As part of my 'marketing agencies and me' series this post is dedicated to what I look for when it comes to assessing an agency. So far been through over 80 agency websites so it's only fair I fill you in on the criteria that I've been using to asses them. Why? Because you might be a tiny bit curious and also because it's how I imagine many prospective clients will judge them before making first contact. 

Stage 1: The Technical

Do you have the following:

  • A modern, well designed website with clear navigation?

  • A unique custom made website to sell your business?

  • A responsive site?

  • A good backlink profile with respectable Pagerank?

Why I'm looking at these: If you're an digital agency your website needs to be at the top of your game. The technical elements show me you know your trade whether it's web design, or SEO etc and running a backlink analysis leads me easily into new items, projects or anything else to see what you've been up to. 

Stage 2: The Content

Do you have the following:

  • Compelling, easy to understand web copy?

  • Active social media accounts that are regularly updated with content that is crafted specifically for each channel?

  • A well crafted blog that provides relevant and unique information.

Why I'm looking at these: The content should show your style, whether it's professional or a little more laid back, I'd expect the way you present yourselves online to be the same when I meet you face to face, and if there is a difference, then why? On the social front, it's good to know what you're up to day-to-day and see how you engage with others. Are you chatty and engaging, or just using sites to stuff your news to an unreceptive audience? Finally, a special note on the blog. Too many agencies just regurgitate industry news making them indistinguishable from every other agency doing the same thing. A compelling blog that people read because it offers something different shows me that you have a strategy and you have a voice of your own.

Stage 3: The People

Do you have the following:

  • A decent about page which shows the names, roles and skills of your staff?

  • An 'about us' section explaining your companies culture, policies and values?

  • LinkedIn profiles of your key staff?

Why I'm looking at these: I like to know who I'm going to be work both on a social level, but also so I know what kinds of skills and experiences a team has to see if we complement one another. Have they been with the business long? How often do they change roles?  If you want to see a truly great example of seeing the people in a company have a look at Periscopix.

Stage 4: The Recruitment

Do you have the following:

  • A clear area where you advertise jobs?

  • A message saying you accept speculative CV's?

Why I'm looking at these: Simply, it saves me time trying to see if you have a vacancy and if not, it's nice to know your receptive enough to have a copy of my CV. If I'm not quite right I could be a good contact for future networking, so why not? If you want an excellent example then check out Pixillion.

Sometimes I'll admit this isn't a full proof plan. Often there are businesses which tick the majority of these items and look amazing, and they're anything but. Whereas on occasions amazing businesses can be hidden behind distinctly mediocre websites. It is however a fine starting point for getting to know you; whether I'm looking for a job, or looking at you as a potential client.