Every web design project starts with good intentions. There are big ideas and even bigger promises, and everyone’s excited for the magic that’s about to happen.

Unfortunately, most projects fail before they ever make it to go-live day. And it’s only then, after countless dollars and hours are wasted, that clients will take the time to find and hire a true professional to clean up their mess. At Madtown, almost 50% of our work involves fixing the mistakes other agencies have made.

Why do so many projects go south?

It’s simple, really: too many clients get caught up in the singular goal of “having a cool website,” while too many agencies are more focused on winning project fees than seeing clients succeed. These are the agencies that will say yes to a client’s every request, no matter how misguided or potentially detrimental it might be–because as long as the money’s rolling in, who cares?

As for the projects that are actually completed: why do so many businesses and agencies part ways immediately after go-live, never to speak again? Do they really not understand that web design is a process, rather than a one-time job? That successful websites require intentional care and feeding over time, just like every other aspect of a business?

In most cases, all of this failure is completely avoidable, and can be traced directly back to the initial hiring process. The clients who don’t take the time to find and hire a competent agency are the ones who are starting over a year later, minus a good chunk of time and money and a year’s worth of sacrificed business.

If you’re responsible for hiring a design agency, I urge you to avoid the unfortunate fate of so many business hopefuls before you by making the smart decision, the first time.

Here are 10 common mistakes to avoid when hiring an agency. If you take these points to heart, I have no doubt that it will save you time, trouble, and probably thousands of dollars.

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