So you’ve realised your business’s web presence is lacking in some way or isn’t up to the standard of your competitors, but you don’t have the expertise or the time to fix things in-house. You need to bring in some outside help, but how do you choose from the wide range of web agencies both in Dorset and further afield?

dorset web agencies
Finding the right Dorset web agency can be hard work…

To assist you in making the right choice for your business, here are my 5 top tips for how to find a good digital agency:

1. Look locally first

Though it is very possible to work with a web agency you don’t ever meet with in person by conducting all your correspondence over the telephone and via email, such an approach is not ideal. Being able to sit down face to face with an agency and give them a sense not just of your company’s requirements and needs, but of its personality and long-term goals, is hugely valuable at all stages of a web build or online marketing project.

For this reason, I’d suggest that any Dorset business should look first for an agency within the county or nearby, and should only look further afield if there aren’t any here that meet your criteria.

2. Get an idea of the size of the agency

The larger agencies in Dorset mostly tend to be clustered around Poole and Bournemouth, with a number of small and medium-sized agencies spread out around the rest of the county, as well as freelancers and one man bands.

The bigger agencies will have more specialised team members and a strong portfolio of previous projects, so will generally charge a higher price and be more suitable for medium sized businesses rather than start-ups.

3. Do a little background research

To get a sense of an agency and its suitability for you, take a look at the About Us and Case Studies sections of their website, and then arrange a meeting or a phone call with the ones you like best to find out more. One important thing to find out is whether they do all their work in-house, as you don’t really want an agency that takes your money and just farms the work out to someone to do cheaply overseas.

4. Get recommendations from friends or contacts

One of the most effective ways to find a good agency is to ask people who’ve commissioned websites or SEO projects themselves how well they feel their agency performed. This can give you a lot more insight and confidence in an agency than just looking at case studies.

This is particularly important if you are using a freelancer or very small agency; make sure they come recommended by someone you trust, because while there are many fantastic ones, there are also many that will cut corners and not give you value for money.

5. Look at their accreditations

There are several accreditations out there for digital agencies that indicate proven expertise and success in their field. One thing to look for is RAR accreditation – this is the Recommended Agency Register, membership of which can only be obtained with verified recommendations from satisfied clients.

Another thing to look for is Google Professional Accreditation status. This is an accreditation given by Google to individuals that show a proven proficiency and track record in managing Google AdWords accounts for clients.

While we might be surrounded by green fields, beautiful coastline and quaint streets, don’t be fooled – the digital sector in Dorset is thriving, and there are plenty of experienced, dedicated and creative professionals here who can help you take your online business to the next level. If you’re looking to hire a web marketing agency in Dorset for the first time, or have experience of doing so in the past, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Get in touch via the comments section below.