Looking for a website agency?

You’ve decided your association needs a new website. Perhaps your current site isn’t attracting the traffic you need, or maybe it’s not responsive across devices—whatever the case might be, you need a change, and quick. It’s time to look for an association website agency to help lead the way.

Yet, you’ve never partnered with an agency before or working with your previous web developer just didn’t go well. Here are 5 things we suggest you look for.

1. Good first impressions.  When you inquire about an agency’s service, you should receive a prompt response—ideally one business day. If an agency takes days (or weeks) to get back to you, that’s a red flag. The initial call or meeting should be comfortable—these are people you will be working closely with, so you should like their working style and demeanor. Remember, websites are a collaboration.

2. Experience with associations.  Ask about your prospective agency’s experience with associations—do they understand the unique requirements of associations, member acquisition and loyalty. Do they understand long term goals such as raising awareness about an issue and getting the issue onto the public agenda? Have they been in the business for years or are they brand new? Do they approach web design strictly from a technology point of view or do they understand business objectives and messaging? Our many years of developing effective, high-level communications means that you are partnering with experts who have worked across industries, verticals, budgets and timelines.

3. Clear project timelines.  When deciding on an association website agency to partner with, ask about a proposed project plan with clear timelines. Does it fit with the size and complexity of your website? Is there enough time built in for discovery and testing? When coming up with plans and timelines, we try to make sure that research, design, content creation, development and testing all get their deserved time frame.

4. Impressive portfolio.  Examine the agency’s online portfolio and engage with any live examples. For example, our work with the American Frozen Food Institute can be found here. You can click here for a live view. This website has clear navigation, great visuals and engaging call to actions. It’s also mobile-friendly and easy for staff to maintain and update. Look at sample websites with these characteristics in mind.

5. Custom solutions.  The web is full of template sites. You want your association website to stand out and realize your vision. Make sure in your discussions with a prospective agency and when looking at their online portfolio you’re not dealing with a cookie-cutter team. Does each website have a unique personality that sets it apart? Question whether they can provide you with an online presence that is a custom-built for your audience and industry.

Partnering with an association website agency can be a tough decision. Finding one that you are comfortable with, has the experience you need, and showcases impressive, distinctive work, will set your new website up for success.

Find out how FCI can help your website tell your story.

—April 2018