The Choice That Saves a Whole Lot of Disruption

How to make a right decision the first time around.

By Alan Ronald, 29 November 2017

So the time has come to commission your new web project/strategy.

The choice of agency is endless, with promises of the world and every type of new technology being heralded to your business. 

So how do you make a choice?


Before you start the work there are a few things that have to be considered to help you arrive at the right choice of partner.

Business plan – What strategy do you have over the next 4 years? Your website is like a mobile phone, with a life expectancy around the 4-year mark. So you have to be considering what will be required by your organisation in the next few years so the new site can cater for this and tie in with your business strategy.

Integration – What are your internal systems?  How many will play a part and have to work with your new website? What platform are they on? Is your new site going to be compatible and how does that affect the choice in the supplier you use? 

Just from these initial requirements, you can see that by choosing the wrong supplier for your web platform could cause a lot of disruption further down the line. 

The agency you choose should be able to provide you with a portfolio of work they have done similar to yours. They should offer advice on the right platform, not just the one they provide but the one that is most suitable for you, the client.  

The way that a decision is made can be done by scoring. i.e. set up how you will mark each potential supplier, what you are interested in, the main decision touch points.

Firstly decide if there is a specific structure you want each agency to follow or if they can use their normal proposal document. Both can be marked but to make it easy for both the client and the agency set this out at the beginning. This also means you can compare apples to apples. 

You will normally approach 4-5 agencies to quote, these can be found by doing some research online, and looking at recent work/case studies is helpful during the process. 

Meet with them, chat and find out how they addressed some of the briefed requirements and if they have encountered them in similar projects.  Speak to them about specific solutions and how they will implement the strategy and the long-term requirements for your business. 

At the end of the day, you will judge the agency on what they produce - their innovation. You have to find out their process, how UX (if required) is implemented, if the solution is compatible with what you are looking for and your internal systems for future integration.

How old is the agency? Are they well established and have been running for a number of years or are they new on the market and ultimately is this important to your decision?  Many often feel more secure with agencies that can provide books for 3 previous financial years and it is not uncommon to ask for this. 

If a short list can be made and the project is a medium to large size then narrow it down to 2-3 agencies based on your subsequent meetings and proposals. This provides the agencies one last chance to win you over and perhaps a chance to meet some of the other team that will be working on the project at the pitch stage. 

At the pitch, provide a reasonable amount of time for the agencies to present, restricting to a timeframe such as 20 minutes or so can often do more harm than good as agencies may feel rushed or have to miss certain aspects out which they would like to discuss.

At the end of the process, it is really helpful to provide agencies feedback on the marking even if they were unsuccessful, this allows them to refine their process (don’t be scared of hurting our feelings here, we can take it, honest!)

By following the above process you should have a better chance of making the right decision on your website which should then support both your digital and business strategy.

If you would like to discuss a new website or digital project then please get in touch to have a chat with the team and myself regarding your requirements.

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