My Web Design Agency Botched Our Website. Do I Retain Them or Not?

a laptop screen with web coding

A lot of businesses have been in this situation. It’s an unenviable one, but much more common than you’d think. You outsourced your website development to an agency, went back to running your company, and checked in later to find a botched website. 

In the modern world, every business owner knows how important it is to have an outstanding website. 75% of people assess your credibility based on how your website looks, which means a bad site can hurt your brand perception. On the other hand, effective UI and UX can increase your conversion rates by as much as 200% and 400% respectively. 

If your site doesn’t load for half a minute, or your menu bar hangs down the middle of the screen, you don’t need a web development authority to tell you it’s bad. They botched your website, plain and simple. The instinctive reaction in these cases is to junk the agency you’re with and try to find a web design company that provides better services. But as tempting as it is to fire them and move on, it’s worth taking some time to consider the pros and cons of doing so. 

Here are some things you ought to think about when assessing the ramifications of a botched website to determine whether the agency needs to be replaced.

How Responsive Are They?

The first thing you should consider, even before scoping out the problem, is how forthright they’ve been with you. Did they make a misstep and voluntarily reach out to inform you as soon as they realized it? Or did they respond passively, waiting for you to notice something was wrong? Even if you did chance upon the problem before they did, the speed of their response and commitment to resolving it promptly should play into your decision of whether you retain them or find another web design company. 

How Serious Is the Problem?

Just how badly botched is your website? Are there glaring visual discrepancies on your site during peak season? Have you lost a month’s worth of leads to a glitchy CRM? Or does it simply lack responsiveness for certain tablet users? A revenue impact analysis might not be a bad idea before you decide to replace your agency. 88% of online shoppers won’t consider doing business with your company a second time after they’ve had a poor experience on your website, so it certainly isn’t a problem to be taken lightly. However, you don’t want to rush into a hasty decision you might later regret.

Whose Fault Is It?

Take the time to understand if there were external factors involved in the lead-up to the blunder. Did an external hosting provider drop the ball? Did the agency suffer incapacitating problems that caused a one-off failure? Good communication with your web development team is crucial; make sure you have a clear picture of why things went wrong. And introspect a little, too. Did you ask them to work with somebody else’s code and demand immediate results? Or pressure them to customize a Shopify theme in a way they cautioned against? Bad ideas lead to bad results. Jettisoning a company that has been or could be a partner in your success, without good cause, is another bad idea, botched website or not. 

Are They Repeat Offenders?

Something else to consider is whether this is the first time your agency has messed up. It’s also worth critically examining the reasons your agency gives you for the lapse. If they’ve used miscommunication or project complexity as reasons in the past to extend deadlines or up their retainers, then cite them again as excuses for a botched website, it’s a massive red flag. In this case, you ought to be ringing up your contacts or browsing the internet to find a replacement web design company. Make sure to conduct a thorough search to identify a good web design company.

How Customized Is Your Platform?

It’s not uncommon for web developers to create value for their clients in ways that bind you to them, whether that means they also host your website for you or facilitate access to a proprietary content management system (CMS). If this constitutes a good deal for you, or if they’ve put a lot of effort into custom-coding your website, you might want to consider continuing with them. It can be difficult to find web design companies able to reliably and efficiently assume control of complex code written by a different developer. After all, there are worse things than a botched website. Business downtime can potentially cost you much more. 

Is In-House Recruitment A Viable Option?

If the scope of work for your business from a web development perspective is broad enough or a consistent necessity, you may want to consider moving the function in-house by hiring a web developer. This has the distinct advantage of giving you more control over and visibility into the web development process and potentially avoiding a botched website in the future. It might also save you money, depending on how large a retainer you pay your agency.

The Time It Takes To Find a New Agency

Finding a new web design company can be a more challenging and time-consuming proposition than you realize, especially if you haven’t needed to look for one in a while. You need to be confident that the agency is abreast of the latest web design trends and that they have the talent and wherewithal to execute successfully. More than anything else, you’ll want to know if they have the desire and capacity to be a genuine partner in your growth rather than just another vendor. In short, there could be a great deal of trial and error involved, and if you’re a small business, rapidly scaling up, this could easily take more time than you have. If you’ve been satisfied with your web provider so far, and the botched website hasn’t had significant costs, it might be an opportunity to allow them to straighten out the mess and let the relationship grow.

Consider this — research shows that a whopping 94% of first impressions of a website are design-related, and users only take about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds!) to form those impressions. Whether you decide to change your web design agency or give them another shot, make sure you’ve adequately deliberated the question. A botched website isn’t something you ought to just take in your stride.