What is a digital agency? By: Sean

Posted on: June 17th, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

Whenever I mention to someone in Abbotsford that 4th Street Website Design and Development is a ‘Digital Agency,’ nine times out of ten, I just receive an inquisitive gaze. As a result, I thought it would be a good idea to take some time to address the issue of what 4th Street Web Design and Development really is.What is a digital agency?

When Karson and I started up 4th Street in Abbotsford, we knew we wanted to focus on providing a service to people and small businesses who needed a website solution that was cost-effective. However, after completing a few projects, we soon realized that often times our clients had needs that went beyond the design and development of a website.

Often times when a client came to us, in need of a web design service, they had other needs as well. Eventually we found ourselves performing tasks that – while still in the realm of website design and creation – pushed the boundaries of the duties that a business that describes itself as a ‘design’ agency might perform.

I believe that most website ‘design’ businesses fall outside the actual realm of ‘design.’ People label themselves as website designers, when in fact their tasks far surpass that of actually ‘designing’ a website.

While some people regard the actual coding of a website to be part of the design process, I believe that there should be a distinction between the two. I believe that coding a website is not really designing, while some may argue that the coding is what actually makes the pixels and divs appear where they should be, I would rather refer that it be referred to as implementation.

So that leaves us with design and implementation. Great, so why arent we called “4th Street – A Design and Implementation Agency”?

…Which brings me to my next point. Most clients require more than a website to be designed and coded. As an example, Search Engine Optimization has always been an important part of running a successful online entity. However, in recent years the SEO craze has grown, and small businesses often need guidance in the practices of SEO. Often times we provide services to clients that have no relation to any aspect of design. Sometimes a client simply needs a strategy, or perhaps some fresh content. However, these two services fall quite nicely under the services that a digital agency is ready and qualified to provide.

In my opinion, digital agencies will be on the rise. With increased competition, smaller ‘design agencies’ are going to need to step up their game to provide services that will ultimately make the lives of their clients easier. I like to think of a digital agency as the full package, in that it provides a wide range of services that are normally required by a client, as opposed to ‘design agencies,’ which choose to limit themselves to a particular niche.

Unfortunately, as a result, there is no simple way to describe what services we – as a digital agency – provide, apart from saying that we are willing to tackle any task that is related to websites…
Either way, I suppose you could just call us your friendly neighbourhood internet specialists. ;)