Opinions wanted: How to hire a web agency

Hiring the right web agency is a difficult decision. A hugely difficult decision. The wrong choice can have a massive impact on any organisation, especially for charities and non-profits. 

I'm developing free documentation that will help guide all organisations, with large or small budgets, find the right technical partner to get the best return from their investment. And I need your help/thoughts/experiences.

I want to develop guidelines that: 

  1. empowers the client to speak to a agency confidently about what they want the project to achieve
  2. helps the client speak to the agency with realistic budgets, timelines and expectations
  3. helps both parties measure success
  4. helps the client develop a long-list of realistic agencies and platforms
  5. defines a process to reduce the long-list down to 'the one', through a mixture of site visits, proposals, score cards and presentations. 

I'm sure you'll agree that the launch of any website is just the beginning of the project. Therefore you need to find a long-term partner, rather someone to deliver at the cheapest possible cost. You need to find the right balance between: cost, availability, technology, design and also the personalities and people you'll be working with.

If you hire a team you get on with and trust, on a platform that's on the ascendancy, you have the best chance of achieving healthy returns from your investment. The question is, how do you find the right one?

Clients, freelancers and agencies, please share your thoughts.

I'm looking for insights from both sides of the fence, clients and agencies. How do clients find the right tech partner? What can clients do better? What can agencies do better? Do you have any stories that others can learn from? Feel free to post below/email or I can call you to discuss.

My aim is to publish the results of my research in January. Please connect on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter etc...

Thanks for your help.