The success of a digital agency relies heavily on its website design. A creative agency website is often the first interaction a potential client will have with your business, so it should create an accurate and inspiring portrayal of the work your agency provides. Your website needs to strike the right balance of form and function—it should feel modern, trustworthy and useful, but without looking like an out-of-the-box template.
While this may sound straightforward, every agency provides something different. That equates to different styles of web design. To help you find an approach to web design that works for your digital agency, we’ve not only broken down what goes into designing an agency website, but we’ve highlighted some inspirational examples that will not only motivate your next site design, but help you win new clients as well.
Website content: what do you need to include?
Let’s start with the basics. There are some elements that design agency websites can’t live without (and some that they can). Here’s the break down:
For starters, you absolutely must show potential clients examples of your work. After all, this is the service that you are offering them. Some ways you can present examples of your design work include:
Grids allow clients to quickly scan a large scope of your work to understand what your agency is about.
Slideshows are often used on homepages by established brands who can afford to showcase a single design on the entire page. Alternatively they can exist on case pages to prevent excess scrolling.
Video is less common, but it can let your clients know that you don’t take shortcuts (not in your web presentations, nor in your actual design work). Additionally it shows that you are engaging in modern approaches to web design.
An about us section
Remember, many of your website visitors have no idea who you are, where you are located or what sets you apart from other agencies. The “About us” section of your website should answer all those questions.
Without this section, you won’t land any clients (but you knew that).
Additional context about work examples.
Descriptions and back stories can give clients a better idea of what it’s like to work with you.
Show off your impressive trophy collection.
List of clients
Use social proof and let visitors know about your high-profile clientele.
Make sure clients don’t forget about you and all the awesome projects you have going on.
Show clients how much you love what you do, and how much of an expert you are, by writing about it.
Organizing your agency website
There are lots of different ways you can choose to feature the content above, and each approach will give your site (and agency) a different flavor. Let’s look at some options.
Like a boss
Some design firms put their own brand first. This often involves featuring a large block quote or statement about your firm on the home page, with some key words like “award-winning”. This is the “like a boss” approach, because it puts forth the idea that you are an established, reputable and high-profile agency.
Love at first “site”
For smaller design firms that attract mostly clients seeking a certain look or style, it’s a good idea to feature examples of your design work up front and center. Let’s call this the “love at first sight” approach—or at least that’s what should happen when your clients visit your home page.
Fishing with a net
Another option is to do a mix, where you include a shorthand “About Us” section mixed in with examples of your work. Let’s call this the “fishing with a net” approach, because it can speak to clients seeking an established brand, as well as clients who simply want to browse your design work.
Let’s call this the “curve ball” approach because it’s not what you expect and you’re forced to react. It makes clients dig deeper, and can paint your brand as clever and cutting edge.
How do I throw curve ball, you ask? For starters, think about what your clients are expecting, then give them the opposite! Typically on a design website, visitors will be expecting bright colorful examples with attractive visuals. Instead consider featuring a simple black and white text list of completed design jobs on your homepage (which link to photos and details of course).
Perfect your navigation
You want to make it as easy as possible for clients to find the info they need. An overly complex design can frustrate and lose potential clients, while a clean, functional one will invite them in. Below are some examples of approaches that will have visitors effortlessly navigating your website.
Many firms choose a straightforward approach to avoid clients getting lost on their page. This typically entails some basic links along the top of every page so you can clearly see the whole “site map” from wherever you are on the website.
Hamburger menus are the pop out menus that are indicated by three horizontal lines that look like… you get the idea. Hamburger menus have gained popularity for their simplicity, space savings and ease of use in mobile design. The Spy Studio website does a nice job of using a hamburger menu for site navigation in combination with some static links to sort their work page.
Many design firms like to use hovering navigation. This means that links appear or disappear depending on where you mouse is hovering on the page. The main purpose of this is to keep excess text of the page while viewing examples of design work. With that said it also tends to give webpages a more interactive and “organic” feel. Use caution when implementing hovering functionality—while it often looks cool, you need to make sure it is functional and user-friendly. Consider doing some user testing before going live.
How to present your work
You want your work to tell a story that attracts the right type of clients. One way that agencies do this is by either processing or not processing work images on their site. Let’s take a look at how these approaches differ.
Filtered or processed work can give your agency website a consistent look. This can give your clients reassurance that they will get a reliable product every time. This look is great for businesses that takes on a high volume of work and caters to clients who need reliable work done efficiently and consistently. On the other hand, this approach might give your agency the appearance of working within a limited scope if not used appropriately.
Other agencies like to let it flow and feature a wide selection of different styles and approaches they’ve achieved. This approach can allow you to draw in clients coming from all different walks of life. Additionally this approach can portray honesty and straightforwardness. With that said it can also come across as unfocused if not done correctly.
Take agency over your agency website
This guide is here to help you see how different website designs impact clients’ perceptions of your agency. By using the examples above as inspiration, you will be able to find the right approach for your design firm, create a sharp internet presence and open the door to a new client-base.