When choosing your web design agency, you have to be aware that this action is going to influence the future of your business. This is why you should take your time, do your research well and avoid just picking any old firm without asking all the right questions. It's much better to have a good website from the very beginning, rather than an average one which is going to require a lot of changes later on.
The first thing to look for in a web design agency is their ability to comply with your specific needs and requests. If they don't know what responsive web design is and how to set up a split testing campaign, you should just choose someone else, as these are the concepts you need in order to have website that can be viewed easily on whatever device the visitor is using. Besides, they should be aware of all factors that influence Google rankings, so that they can develop a website that's already optimized for search engines. If you don't pay attention to such details in the first place then you are going to give yourself a lot more hassle later on, when you will want to hire an SEO agency to help you get more organic search traffic.
The communication between you and the creative team who are going to work on your project is also very important. You have to be able to tell them exactly what you want to achieve. On the other hand, they have to understand your intentions and transpose them in their work. If the communication process isn't crystal clear, you may encounter a lot of challenges along the way. You can easily see when there's a good chemistry between you and the creative team, so you don't have to hire the agency unless you feel you can communicate easily.
If you want, you can organize a pitch, prepare a briefing document and invite a few agencies to give you their insights and a price quotation. Once you have all their proposals, you can compare them, and choose the one that's the closest to your personal vision. If you are in a hurry, the timing should be included in your initial criteria. Nonetheless, the creative design and the strategy should also be good, otherwise there's no point in choosing the company that promises you the fastest turnaround time.
When comparing the proposals, you have to take into consideration your available budget. Fancy features may require a lot of work and higher fees, which you may not be able to afford. Nonetheless, you may not need those features, so you can safely leave them out in order to fit your budget. There's no point in paying for special features that aren't essential for the concept of your website. It's much better to develop a useful resource that would entice your visitors into becoming your loyal fans and followers. This is what a good web design agency should be able to deliver, rather than fancy animations and complex graphics that make your site navigation more difficult to understand.