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Managing a website can be a full-time job, and for a small-business owner, the constant demands on your website can slowly begin to encroach on all your other responsibilities and priorities. If you find yourself spending more time keeping your site up-to-date than bringing your next great idea to life, it may be time to bring in a website agency to help manage your site.
An agency can be a life-saver for small-business owners. By handing the technical, day-to-day tasks over to the experts, you can free up your own time and get back to doing what you love.
Not sure exactly what to look for in a website agency? Start by asking yourself the questions below.
The better you can define the scope of what you want from an agency, the easier it will be to find the right fit. Your goals will vary depending on your site and your business objectives, so it’s important to consider those specific needs. For example, you may need help with any of the following:
- Managing your site’s e-commerce.
- Keeping your blog up to date.
- Updating product information pages.
- Performing technical tune-ups, like security upgrades.
- Responding to customer questions.
- Overhauling your website design.
Outlining your priorities will help you and your agency ultimately develop a service-level agreement (SLA), which Hubspot defines as “a contract that establishes a set of deliverables that one party has agreed to provide another.” By crafting a clear SLA, you’ll set yourself up for smooth sailing with your agency.
Decide from the start just how much you’re willing to spend to work with a website agency. The more help you need, the more you can expect to spend.
If you don’t have a large budget, you might bring on an agency to handle only the most critical tasks, like security updates, while you handle the daily web content (of course, if you build your site on WordPress.com, security updates are already taken care of for you).
If you have more room in your budget, you might choose to bring on a full-service agency to handle all the moving parts.
Lots of marketing agencies offer website services for small-business owners, but finding the right agency is a lot like dating — you may have to give it several tries before you find the right fit.
Look for an agency that has experience working on websites in your field. If you’re not sure where to start, ask other small-business owners about agencies they’ve worked with; word-of-mouth recommendations can provide a great starting point.
One measure of a quality agency is the agency’s own website. At Forbes, T. Maxwell recommends performing a quick audit of not only the agency’s website, but also its placement in search results and the quality of the content on its social media pages. If you don’t like what you see, that’s a strong sign right off the bat that it’s not a good fit.
Remember: you’re the client. If you start working with an agency and you’re not happy with their work, or if they fail to deliver on the terms of your SLA, you have the right to speak up and ultimately end the relationship. At the end of the day, your website agency should save you time and hassle — not create new problems.
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