key characteristics that you should aim for when choosing a web agency. As such, you should collaborate with a team that is:

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Trustworthy

Some say that “all you need is love”. In business, however, we think that the starting point definitely needs to be trust. If you have already developed web projects with an external team, you know this is true. While studying at Oxford, Cristian, our founder, encountered an interesting project written by an external team. A comment informed developers that deleting specific lines of code would improve the speed of the app for which the client could be charged extra in the future :) For the end client, this meant slow performance today and higher costs tomorrow. If you cannot trust the people you are working with, you are missing out on being less stressed and more confident in your online results

The big problem in determining trustworthiness is that trust is usually established over time. Try to use public company data, client testimonials, and the agency portfolio to achieve initial trust. Then, if possible, test out the web agency with small projects to see if their actions match their storytelling capabilities

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Talented

“Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work” - Einstein

Most people use this quotation to encourage hard work. However, what we want to point out is that if you aim to work with “geniuses” there has to be an extra 1%. This is rare and hard to find, but the benefits that come from such a finding are spectacular! Look for that additional 1% and we guarantee that great results are about to follow

How do you figure out how skilled a web agency team is since, hopefully, most of them know how to sell themselves? We suggest hiring a trusted consultant to check out their work. Many times, online projects require much of an “invisible work” which most people do not know how to spot. If you are a business-oriented person, you will look for areas you somewhat understand – like the design of a web page or mobile app. However, in all areas of an online implementation, most of the time it is the “invisible work” that makes the difference (and by this we do not want to underestimate the role of research-oriented design). Remember Mies van der Rohe? “God is in the details”. A consultant could look for invisible details and advise you in choosing your online partner. If this is not possible, the least you can do is to have a chat with the agency and aim to see if they have gone the extra mile in their past and current projects

Experienced

Remember the 99%? People say that “practice makes perfect” and we agree. One of our favorite quotes is Thomas Edison’s “there is no substitute for hard work”. An experienced team equipped with the necessary knowledge, how-to, professionalism and confidence that are needed to offer added value to your business will boost your results. Nevertheless, we also agree that, very rarely, you might encounter a talented team which, being at the start of their journey, could cost you less and still deliver a good value for your money. Understanding the tradeoffs between talent and experience is a risk you need to assume when making such a decision

This is by far the easiest one to detect. Since when is the agency on the market? What experience does the team and its individuals have? What is their growth in terms of more challenging projects? What success stories can they showcase? All these cues can help you understand what experience the web agency has and whether their expertise is appropriate for your project

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Business oriented

Attention-grabbing designs, high-quality websites, reliable user experience and creative marketing campaigns can mean next to nothing if they’re not specifically tailored to your business’ needs. We highly believe that each business is unique. Therefore, providing efficient solutions is impossible without the previous process of understanding and assessing the actual business model. We believe that the partner you choose to work with needs to be able to understand your company needs and business in general. It is one thing to design for a male persona and another to design for a female one, while many other demographic characteristics could also be included. Choose a partner who can understand your company’s business goals and who can deliver highly tailored projects.

Fortunately, it can be easy to detect if a web agency is business oriented from your initial conversations. If so, you might find yourself agreeing upon key problems that your company is facing, what success would look like and how it could be measured in your specific setting.

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