14 December 2010


What You Should Know Before You Commit to a So-Called Web Development Agency

Web Development Agency Full Service Agency
Branding, corporate identity and multi-media graphic design YES, but YES
Domain hosting YES YES
E-mail hosting NO YES
Web traffic development YES, but YES
Search Engine Optimisation YES YES, but
Product/service fulfilment NO YES
Web copy/content NO YES
Image selection YES, but YES
All-round guidance NO YES
Cross-media campaign management NO YES

Branding, corporate identity and multi-media graphic design

Most students will emerge from web design school with varying levels of graphic design flair. But unlike a full design agency like FDC, they're not specialists in this highly-complex area. A logo that looks good in Flash animation is unlikely to have the same effect on paper. And a show-stopping pantone colour on a website may never reproduce properly on an office printer. Get the picture?


Domain hosting

Even good web hosting is far from being rocket science, which is probably why it's offered across the board.


E-mail hosting

Your website and email facilities are so inextricably linked, so it makes sense to turn to one service provide who'll offer hosting for both. And you'll probably get a better deal for a dual contract.


Web traffic development

Fancy on-line graphics and pictures alone will not get web surfers rocking up to your site to buy from you. Where are your site visitors going to come from? How are you going to keep them captivated? And how does the remainder of your off-line marketing arsenal aid visitor capture and return? Full service agencies are used to answering these questions long before they call on their designers.


Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is one of those hip and happening acronyms which sound too trendy to pass up when you're in the business of web development. At FDC, we don't make any wild claims that sound too good to be true. And we warn you: be very wary of anyone who claims to get you to the top of Google's rankings. And most importantly, ask them how exactly they intend to achieve it. A great Google ranking isn't worth anything if you break the rules and get black-listed, as BMW know to their cost.


Product/ service fulfilment

It's one thing to design a website with all the right knobs and whistles, but what happens after the customer has clicked on the "Order Now" button. What about credit card security? And how about your PCI DSS? If you're not sure what we're on about, then you need to talk to us, not a web developer, before you lose your merchant account or get landed with a fine running into thousands.


Web copy/ content

When was the last time a fancy design on a website alone sold you a product? It's astounding how companies think nothing of spending thousands on the framework of a site, but nothing on the principle element that will woo your customers - the wording. The input of a professional copywriter will make all the difference to your profits. The wording from your dog-eared, circa 1995 company brochure will not have quite the same effect. And neither will the cobbled ramblings of a technologically-tunnel-visioned web design technician.


Image selection

There are more copyright laws affecting a graphic or web designer's daily work than we'd care to mention, so it's vital that you can be confident your design professionals know their way around this ever-changing maze. If they don't, the inappropriate "borrowing" of a patented image could cost you dear. With a full design agency, this is rarely something a client will need to lose sleep over.


All-round guidance

Where do you start? Who is your audience? How does your product enrich their lives, or help them to avoid pain? These fundamental questions are key to every marketing campaign, regardless of sector type or budget. So why are they rarely asked by web developers, who often prefer to steer their unsuspecting clients down the appearances-only route. And what about cross-media knowledge? You wouldn't ask a car mechanic how to mend a washing machine, so why ask a web designer how to approach off-line marketing?


Cross-media campaign management

If you've gone down the web development road, the chances are that at some point, you'll need a marketing agency to raise your profile, a PR company to bag you free column inches and radio interviews, and a graphic designer to come up with an all-round logo. But going to three or four different sources is time-consuming, tedious and, worst of all, open to error. And if there's any overlap among the handful of service providers you sign up to, you'll probably experience sour grapes syndrome, with each company trying to make the others look amateur. Full design service agencies pride themselves on cross-department harmony and will do all the to-ing and fro-ing for you.


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